Emtek, the company which has been in charge of the BBM app since 2016, has announced in a blog post that the consumer version of the app will no longer be available after 31 May 2019. Despite its efforts to revamp the app with new features, it failed to garner the kind of response that the company expected and users continued to flee to other platforms. Therefore, the BBM consumer service would cease to exist after the aforementioned date.
Die-hard BBM fans can find solace in the fact that the enterprise version of the app lives on. Android users can download the app from the Play Store and it will also be available on Apple's App Store soon. However, the enterprise version, which is called BBMe, is not free to use and users will have to pay $2.50 every six months for it. However, there is no download fee. In a bid to get users to sign on, Emtek is providing the service for free the first year, after which a bi-yearly payment would be required.
Given the current state of affairs, you might wonder why anyone would want to pay to use BBMe when its free alternative is sinking in popularity. The answer lies in the fact that the enterprise version comes with its own perks such as message editing, the ability to retract messages, and end-to-end encryption on top of the regular features such as chat and call. The enterprise version of the app can also be used on Windows and Mac computers.
While BBMe requires you to pay a subscription fee, it is not that high and the app could be a reliable, cheap option for people who take security seriously. For the current BBM users who would rather migrate to other free options, it is advised that they download their BBM data before the service is shut down the next month.
BBM, which was launched in August 2005, shot to fame because it provided a cheap and convenient way to send messages in an era when apps such as WhatsApp, iMessage and Facebook Messenger were unheard of. In fact, back in the day, BBM was something of a status symbol. It was given further credence by celebrities and politicians. The app remained exclusive to BlackBerry devices for a long time before being available on Android and iOS. However, by that time, most people had moved on to other platforms and BBM lost its novelty.
BBM hasn't revealed how many people will be affected by its decision to discontinue the consumer version of the app but the number will most likely not be substantial. While BBM was iconic in its own right, it doesn't really come as a surprise that the app is being shut down as it has been dwindling in popularity in recent years. It might have had a better chance if it was made available on other platforms sooner. By the time it went cross-platform, most users simply didn't feel the need to use the app and the fact that it came with bloatware didn't help matters either.