BlackBerry Messenger or BBM, the proprietary instant messaging application for the BlackBerry devices, will shut down on May 31, the company announced.
BBM was launched in 2005. It was then considered the greatest advancement in online communication since E-mail. Once a pioneer in encrypted peer-to-peer communication before giants like Whatsapp and WeChat took over. The users of the service have dwindled since then, much like the BlackBerry phones.
It was licensed to the Indonesian conglomerate Emtek in 2016, in a bit to compete with more popular chat applications. It was, however, unable to keep up with the competition. According to some outlets, one of the reasons why Emtek’s BBM failed was because it became bloated with games, ads and channels.
But BlackBerry’s messaging service is not completely dead. Users can download BBMe – an enterprise-grade end-to-end encrypted messaging platform. It will be available on Google Play store from Thursday and Apple App Store soon. BBMe will be free for the first year but will have a 6-monthly subscription of $2.49 beyond that.
As for existing users, BlackBerry said in a FAQ that users can download their shared photos, videos and files before BBM shuts down. However, their contacts or feeds cannot be exported from the BBM application. Once it is shut down, users will be unable to open the BBM app on their device.
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