BBM: BlackBerry Messenger finally shuts down after years of trying to lure people back

New updates failed to bring in new users, BlackBerry says

Andrew Griffin
Friday 31 May 2019 16:01 BST
A customer's email to Blackberry requesting a refund went unanswered
A customer's email to Blackberry requesting a refund went unanswered (Getty)

BBM, the chat app on BlackBerry phones, is finally shutting down.

A decade after its heyday, and after years of trying to lure people back into the once hugely popular messaging service, the company has conceded defeat and will shut it off.

The service will be turned off on 31 May, leaving anyone still using it unable to do so.

The company had attempted to save the service by making it available to people using other phones, like iPhone and Android, rather than only on BlackBerry. But as with other attempts to bring back the BlackBerry brand, it largely failed.

That failure brought an end to the service that was many people's first experience with the chat apps that have come to dominate the phone market. BBM for a brief period occupied a central part in the culture, and its hidden and easy conversations were blamed for events including the London riots of 2011.

The shutdown was announced last month, in a blog post. The company argued that it had attempted to revive the service by allowing anyone to chat on it and with new features.

"Three years ago, we set out to reinvigorate BBM consumer service, one of the most loved instant messaging applications, as a cross-platform service where users can not only chat and share life experiences, but also consume content and use payment services," the company wrote.

"We poured our hearts into making this a reality, and we are proud of what we have built to date."

But users had gone elsewhere already and not enough users came back to the app to make it worth running it.

"The technology industry however, is very fluid, and in spite of our substantial efforts, users have moved on to other platforms, while new users proved difficult to sign on," the company wrote.

It ended with a sentimental note about the conversations that had been shared over the service.

"We are grateful for your support and wish to thank everyone, especially our users, partners, and employees, for being part of the BBM consumer service journey," it concluded. "We hope you will cherish many fond memories of BBM consumer service that helped shape messenger platforms to become what they are today."

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