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RIP BBM: BlackBerry Messenger has been shut down for good

Let’s hold a moment of silence for an old friend. BBM has delivered its last ping and closed its digital doors forever.

Emtek, the company that has been running BBM for the last three years, announced last month that it would shut down the messaging service on May 31. That date has, of course, now passed.

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The Indonesian media conglomerate took over development of BBM in 2016, with plans to rehaul the app by introducing a bunch of new features. Unfortunately, the revamp wasn’t enough to propel BBM into competition with other more popular messaging services.

BBM was a pioneer in secure, internet-based instant messaging, long before the likes of iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger entered the arena. It underpinned the BlackBerry operating system and remained a solid reason loyalists wanted to keep hold of their devices amid the explosion of touchscreen iOS and Android devices.

In a blog post, Emtek lamented that the technology industry is fluid and that “in spite of our substantial efforts, users have moved on to other platforms” while new users have been difficult to draw in.

Blackberry has tried to face up to its competition directly in the past. In 2018, the company sued Facebook for infringing on its messaging patents with Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. The suit included complaints regarding Facebook’s use of a notification dot to display unread messages, timestamps and issues pertaining to security and privacy.

However, BBM isn’t going away completely. The paid enterprise version of the app will continue, and to hold on to its more loyal users, Blackberry has taken steps to open it up for personal use.

BBM Enterprise – or BBMe – is free of the games, channels and ads that cluttered BBM and includes features such as secure messaging, file sharing, voice, video and real-time notifications.

CMO Mark Wilson said: “While we respect Emtek’s decision, we’re disappointed the platform did not thrive and grow as expected. After much consideration, we decided that BBM’s loyal users should continue to have a secure messaging platform that they can trust.”

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If you’re not ready to let BBM go just yet, BBM Enterprise is available for download now on Android, iOS, Windows and Mac. The app costs nothing for the first year. A subscription is then $2.49 for six months.

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