WSJ: BlackBerry thinking of spinning off BBM

Sources state BlackBerry (BBRY -2%) is thinking of spinning off BlackBerry Messenger into "a subsidiary that would operate with more independence." The subsidiary would be called BBM, Inc.

The spinoff report comes as BlackBerry continues to explore "strategic alternatives" believed to include an LBO (perhaps with Prem Watsa's help) or a sale to another tech company. The WSJ observes the move indicates "BlackBerry is trying to position BBM as a valuable asset ahead of a potential sale."

BBM (60M users), long available only on BlackBerry's hardware, is set to arrive on iOS and Android. It'll face stiff competition on those platforms from the likes of WhatsApp (250M+ users), Facebook Messenger, Kik, Line, and Viber. A leaked video suggests Samsung will be an Android launch partner.

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Comments (24)
  • gwynfryn
    , contributor
    Comments (6546) | Send Message
    Great idea, they can sell it to Nokia, and then, why don't they pull on their neckties till it hurts...
    27 Aug 2013, 11:39 AM Reply Like
  • edlcap
    , contributor
    Comments (62) | Send Message
    Bbry management is in total panic . A real pity.
    27 Aug 2013, 11:52 AM Reply Like
  • tracey.
    , contributor
    Comments (20) | Send Message
    too little, too late.this should have been done last winter,thus protecting the stronger parts of the co
    27 Aug 2013, 12:33 PM Reply Like
  • Davidoff
    , contributor
    Comments (409) | Send Message
    I thought that it was quiet worthless too, before I read that a fake BBM App on Android, that has been put on Android store in June of this year, was downloaded by over 100.000 people in less than 24 hours, before being removed. It seems that there is still a huge demand and a giant fan base, even though people don't use Blackberry phones anymore.


    However, pretending that WatsApp and Line-like Apps are competitors to BBM is just ridiculous. Completely different products.
    27 Aug 2013, 11:52 AM Reply Like
  • webbersworld
    , contributor
    Comments (218) | Send Message
    not at all arguing with you, I'm actually a BBRY long. having never actually owned a BB, I've never actually used BBM, only heard from everyone how great it was. What is the difference between it and WhatsApp and all the other "competitors"?
    27 Aug 2013, 12:55 PM Reply Like
    , contributor
    Comments (2732) | Send Message
    BBM is real time, fast, the most secure and the easiest to attach pictures, and stuff. You really have to use it to understand how smooth running it is. BBM is king of texting hands down.
    27 Aug 2013, 01:29 PM Reply Like
  • Davidoff
    , contributor
    Comments (409) | Send Message


    The functionalities are more or less the same - messaging, Internet phone calls, multiple chatrooms, calendar, announcements and files sharing. However, there are several differentiation factors. First of all, Whatsapp, Line, Kik, etc. are clearly teenage apps. Very colorful childish skins and a huge part given to the social Facebook-like functionalities. BBM is positioned as a serious professional tool. Secondly, BBM is all about security and thus it is much more trustworthy. They take hacker threats very seriously, put a huge accent on security and their servers are based in Canada. All the other apps have all had major hacking and security issues during the last years (accounts hijacking, servers hacking,...) and most of them have their servers based in Asian countries. And finally, unlike BBM, all the other apps suffer of severe stability and server connection issues. In that way BBM is beyond anything that is available on app stores today.


    I believe that most of the people use these apps for private conversations only. They aren't really concerned by security threads and can handle an account loss, as long as they get a free service. But I also believe that there is a large part of smartphone users, who need a secured service, for example for their professional communications. The fact that BBM is still relevant and is needed on other operational systems is being proved by the huge demand of the consecutive fake BBM apps.
    27 Aug 2013, 01:30 PM Reply Like
  • webbersworld
    , contributor
    Comments (218) | Send Message
    Thanks for the very detailed response. No matter what they decide to do, I hope it's successful and we can see this SP shoot back up. Go BBRY!
    27 Aug 2013, 02:07 PM Reply Like
  • KIA Investment Research
    , contributor
    Comments (14019) | Send Message


    "However, pretending that WatsApp and Line-like Apps are competitors to BBM is just ridiculous. Completely different products."


    You are so right, these other products are "Successful"


    Add the installed base for WeChat + WhatsApp + Skype and you have 3/4 BILLION users to BBMs 60 million.


    BBM even as a free give away has no chance, as a separate company it's only going to add to the already growing joke-bag which is now BlackBerry.
    30 Aug 2013, 12:12 PM Reply Like
  • KIA Investment Research
    , contributor
    Comments (14019) | Send Message


    1. BBM is real time:
    Can you support this statement? a BBM app running on Android or IOS is going to be using the same network as all other 3rd party apps (whatsApp for instance.) How is BBM going to achieve real-time performance?
    Or wouldn't it be more correct to state it will be performing in real-time just like all other 3rd party internet connected instant messaging clients.


    2. fast,
    Isn't this just a rehash of your real-time argument, or are you talking about the app performance?
    Please show how this BBM application is faster than any other IM app.


    3. the most secure
    Lets dig a little deeper.
    It's my understanding that cross platform BBM won't require BES, and without BES, isn't BBM 'just another app' running on the iOS or Android platform, over the same network? Aren't most of the 3rd Party IMs at least capable of encryption too?
    Please explain your claims.


    4. and the easiest to attach pictures, and stuff.
    Hmm, I think you just picked this out of your hat.
    I use WeChat and I attach pictures by simply clicking on the picture I want to attach (hard to be easier than that.) And for voice, I touch the little microphone and it records my voice directly into the message.
    How to you support you claim?


