Let’s cut to the chase: it’s YAMA!
That’s right, I said YAMA!!! Yet Another Messenger App.
I know the Fan-berries are going to get their panties in a knot because I didn’t say that it’s revolutionary or something like that. But it’s not. In fact it looks indistinguishable from Google+ Hangouts, or Twitter DM’s, or any other messenger on my phone!
Forget the tired delivered and read indicators argument in favour of BBM. Back when the carriers were experimenting with data networks and connectivity was minimal this was a comforting feature. But now that I’m pumping data through my mobile phone faster than my DSL modem I think connectivity is taken for granted. And really, I don’t care if you read my message, I care if you acted on it! If I say “meet me at Starbucks in 10 minutes” then you can read that message all you want but if you’re late you’re triple-caramel-pumpkin-spice-skinny-latte-machiato is going to get cold and I’m not buying you another one!!!
Let’s look at the numbers for some messengers that work on Blackberry, Android and iOS:
- WhatsApp has over 325 million active users
- Viber has over 200 million active users
- Google+ Hangouts (not available on Blackberry) has over 100 million active users (an estimate based on the over 400 million active Google+ users)
- Facebook Messenger probably has just under 100 million active users (they don’t reveal those numbers so it’s just an estimate)
- Kik has over 80 million active users – which is ironic since the founders originally worked for Blackberry
BBM clocks in somewhere around the 55 million mark. So you’re more likely to find your friends using something other than BBM.
And don’t forget the grand-daddy of them all: SMS!!! Venerable old text messages, they reach not just smart phones, but feature phones too. And with software like MightyText and iMessage they reach tablets and computers as well! In fact there are BILLIONS of active monthly SMS users! And there’s nothing to install or configure, it just works out of the box!
In my humble opinion, BBM was something that made Blackberry unique, something they could distinguish themselves with. Something for people to say “I want BBM” and they’d have to get a Blackberry to get it.
The reason for having a Blackberry is now limited to inertia on the enterprise side; and nostalgia or pride on the consumer side. Releasing BBM for Android (and iPhone) really just serves to prolong the inertia since IT departments can now re-assure their remaining Blackberry users that they’ll be able to communicate with all their iPhone or Galaxy toting colleagues using BBM.
I sure hope those people interested in buying Blackberry have a better business plan than relying on the inertia of existing customers to carry them forward!
Cross-posted on Schultzter’s Blog