Rumor Mill: RIM extending BlackBerry Messenger to Android, iOS
Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) is reportedly poised to roll out its signature BlackBerry Messenger application across Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) rival Android mobile operating system, with a version optimized for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS said to be in the mix as well. Citing "multiple trusted sources," Boy Genius Report states that RIM has not yet finalized its launch schedule or pricing plans, although the device maker is debating whether to make BlackBerry Messenger available free to Android and iOS users--the company is also mulling a one-time premium download fee or even a recurring subscription charge for access.
Sources say RIM will offer a more basic, streamlined version of the BBM service available to existing BlackBerry smartphone users. While Android and iOS device owners will be able to communicate directly with contacts across multiple smartphone platforms, RIM likely will limit related BBM features like photo sharing, location sharing and the like within the BlackBerry ecosystem. The company will target Android first because its open platform eases potential development and integration challenges.
While the official rationale behind the possible BBM expansion is unknown, conventional wisdom suggests RIM wishes to control messaging usage across the mobile landscape, regardless of operating system. Moreover, rival BBM solutions continue to sprout up on Android and iOS; late last year, RIM filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Kik Interactive, the Toronto-based startup behind a free instant messaging solution similar to BlackBerry Messenger. The suit alleges that Kik founder Ted Livingston, a former RIM employee, had access to confidential information regarding the BBM roadmap and technology, and used that data to his benefit.
- read this Boy Genius Report article
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