BBM goes bye-bye

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On April 21, 2019, the BBM blog announced that it would formally shutdown the seminal messenger service that powered Blackberry devices on May 31, 2019.

This brings to an end the era of the Blackberry, which surged into prominence in the nascent smartphone sector powered by its bandwidth stingy, encrypted messaging system, BlackBerry Messenger.

The farewell message said in part…

The technology industry however, is very fluid, and in spite of our substantial efforts, users have moved on to other platforms, while new users proved difficult to sign on.

Though we are sad to say goodbye, the time has come to sunset the BBM consumer service, and for us to move on.

The service was widely used by anyone connected to a mobile Internet that was alarmingly slow by modern standards. When Blackberry hived the service off as a messaging system, it was believed that it might have traction as a platform for those parts of the world still underserved by mobile broadband.

That, apparently, did not come to pass and Facebook’s aggressive development of the WhatsApp platform essentially supplanted the role of BBM for a new generation of mobile phone users.

Without the powerful advantage of BBM and with devices running versions of Android, Blackberry is now an invisible and largely spent force in the smartphone sector.

In a nod to one of its last markets, the farewell notice is also available in an Indonesian translation.