We’ve long wondered if BlackBerry would ever push BBM into the arenas of services like Skype and Viber. David Proulx, BlackBerry’s Senior Director of BBM Business Development, said BBM voice will continue to remain free although the company hasn’t ruled out offering VoIP services like Skype.
“The Skype model is one possibility. There are also other approaches that we can take in terms of monetisation,” said Proulx.
“We are still investing in the organic elements that drive users. Any monetisation is driven by large user base. Our idea is to take BBM to as many end-points as possible,” he added.
BlackBerry plans to allow BBM users to message all of their friends. The company plans to roll out BBM on Windows Phone in the next few months.
“Apart from Android and iOS, the company plans to introduce a Windows mobile version within the next three months. We introduced support for the Gingerbread. We also introduced relationship with Nokia. We are already on Nokia X.
“In five months since launching BBM, we have seen significant increase in terms of usage. We have about 85 million active users of the total number 113 million registered users,” said Proulx.
BlackBerry will continue to focus on its multi-pronged strategy to achieving its goals with BBM. In terms of monetization, the company will not do so at the expense of the end user.
“We are not taking one particular approach. Instead we are taking a portfolio approach in terms of commercialisation. This provides us with an avenue to either accelerate or decelerate according to our requirement,” he said.
BlackBerry continues to expand the BBM feature list and add services like Shop, Channels, and eventually video on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. Perhaps the next feature will expand BBM as a VoIP client.