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BlackBerry's BBM Gets Off to a Hot Start on Apple's iOS and Google's Android

Sinking Canadian handset maker BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY  ) is in serious need of a life preserver. Names like Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  )  are running away with the global smartphone market. With its handset business collapsing in plain sight and an actual buyout offer still elusive, BlackBerry is searching for new channels to create value for shareholders.

One of the most talked about opportunities for BlackBerry is in the growing market for messaging services. This week, BlackBerry doubled down on this growth market by rolling out its BBM messaging service to both Apple's iOS and Google's Android platforms, which together control over 90% of the global smartphone market, according to IDC. If early results are any indication, BlackBerry could have just struck gold with Apple and Google. 

As BlackBerry reported, it managed to generate an impressive 5 million downloads in the first eight hours during which BBM was available on iOS and Android. This is clearly a victory for BlackBerry, and a demonstration of just how powerful Apple and Google's ecosystems really are. However, what remains unclear is whether BlackBerry can continue to grow its BBM base, or if it will fall short of some of its lofty subscriber goals. 

In this video, Fool contributor Andrew Tonner breaks down BBM's debut on Apple's iOS and Google's Android.

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  • Report this Comment On October 24, 2013, at 4:46 AM, melegross wrote:

    As usual with discussion of BBM, I see no mention of how Blackberry expects to monetize this. This is a free service, which will cost a lot to maintain, and upgrade. But where is the income from this coming from? This isn't something I've seen mentioned anywhere.

    Is it from Ads? If so, will people want Ads in their messaging service! I sure don't! Can they even make money from Ads? That's less clear.

    Without a cogent discussion of this it doesn't really master how many people use the service, as nothing accrues back to Blackberry.

  • Report this Comment On October 24, 2013, at 1:38 PM, TMFSymington wrote:

    @melegross: Yep, by offering it as a free app, BBRY won't be able to rely on their data fees to monetize it so should revert to ads. I've discussed the ad-based BBM topic briefly here:

    Also, Evan Niu wrote about it at length here:

    To be sure, as Andrew stated above, this week's strong launch is definitely a win for BBRY, but the key will be for them to keep up that momentum going forward.

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