Feeds

WhatsApp no threat to BBM: Blackberry bod says pretender's buyout will HELP ailing firm

He who pays silly money enriches us all

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

MWC 2014 You could forgive BlackBerry for being grumpy after Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $16bn. After all, WhatsApp is a very obvious knock-off of BlackBerry's BBM. But for years BlackBerry kept BBM locked inside BlackBerry phones - and only last year opened it up as a real cross platform OTT messaging app.

Did BlackBerry kick itself to sleep at night?

"The timing was never easy," admits David Proulx, senior director of BBM. "But from the relations we've struck it's clear that the game is far from over".

Telcos were unusually vocal this week in their criticism of Facebook, having woken up to a threat we've talked about for a long time - so this is more than just bluster.

Other OTT messaging services show "little permanence", says Proulx, while BBM is incredibly sticky. If people use it, they really use. it. 65 per cent of monthly active BBM customers across all services - from enterprise down to consumers - use it every day.

Last year BlackBerry opened up BBM and raced to 50m downloads - we understand around 80m active users in all. Then it went quiet. This week, however, it shot out a range of updates. BBM has done VoIP over BBM since December 2012. Now anyone can do voice over BBM. It's coming to Windows Phone and was demonstrated on Nokiadroids this week.

Meanwhile enterprise users get another layer of encryption – and super-secure chats run alongside regular chats in the same window. BBM works securely across domains too, so employees at a supplier, for example, can chat securely with employees at their buyer. That's something IT departments will appreciate. But… well, you can spot the "but". Most work-based chatting is done via a desktop PC. BlackBerry has not yet released a desktop BBM client - even though it's teased at its existence so far. And no advance on that here.

"Everything BBM is mobile-first, we solve that use case first" said Proulx.

So what does WhatsApp mean?

"Frankly, they created a clear objective, delivered on that, and were very handsomely rewarded for it," he thinks. And it's good for BBM, as more people can now realise what BBM does - and the imperative of 'Stop Zuckerberg!' is also more apparent.

"For anyone in mobile, any influx of capital of that volume, any exist, buoys the value of what we're all doing. It also sets potential outcomes in motion", he hinted. "You can contrast WhatsApp with BBM which is private and secure - and now even more secure - and see that we've carved out and defended a unique position"

So why don't we hear telcos whinging about BBM - even though you've been doing doing OTT voice for a couple of years?

"We built our business delivering innovative data services through telcos, we've been doing that for ten years. WhatsApp built theirs with the stated objective of eliminating or disintermediating SMS. That's a very different raison d'etre to ours".

Channels will also get more love and attention. Currently, setting up a Channel is trivially easy - but you can't then take an RSS feed and pipe it into a BBM channel. That essential integration with publishing CMS will come. BBM says Channel publishers are pleased with the success - there's a stronger affinity than on other social networks.

Even with its new owner pushing Skype, Nokia will preload BBM on Windows Phone this year, we learned - a sign of how important BBM is to people in markets in which Nokia wants to shift a few phones. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.