BlackBerry is reportedly considering turning its messaging service, BBM, into its own company.
The subsidiary would be named BBM Inc., according to the Wall Street Journal, quoting people with knowledge on the matter. A BlackBerry spokesperson didn’t deny the report, but did say the company will not comment on speculation.
The Journal claims the Waterloo-based Smartphone company may be trying to position BBM as a valuable asset ahead of a potential sale of the company.
Earlier this month, BlackBerry announced it had formed a special committee to “explore strategic alternatives” and review other ideas like joint ventures, strategic partnerships, or alliances in light of lagging sales. One of the options was to sell the company, but BlackBerry said it wouldn’t release any further details until the committee had completed its work.
According to Reuters, however, there is “no immediate plan” to spin-off BBM into its own unit, as the company gears up for BBM to launch on other platforms like Android and iPhone.
The company has been hard at work, reallocating employees to the BBM team to fine-tune the service before it becomes available to other consumers. The decision to expand BBM to other mobile platforms was an effort by the company to compete with messaging services like WhatsApp, which has 300 million active users in comparison to BBM’s 60 million.
“With these new efforts, BlackBerry appears to envision BBM as a competitor not just with messaging tools like WhatsApp but also with much bigger Internet companies, including Twitter and even Skype,” according to the report.
BlackBerry also has plans to introduce BBM Channels, a tool similar to Twitter that would allow brands and celebrities to interact closely with consumers.
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BlackBerry May Spin-Off BBM Into Its Own Unit, Reports Wall Street Journal
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