BlackBerry Messenger or BBM to be shut down for consumers on May 31

Edward C. Baig
The mobile messaging service BBM, one of the last remnants from BlackBerry’s heyday is about to be closed for consumers.

It’s been practically forever since BlackBerry sat on the smartphone throne. And now one of the last remnants from BlackBerry’s heyday is about to mostly disappear.

That would be BlackBerry Messenger or BBM, a mobile messaging app created way back in 2005 when BlackBerry was run by the Canadian enterprise known then as Research In Motion or RIM.

The BBM blog announces that the consumer version of BlackBerry Messenger will be shut down May 31.

Since 2016, BBM has been under the auspices of Creative Media Works, a division of PT Elang Mahkota Teknologi Tbk or Emtek, one of Indonesia’s largest media, content and tech businesses.

The company has just blogged that on May 31, the consumer version of BBM would be shutting down for good. 

(A fee-based enterprise version remains.)

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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.”

The relatively few of you are who you still on the messaging platform can continue to use BBM until the end of May when service will cease. You’ll want to make sure to download any photos, videos or files shared through BBM prior to that date since you’ll no longer be able to open the app on your device thereafter, even to peek at old messages. The company says you cannot export your contacts or feeds from the BBM app.

Once the BBM service is shut down, channels, feeds and any other data stored on BBM servers will be deleted within 7 days, other than data the company says it is required to keep for legal reasons. The process to delete data from the company’s cloud infrastructure will take up to 180 days. 

BlackBerry Limited subsequently announced that in light of Emtek’s decision to end the consumer service of BBM, it would make BBM Enterprise (BBMe), the enterprise-grade, end-to-end encrypted version of the messaging platform, available for individual use.
 
“While we respect Emtek’s decision, we’re disappointed the platform did not thrive and grow as expected,” said BlackBerry chief marketing office Mark Wilson said in a statement. “After much consideration, we decided that BBM’s loyal users should continue to have a secure messaging platform that they can trust.”

The BBMe app is now available in the Google Play store and will be available soon in the Apple App Store, BlackBerry announced. It will be free for the first year, after which a 6-month subscription will cost $2.49.

Meanwhile, BlackBerry still technically operates the BBM service for the relatively tiny number of people that still have BlackBerry 10 OS devices. 

Ironically, the BBM news comes just as TCL Communication, whose portfolio now includes BlackBerry hardware, announced that the Red Edition of the Android-based BlackBerry KEY2 smartphone – yes the phone has a version of BlackBerry’s iconic physical keyboard – is now available in the U.S. for $699.

The BBM blog ended with a nostalgic touch: “We hope you will cherish many fond memories of BBM consumer service that helped shape messenger platforms to become what they are today.”

Sadly, nostalgia doesn’t pay the bills.

Email: ebaig@usatoday.com; Follow @edbaig on Twitter

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: BlackBerry Messenger or BBM to be shut down for consumers on May 31