Last year Blackberry made the much awaited move of rolling out its messaging and voice app BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) on Android and iOS. Within no time the company also revealed that more than 20 million users are actively using the app for the two mobile platforms. Reports in India also indicated that the messaging app might have taken over the world’s most popular messaging app WhatsApp in terms of download percentage.
While these are stories from last year, in a latest development BlackBerry’s India MD, Sunil Lalvani said that BBM engaged its users more than WhatsApp, despite having fewer users.
The bold statements were made after a study conducted by Blackberry a month ago found out that BBM and WhatsApp users exchanged 10 billion messages a day on each platform. Even though BBM has only 85 million users including those who use it on Android and Apple’s iOS platforms and WhatsApp, which was recently acquired by Facebook for $19B, has more than 450 million active users, out of which 40 million are from India.
Hence the claim from Lalvani of BBM drawing more engagement than WhatsApp.
“The level of engagement of users with BBM is more. It also shows that BBM users are high-data consuming customers who communicate more.”
Lalvani who seems to be unaffected by the competition provided by Facebook’s WhatsApp, considers BBM to be a closed chat application providing a secure conversation as one can’t pull out saved contacts from the handset. Besides Lalvani also adds that earlier mentioned features have found acceptance by the enterprise users and BBM is also turning into another official communication tool.
Talking on the business features, the company that launched BBM channels where either an individual or a corporate can create a channel with dedicated followers, has as many as 250,000 business-to-business as well as business-to-consumer BBM channels. These channels have been adopted by Indian brands like Airtel and Cafe Coffee Day.
With all these features BBM is still nowhere close to WhatsApp. It is true that unlike most messaging apps that takeover your mobile contact list, BBM works on exchange of pins before getting added. However, the claim of BBM to be a secure messaging tool is a bit tall as last year the company had set up a local server in the country which gave access to its services, which include BBM and BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) email.
Today the popularity of a messaging app is measured in terms of active users and not on registered users or messages sent on a given period. Along with WhatsApp, BBM has a tough competition from players like Viber which has 4 million active users in the country and Nimbuzz with 24 million registered users trying to be the second messaging app in the country. Additionally, there are some more players like WeChat, Line, Hike that are also trying to be the second most popular messaging app in the country.
With the messaging apps getting aggressive in the country either with getting into cheap voice solutions or form an alliance for lucrative business deals for customers, BBM will not have a smooth ride even as a “closed” messaging app.
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