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RIM: BBM to remain exclusive for BlackBerry devices

May 29, 2012

In this part of the world, it’s not unusual for folks to be carrying more than one phone. While the first phone can be anything from the Android, Nokia or Apple camp, you can always guess safely that the second phone might be a BlackBerry. Unsurprisingly, most people that do still carry their BlackBerry around are using it mainly for the BlackBerry Messenger feature to get in touch with friends, relatives and business associates – the latter is especially true in some Asian countries, where exchanging a BBM pin number is as customary as exchanging business cards. If BBM, as it’s affectionately known, is available on other platforms – it’s not hard to see why the decision to ditch the phone altogether would be an easier one to make.

So when ideas were being thrown about by previous RIM executives on making its highly addictive messaging feature available on Android and iOS devices, analysts were wondering why RIM would want to give up one of the phone maker’s main unique selling points. After all, despite the continued free falling of RIM’s market share in the smartphone world, the company said that there are still some loyal 55 million BBM users worldwide. Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsilie, the company’s previous chiefs, may have been pushing for the opening up of BBM for other platforms and manufacturers; its recently appointed President and CEO Thorsten Heins, however, has decided to keep BBM strictly in the family.

Now, we don’t know if the decision is something that he has taken because there’s no taker in the licensing deal offer or if Heins has full faith that he can revive the flailing company. But it’s safe to say that most Android and iPhone users will not be losing any sleep. There are many instant messaging solutions out there that work as good as BBM, with one particular app, WhatsApp, that look to be rapidly gaining popularity in the last few years due to cross-platform service and ease of use. Nevertheless, we still look forward to see what RIM has in store for BBM.

Granted, the news will be lamented by those who are addicted to BBM, either by need or necessity. In their case, there’s no option but to have their pockets full with multiple smartphones.  Are you one of these people? Would you like to see BBM crossing over to other phone makers and platforms? Perhaps you’re indifferent with the whole thing? Let us hear your thoughts below.