Feeds

BlackBerry in talks to spin off Messenger division

New BBM subsidiary would have greater independence

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes

Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry is seriously considering spinning off its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service into its own, subsidiary company, according to reports.

The Wall Street Journal claims the new company would be called BBM Inc., and would operate with greater autonomy than the BBM division does now, citing the omnipresent "people familiar with the matter."

Even as BlackBerry has battled to boost the sales of its coolly received Q5, Q10, and Z10 smartphones, the company has reportedly been moving executives into the BBM division with an eye to plumping the service as an alternative to such popular offerings as WhatsApp and WeTalk.

BBM currently serves some 60 million users, according to BlackBerry's own figures. But although it was one of the earliest such messaging services, it has since been surpassed by rivals that run on Android and iOS. WhatsApp, the biggest of the newcomers, boasts 200 million users.

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins first announced his intent to make BBM available on competing smartphone platforms in May, and earlier this month Samsung began shipping devices with BlackBerry's software preinstalled to customers in Africa.

Free, downloadable BBM clients for Android and iOS are expected to arrive any day now, and the company is also in the process of rolling out a service called BBM Channels, which will allow celebs and marketeers to use BBM for advertising to more closely interact with fans and customers. BlackBerry is reportedly even considering shipping BBM clients that run on desktop operating systems, an idea it has toyed with in the past but ultimately shelved.

"We think there is a great opportunity in bringing BBM to other platforms as people look for the right service to have even more engaged conversations on their smartphones," a BlackBerry spokeswoman told the WSJ. "People are also becoming leery of how they share their personal information and mobile communication services need to be built for that. They are also looking for a simple, customizable interface and BBM brings that."

By spinning off BBM as a separate subsidiary, however, BlackBerry could also make it easier for potential buyers to carve up the other parts of the company. Heins has reportedly been considering various options to slow BlackBerry's financial free-fall, including taking it private. With the company hemorrhaging cash and its shares down 19 per cent this year, presumably no ideas are off the table. ® 

A new approach to endpoint data protection

More from The Register

next story
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?