Will iOS and Android users respond to the BlackBerry Messenger applaunching for iPhones and Androids this summer? Mike Lazaridis, founder and former vice chairman of BlackBerry believes they will.
“BBM is by far the most compelling wireless experience and wireless social-networking environment,” Lazaridis said at the Bloomberg Canada Economic Summit in Toronto last week. After stepping down as executive and co-chairman of BlackBerry in 2012 and leaving the board in March, Lazardis feels his successors are taking the company in the right direction.
“What he’s [BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins] doing now is really speaking to the confidence he has in the platform, the products,” said Lazardis. “Not only is BlackBerry back in a big way with BB10, he has also shown that he can expand that vision to other platforms.”
Sixty million BlackBerry customers are currently using the free BBM service and rely on it daily. While some consider the transition inevitable, others consider the risk of BlackBerry losing control of their most valuable services. Profit has still yet to be determined, but with new BBM channels with chat rooms focused on specific topics and themes, many advertisers may seek the company for sponsoring opportunities.
SEE ALSO: BlackBerry 10 Now Has 120,000 Apps
It has been awhile since BlackBerry has fallen from the smartphone pedestal. If it wasn’t for companies and government agencies’ reliance on the existing BBM service, survival may not have been possible. Now as BlackBerry dust itself off and return for glory, will costumers support their comeback? BBM has a daunting mountain to climb to regain relevance, competing with other instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp, iMessenger, Facebook Messenger, Google+ and many more cross-platform messengers.
Since WhatsApp has over 200 million active users and iMessanger with over 140 million, BlackBerry will have to do more than simply avoid extinction to get noticed. But still, Lazardis believes that the unique BBM experience will win over the public. BBM has many positive attributes and their loyal costumers can tell iPhone and Android users all about BBM Group and the messenger’s immediacy, with almost half of all messages read within 20 seconds of being sent.
RELATED: BlackBerry Unveils the Q5
BBM’s move to other platforms may be their return to the top of the smartphone rankings or it may be their initiative for their own demise. By making BBM available for all platforms, current BlackBerry users may just take this convenient opportunity to transition as well.