Blackberry planning BBM preload on rival phones

BlackBerry is working on a scheme that would see its BlackBerry Messenger service come preloaded onto rival handsets.

BlackBerry Chief Operating Officer, Kristian Tear explained to CNET that the company is exploring alternative handset options. “There is interest from other handset makers,” he told the site.

The move would come as part of the company’s efforts to expand its services beyond the confines of its own handsets and into iOS and Android systems.

The BBM service boasts an active user base of just over 60 million, of whom 60 percent use the service daily. That’s somewhere in the region of 36 million daily users — a not unattractive traffic prospect for other phone manufacturers.

BlackBerry has struggled in recent years to shake off the soubriquet of “troubled technology company” but Tear is confident in BBM’s cross-platform appeal, apparently not worried that the service’s presence on rival hardware will cause BlackBerry device sales to dip.

“We don’t feel like that is a risk,” he stated. “Obviously, if we did, we might have acted differently.”

In addition to preloading BBM, BlackBerry is also working to launch the service via the Apple App Store and Google Play, although no official date has been fixed.

by Philippa Warr


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