    5. You really have to use it to understand how smooth running it is. BBM is king of texting hands down.


    1 BILLION users use the alternatives to BBM, they are constantly being updated and have very loyal (read 'contact list') customers.


    BBM is not a business, it's a side-show.
    30 Aug 2013, 12:24 PM Reply Like
  • seymour2
    , contributor
    Comments (161) | Send Message
    Fair enough, put the patent portfolio up for sale too, and lets check the cash position opposite the share price when those two sales have resulted in humongous cash in hand.
    27 Aug 2013, 01:18 PM Reply Like
  • gwynfryn
    , contributor
    Comments (6546) | Send Message
    The company won't be much use without the use of their own patents, sey, so why would anyone buy it? Patents aren't a separate product, you know?
    28 Aug 2013, 06:38 AM Reply Like
  • Jason Burack
    , contributor
    Comments (2164) | Send Message
    So you guys think bankruptcy or a buyout is all but guaranteed at this point? What's their cash burn rate?
    27 Aug 2013, 01:34 PM Reply Like
  • knrdk
    , contributor
    Comments (34) | Send Message
    nonexistent. they keep adding cash quarter after quarter.
    27 Aug 2013, 03:13 PM Reply Like
  • pjews
    , contributor
    Comments (940) | Send Message
    The article is one of idea's floating around. Nothing is for certain, what is going on at Blackberry. Threfore the les there is publushed the better it is.
    27 Aug 2013, 01:57 PM Reply Like
  • tiger8896
    , contributor
    Comments (746) | Send Message
    I doubt BBM as a standalone unit will be worth very much. Messaging apps are a dime a dozen, I even worked for a company that built their own because they were concerned with confidentiality issues using public messaging systems.


    Why would BBRY even discuss a spin off now until they roll it out on Android and IOS to gauge it's success? If it's a huge hit (I have my doubts) then try to monetize it.
    27 Aug 2013, 04:18 PM Reply Like
  • Crazy Mazy
    , contributor
    Comments (432) | Send Message
    BBM will be very successful, because it's a serious messaging service. Also BB channels will prove to be a very valuable tool, for businesses to promote their products. Does what'sapp, Kik or the other so called messaging services have those features? Of course not! I think launching BBM cross platform will be the most successful thing BB has done in the last six months. Just look what happened when that fake BB app was launched! If BBM was not relevant would there have been so many downloads? Just wait till the real thing is launched, your going to see a million downloads per day!
    27 Aug 2013, 05:36 PM Reply Like
  • WisPokerGuy
    , contributor
    Comments (1416) | Send Message
    Do all of the "Blackberry Till Death" people on this website remind anyone else of the band that played right up to the end in Titanic? Because they sure do to me. Strong, vibrant tech companies with bright futures do NOT talk about doing gimmicky stunts like this.


    Tick Tock BBRY


    Disclosure - I have no position in BBRY but I do slow down when I pass traffic accidents to have a look.
    27 Aug 2013, 07:48 PM Reply Like
  • logicalman
    , contributor
    Comments (757) | Send Message
    Hope BBRY checks with you before making their next move. Peace!!!
    28 Aug 2013, 10:28 AM Reply Like
  • WisPokerGuy
    , contributor
    Comments (1416) | Send Message
    As of September 20, 2013, BBRY doesn't have to check with me regarding their next move. The market is doing that for them. After the horrendous pre-earnings announcement today, it's pretty obvious that BBRY is on life-support and the next move is a breakup value of around $6.00 a share if they can find a buyer. And at the rate this company is tanking, that's a BIG "if".


    Never let it be said I will pass on a chance to say "I told you so" but I told you so.


    BBRY = RIP
    21 Sep 2013, 01:12 AM Reply Like
  • hoonibvird
    , contributor
    Comments (164) | Send Message
    Whats Up is basically public communications. You have to give your phone number to the other person to communicate. BBM is very secure and completely private, using a separate PIN #.
    27 Aug 2013, 09:07 PM Reply Like
  • Crispin_in_Waterloo
    , contributor
    Comments (1708) | Send Message
    Further, BBM being a device to device platform is able to use the encryption available on that device rather than relying on the system to perform it remotely or else using software on the device.


    As phone numbers fade away, device to device communication will become the norm, not number to number like SMS.


    Someone above referred to the use of BES and BBM. It is BIS that is not used by BB10, not BES which is being dropped. BBM on BB10 is an encrypted peer to peer system. BES OTOH is an enterprise management system and is used by companies wanting management of the devices (including non-BB units).


    Because What's Ap and the etc's do not use the same communication method as BBM, they are open to all manner of attack and hijacking. If you don't care, no problem. Use anything free.
    21 Oct 2013, 02:31 PM Reply Like
  • KIA Investment Research
    , contributor
    Comments (14019) | Send Message
    "Because What's Ap and the etc's do not use the same communication method as BBM, they are open to all manner of attack and hijacking. "


    Hi Cliff, just keeping you honest here ;-)


    So your statement seems to suggest you know what encryption BBM uses, and what encryption WhatsApp uses since you know one is better than the other.


    Please explain then:
    1. What Algorithm each use
    2. What bit strength.


    And for extra credit: do either of BBM or WhatsApp take advantage of hardware crypto, or is it all software?
    21 Oct 2013, 04:04 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Bryant
    , contributor
    Comments (7347) | Send Message
    Anything to add value is good. Guess selling (BBRY) was not a great idea after all. Oh well.
    28 Aug 2013, 12:18 AM Reply Like
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