Why BlackBerry's BBM Isn't the Next WhatsApp

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  ) shocked the world last week when it announced it had reached an agreement to acquire the uber-popular web-based messaging service WhatsApp for an astounding $19 billion. 

The deal has forced tech investors and analysts alike to consider what this mega deal means for the broader tech industry. And while the deal is still sinking in, one clear indirect beneficiary of Facebook's efforts is resurgent Canadian smartphone firm BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY  ) .

Source: BlackBerry

Facebook throws BlackBerry a bone... sort of
In fact, BlackBerry's shares rose noticeably when Facebook's WhatsApp deal was publicly announced.

There's certainly good reason for BlackBerry investors to be encouraged by Facebook's recent move. In many ways, Facebook's actions last week serve as the ultimate endorsement to the idea that BlackBerry's own BBM mobile messaging service is also highly valuable in its own right. To be sure, plenty of parallels exists between BlackBerry's BBM and Facebook's shiny new toy WhatsApp. However, the two also have several key differences between them that make WhatsApp more valuable than BBM, perhaps most notably BlackBerry's 85 million BBM users pale into comparison to WhatsApps 450 million and counting MAUs.

In the video below, tech and telecom analyst Andrew Tonner examine some of the key similarities and differences between BlackBerry's BBM and Facebook's WhatsApp and cautions investors to avoid taking the comparisons between the two too far as well.

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  • Report this Comment On February 27, 2014, at 10:51 PM, i7up2001 wrote:

    One little detail you forget to mention, Whatsapp is out since 2009 across platform, and until later last fall 4-5 months ago BBM was only available on Blackberry phones, 2 weeks ago BBM4all was updated with free voice call, and later this year IOS Androids and WP should have features already available on Blackberry phones, that include Video Call and Screen sharing, Whatsapp announce this week that they should have voice call before the end of the year.So it took 5 years for Whatsapp to get to 450m BBM4all is 5 months in, with more feature and better security.and at this point probably over 100M users, if each of them get 3 friends to join the better feature and secure messaging platform it can get to 400MM pretty fast.

    Quick note it also works on wi-fi only Ipad...

  • Report this Comment On February 28, 2014, at 8:48 AM, greenember wrote:

    The problem with using the WhatsApp deal to value BBM is that Facebook probably didn't buy them for their chat service. What Facebook actually bought was 465 MILLION Contacts books with the promise of a million more every day. BBM will never hold that same valuation because their PIN system doesn't yield the same insight into people's offline social networks the way that a phone number based system does. Facebook gives you the option to send your contacts to them to find friends, but you can decline; I bet most people choose not to share that information. WhatsApp doesn't really give you much choice; to find other users, you give up your whole Contacts phone list.

  • Report this Comment On February 28, 2014, at 5:23 PM, k1moops wrote:

    messaging as a generic tool addresses far larger user base than a enterprise service the way BBRY positions BBM for the future. Customers and socialites form the uber vast majority of the world population suiting WhatsApp like hands to a glove rather than BBM enterprise service more suitable for business and machine-to-machine purposes such as vendors, suppliers, and other secure business partners other than the vastly bigger Customer and Consumer base.

    The combo of WhatsApp to FaceBook is a marriage made in heaven guaranteeing WhatsApp's current 450 million user base to grow into a multi-billion user base within a few months. All current ERP and CRM systems applications will subscribe to the WhatsApp application services using its vastly more powerful and high performance API's that surpass even Google making FaceBook the ultimate champion in the global advertisement business.

  • Report this Comment On February 28, 2014, at 5:30 PM, k1moops wrote:

    The marriage of WhatsApp and FaceBook has just firmly placed an entire Rocky Mountain range of insurmountable peaks and valleys between BBRY, and its direly needed goal to somehow monetize BBM in any form or fashion.

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