The consumer-facing version of the BBM will be shutting down on May 31, 2019, as the end of the once esteemed messenger seems near.
Emtek, the Indonesia-based company that partnered with BlackBerry in 2016, just announced the closure.
Invented in 2005, BBM — an acronym for BlackBerry Messenger — grew quickly to become the world’s most popular phone-to-phone messaging service, in the early days of smartphones. It was popular as a safer alternative to text messages because of its robust encryption.
But it was quickly eclipsed by services such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and many others, as BlackBerry’s lost dominance in smartphones trickled down to BBM.
As part of the deal, Emtek took over the running of the free consumer-oriented version of the service, while BlackBerry retained control of BBMe, its service for business customers.
BBM explained the shutdown in a lengthy blog post, they wrote;
Today we’re announcing that we will be closing BBM consumer service on 31 May 2019.
Three years ago, we set out to reinvigorate BBM consumer service, one of the most loved instant messaging applications, as a cross-platform service where users can not only chat and share life experiences, but also consume content and use payment services.
We poured our hearts into making this a reality, and we are proud of what we have built to date.
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.
We are grateful for your support and wish to thank everyone, especially our users, partners, and employees, for being part of the BBM consumer service journey.
We hope you will cherish many fond memories of BBM consumer service that helped shape messenger platforms to become what they are today.
It’s important to note, BBM will still exist and BlackBerry today revealed a plan to open its enterprise-version of BBM to general consumers.
Starting today, BBM Enterprise will be available through the Google Play Store and eventually from the Apple App Store. The service will be free for one year and after that, $2.49 for six months of service. This version of the software, like the consumer version, still features group chats, voice and video calls and the ability to edit and retract messages.