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May 5, 2014

BlackBerry Might Turn BBM into Skype-Like VoIP Service




BlackBerry’s BBM is one of the most popular products that the company is offering at the moment, with tens of millions of people already enjoying its capabilities on their devices, and it seems that the vendor is determined to grow the service into something more.

According to a recent report coming from N4BB, it would not come as a surprise if the company actually went for a Skype-like approach with the BlackBerry Messenger, turning it into a VoIP service. In fact, David Proulx, BlackBerry’s Senior Director of BBM Business Development, actually confirmed that this was one possibility that the Canadian vendor was taking into consideration, although no specific plans on the matter have been laid down as of now. According to him, BlackBerry is looking into various means of monetization when it comes to BBM, and Skype is indeed one of them, though it is not the only one. “We are still investing in the organic elements that drive users. Any monetization is driven by large user base. Our idea is to take BBM to as many end-points as possible,” he said. At the moment, the BlackBerry messenger is available on mobile devices running under Android, BlackBerry and iOS, but it should become available for Windows Phone as well in the not-too-distant future.

Basically, BlackBerry is looking to transform BBM into a tool that can be used by any user to stay in touch with all of their friends. “Apart from Android and iOS, the company plans to introduce a Windows mobile version within the next three months. We introduced support for the Gingerbread. We also introduced relationship with Nokia. We are already on Nokia X,” David Proulx said. He also unveiled that BBM was enjoying around 85 million active users each month at the time, and that the service also had over 113 million registered users. Moreover, BBM had seen a significant increase since its official release on Android and iOS, Proulx said. BlackBerry will continue to expand the number of features available for its users on BBM, with functionalities such as Shop, Channels, and eventually video set to arrive on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.

Basically, the company is keeping its options open when it comes to the mobile service, so as to ensure that its multi-pronged strategy will pay off. When monetization is involved, however, it will all be done without impacting the user experience. “We are not taking one particular approach. Instead we are taking a portfolio approach in terms of commercialization. This provides us with an avenue to either accelerate or decelerate according to our requirement,” David Proulx also said. What remains to be seen is whether turning BBM into a VoIP service similar to Skype will indeed be one approach that BlackBerry will adopt soon.

BlackBerry's BBM could become a VoIP service
Image credits to BlackBerry

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