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Sep 22, 2013

BBM for Windows Phone? Not So Fast

BBM was supposed to arrive on both Android and iOS this weekend, but due to technical difficulties, BlackBerry decided to pause the global rollout of the app for the time being.

While this is clearly bad news for those who wanted to at least try out BBM on their smartphones, it's also an indication that BlackBerry still has chances to get back on track. At some level, people are actually interested in its apps, hence the surprisingly big number of downloads that BBM for iOS experienced in the first hours on the market. The Canadian company claims that more than 1.1 million users registered to download BBM in the first 8 hours, even though the Android version wasn't yet available.

As you can see, we're only talking about two different platforms here, Android and iOS, both of which are said to be ruling the smartphone market at this point. But what about Windows Phone? Microsoft wasn't invited to the BBM launch party, but nobody knows the reason right now. And still, it's easily to figure out why. It all comes down to only a couple of reasons. First, Microsoft doesn't care about it. Secondly, nobody cares about it.

At this point, Windows Phone is still struggling to compete with iOS and Android on almost every market out there, even though Microsoft has invested a fortune in making the platform successful. The Softies have even lied to us, claiming that Windows Phone was growing so much that it could become number one at some point. That never happened though, and Windows Phone seems to remain a mediocre mobile OS that some developers are avoiding. Because the cash is somewhere else. Making and selling an iOS app, for example, is much easier than doing the same thing on Windows Phone. In a recent meeting with financial analysts, Microsoft has admitted that Windows Phone has almost no market share. Here's what outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer told the audience:

“If there's one thing I guess you would say I regret, I regret that there was a period in the early 2000s when we were so focused on what we had to do around Windows, that we weren't able to redeploy talent to the new device form factor called the phone,” he said during his keynote.

“That would probably [be] the thing I would tell you I regret the most, because the time we missed was about the time we were working away on what became Vista, and I wish we'd had our resources slightly differently deployed.”

So, if Microsoft doesn't think that Windows Phone has chances to succeed, why should we? And this makes porting BBM to Windows Phone a waste of time and resources. Which, let's be honest, BlackBerry doesn't afford right now. Now, let's get down to the second reason. As an avid BlackBerry user, I think that BBM is a great app. The only problem with it is that nobody uses it these days. With WhatsApp available on so many platforms and already becoming extremely popular in every little corner of the world, BBM has slight chances to impress. Even if it arrives on Android and iOS.

As a result, bringing BBM on Windows Phone, a platform that has a really small market share, isn't worth the effort. Again, BlackBerry doesn't have the time and resources to do it. Maybe at some point, when another company that has the financial strength to do it will buy BlackBerry, BBM might land on Windows Phone too, but for the moment, you have no other option than to stick to WhatsApp. I started crawling the web looking for an answer to this question this morning, and the same answer is basically posted on every forum, blog, or website. People aren't interested in BBM, not with WhatsApp holding such a large user base. And here comes my next question: if BBM is not at all appealing, how come millions of iOS and Android users are trying to download the app right now?

Native BBM on Blackberry 10
Image credits to n4bb


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