BBM shutdown: End Of An Era, Or The Start Of A New One?

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Many smartphone users might be feeling disappointed with the shutdown of BBM more than being surprised.

If you are like me whose first love was Blackberry Messenger, aka BBM, during the dawn of smartphones, you might be equally disappointed as we are today. As the name suggests, BBMe stands for the enterprise version of the Blackberry Messenger.

It has finally happened. On 31st May 2019, the iconic Blackberry Messaging service has taken off the Android, iOS and Blackberry mobile phones. This messaging service, which was indeed one of the first instant messaging applications to grab the limelight back in the day, has now had its relevance cut down to the level of redundancy. However, it is not completely done away with. The corporate version of BBM, the BBMe, is scheduled to take over its reins. But is it that big of a change? Let us look at it in a little more detail.

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The Shutdown of BBM

After the shutdown of once popular messaging services like AIM and the Yahoo Messenger it is safe to say that the guys at BBM could see it coming. Emtek, the Indonesian company which runs the BBM service, announced the then-impending shutdown of the service in the month of April through a blog post. There it talked about how the company was not able to kickstart the usage of the messaging service despite deploying new features and going for a complete re-invigoration three years ago.

The new features also include adding Uber to it in 2017, among other attempts to win back its userbase which was being wooed away by other platforms like WhatsApp. With the shutting down of other instant messaging services of its era around it, the people at BBM bid an emotional but necessary adieu to everyone through the post.

BBMe – Not that Different From BBM After All

As soon as Emtek made the announcement, Blackberry released a statement that it was going to open the usage of the corporate version of its instant messaging service, BBMe, to the individual customers. BBMe, as the name suggests, stands for the enterprise version of Blackberry’s messaging service. However, it offers similar functionality and encryption as its usual version. Therefore, it is not that different from the now defunct BBM.

However, it varies a lot in one key aspect – subscription. While the BBMe service may be free for the first year, it is going to charge a subscription fee in the subsequent months. The subscription will be on a half-yearly basis, with the company charging $2.50 for 6 months. As of the technology trends right now, this doesn’t seem that good a move since the service doesn’t provide too much, if anything, more than what the free messaging services in popular usage these days provide. Therefore, expecting the service to hit off right away might just prove to be a long shot.

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