BlackBerry Messenger is being retired – yes, it was still a thing

The consumer version of BlackBerry Messenger is shutting down at the end of this month, the communication app’s custodian has announced.

The illustrious remnant of the BlackBerry era will close down on May 31, despite briefly gaining somewhat of a second wind as a cross-platform service following the initial decline of BlackBerry hardware.

Sadly for loyal BBMers, the makers of the app have resigned themselves to mobile users moving onto pastures new, in order to exchange messages with friends and family. In a blog post on Thursday, Emtek, the company that has been running BBM for the last three years, explained why it was calling time on the consumer app.

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“We poured our hearts into making this a reality, and we are proud of what we have built to date,” the company wrote. “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.

“Though we are sad to say goodbye, the time has come to sunset the BBM consumer service, and for us to move on. We hope you will cherish many fond memories of BBM consumer service that helped shape messenger platforms to become what they are today.”

BBM was indeed 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.

The paid enterprise version of the app will continue for business customers, so BBM isn’t going away completely. However, May 31 will be a sad day for those who’ve clung to BBM to exchange messages.

UPDATE: BlackBerry itself is coming to the rescue. It is opening up the enterprise version to consumers. CMO Mark Wilson says: “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.”

Does BlackBerry deserve more credit overall for ushering in the smartphone era? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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