BlackBerry considering spinning off BBM


The once unthinkable could soon happen: BlackBerry is thinking about spinning off BlackBerry Messenger, its messaging platform, into a separate company. With the company about to open BBM up to Android and iOS, the move could help revive BBM’s fortunes against competing platform like Whatsapp, a cross-platform service that earlier this month announced it now had more than 300 million active users. In comparison, BBM has about 60 million users.

The move could position BBM as a valuable asset should BlackBerry move ahead with a possible sale. To further increase its value, it has shifted a number of executives to the BBM team and is looking at rolling out additional features. It’s not clear how much BBM as a separate company could be worth though.

The spinoff is one of the possible outcomes of BlackBerry’s recent decision to engage in an “exploration of strategic alternatives.” Among the other options being considered are joint ventures, strategic partnerships, an outright sale and “other possible transactions.” The Wall Street Journal reports that the new company would aptly be named BBM Inc.

The report also adds that BBM could also make the jump to PCs. Such a version has apparently been running internally at BlackBerry for years but management has so far held it back from public release.

As for BlackBerry, it would only say, “We have announced our plans to offer this trusted mobile messaging service to iPhone and Android users sometime this summer. We have made no further announcements.”

BBM for Android and iOS is expected to launch within weeks.

Source : The Wall Street Journal