Research in Motion, or RIM, may release Blackberry Messenger, or BBM, for iPhones and Androids. This rumor has flown around the internet for months but has yet to come to fruition or be affirmed by RIM. On the contrary, at the Blackberry World 2011 Q&A Session for Developers, RIM has affirmed that they are not in the process of developing their BBM to be used on the iPhone or the Android. Although they did not rule out the possibility of an interface to enable the BBM for iPhone or Android users in the future, it seems that they have a very good reason not to pursue this route.
The Blackberry Messenger is built on a proprietary platform and infrastructure that sets the Blackberry apart from other devices and is one of their primary differentiators. In order to adapt the BBM for iPhone and Android users, a complete restructuring would be necessary and they would lose one of their main advantages over their competitors. This is according to one of the developers at the Blackberry World 2011 Q&A Session for Developers.
However, RIM has recently confirmed that they have an adaptation for the Enterprise level that allows third-party interface with BBM. This enables the employees of a business to interface their devices with those of the business and use the BBM for iPhone and Android devices.
It is entirely possible, however, that enabling even limited use of the BBM for iPhone and Android devices could attract a new demographic of iPhone or Android users who find themselves enamored of the BBM application and would therefore make the switch to Blackberry.
Even though many critics say that RIM is missing out on a large percentage of the market by limiting the Blackberry Messenger to their own devices, RIM seems inclined to stay with their current marketing direction. Despite the many rumors to the contrary, at the present RIM is indicating that the only BBM interface for other devices will be in the Enterprise area, which is designed for the business sector.
Other companies have developed similar applications, such as Kik and PingChat!, that can be used across different platforms and Apple now has iMessage which is similar to the Blackberry Messenger. However, when RIM filed a lawsuit against Kik that alleged patent infringement, Kik would no longer accept BBM users. Apple’s iMessage will work with the iPad, the iPhone and the iPod touch but not the BBM.
Part of RIM’s reluctance at the present to share the BBM application with other devices may be the current state of their company, which has laid off 2,000 manufacturing workers while at the same time hiring two new COO’s.
In summary, for those users who were anticipating the BBM for iPhone and Android devices, the wait will continue as RIM has not indicated that this is on their agenda in the foreseeable future. RIM has confirmed this in at least two separate statements and currently plans to offer a BBM interface in their Enterprise area only.