BlackBerry Messenger for consumers to shut down on May 31
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Indonesia media conglomerate Emtek, the licensed owners of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), has announced in a blog post that the consumer version of the messaging service will close down on May 31. The post stated that "users have moved on to other platforms, while new users proved difficult to sign on." Those who have bought add-ins such as stickers will be getting refunds but BBMoji purchases are not refundable and will cease functioning after May 31.
While BBM for consumers will soon be going the way of the dodo, BBM Enterprise (BBMe) will continue to exist and is already available for consumers on Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac. BBMe will be free for the first year for new users and thereafter, will cost US$2.50 for a six-month subscription. BBMe will offer most features of the consumer version along with added end-to-end encryption including signing keys that are generated on the device itself. In a press release, BlackBerry's Chief Marketing Officer Mark Wilson said,
While we respect Emtek's decision, we're disappointed the platform did not thrive and grow as expected. After much consideration, we decided that BBM's loyal users should continue to have a secure messaging platform that they can trust."
BBM had sort of a cult status before the proliferation of apps such as WeChat, Telegram, iMessage, and WhatsApp. Since then, the service had few takers apart from die-hard BlackBerry fans. Thanks to BlackBerry's decision, BBM users can switch over to BBMe and continue to use their favorite IM app. However, there is no word on whether existing BBM data can be transferred to the new service and users will have to invariably download all their data before the service closes on May 31.