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How iOS 5’s iMessenger will kill BBM

The recent three day Blackberry fail adds impetus to the notion that Research in Motion (RIM) is dying. Sales of the BlackBerry are in worldwide decline, with RIM having a really bad last quarter. Pundits are wondering when the management will give in — either through acquisition or throwing in the towel altogether:

This isn’t the first time an outage has happened, with independent telecom and technology analyst, Jeff Kagan, stating that:
“I have been an analyst for 25 years and have watched RIM wrestle with this same outage problem time after time…this will not be the final nail in RIM’s coffin, but where in the past RIM always came back, this will give customers yet another reason to look at other devices.”

Similar outages occurred in 2007, February 2008 and December 2009 while international users experienced another outage in March 2010.

It’s not a well-kept secret that BlackBerry’s software is behind the times, especially with Google activating half a million ‘droids daily and Apple’s recent iOS 5 release. How unlikely is it that we’ll hear something like the New York Times review the iPhone 4s?

According to the internationally acclaimed newspaper:
“The iPhone 4S is loaded with dazzlers: Faster speed, crisper shots, global reach and transformative voice recognition.”

Much fanfare and mirth has welcomed the introduction of Siri. RIM, on the other hand, hasn’t even come close to having the luxury of creating quirky add-ons to its software. A few jokes have even done the rounds suggesting that RIM is having a few days of silence in respect of the passing of Steve Jobs

One rather serious repercussion of the iOS 5 launch is that iMessage creates messaging across iDevices similar to what Blackberry did with its BBM offering and this starts to hammer the nail into BlackBerry’s coffin. Its days of being the cheapest smartphone on the market, in terms of messaging, are numbered. BlackBerry’s only saving grace in this regard is that iOS5 doesn’t run on the iPhone 3. If this wasn’t the case then BlackBerry users wouldn’t have the argument that they use Blackberry primarily for the free BBM service. Self confessed “Apple Fanbooi” Marc Forrest has written a telling cost comparison between owning a BlackBerry and an iDevice, the highlights being:

  • iMessage is a replacement for BBM.
  • The real data usage for iDevices is in downloading apps and that the majority of browsing and iMessage data is compressed.
  • The difference in price (which may vary from country to country) between a Blackberry package and an iPhone package, US$2, is negligible.
  • The demise of RIM could leave a massive gap in the pre-paid (read developing) markets.
  • BlackBerry’s app store isn’t moderated — meaning the apps you download are prone to bugs or crashes.

It seems like RIM has fallen off the innovation bandwagon that has gripped the mobile world: The software is floundering, the hardware is prone to breakage and now its cost advantage is starting to wane. How long before a mobile hungry player like Google does another Motorola act?

Author | Graeme Lipschitz: Columnist

Graeme Lipschitz: Columnist
Graeme Lipschitz is the co-founder of digital innovation agency Wonderland Works where he heads up Social Media, Search and Product Development. He was previously the business development manager at Clicks2Customers.com and has worked for Google UK and South Africa as a lead account strategist, growing Adwords accounts in the... More
  • USA4Ever

    Where is the content that your title refers to? I didn’t see you explain How iOS 5’s iMessenger will kill BBM

  • I consider “WhatsApp” as an universal messaging application a stronger threat – not just to BBM, but also SMS. iMessenger is overhyped as it will only function across iOS devices and nothing else

  • joelus

    My blackberry cost R1500. When I can get an iPhone for that price then I’ll agree that that iOS 5’s iMessenger will kill BBM. Blackberry is popular in this country because it’s cheap. 

  • The more likely scenario is that BBM will die because RIM will die, not directly due to iMessenger.
    There is a lot to be said about the current social status of BBM especially in 3rd world markets, like SA.
    Apple products in general have such a high barrier to entry vs. RIM products, and this will pave the way for quite a while, at least in SA.
    The iPhone isn’t even considered by many demographics because of it’s pricing. I think services like Whats App and the like will squash BBM long before iMessenger will…
    But that said, in the first world markets, you are spot on, RIM have enjoyed the safety of numbers for too long and other manufacturers will have the innovation strong arm shortly.. 

  • Sydngx

    In the first world market BBM has enjoyed the freedom for far too long. These are the list unlikely of their clientele to tolerate all the problems they have been dealing with. There is already a growing use of Whats App which works across a variety of hand sets including Blackberry. I assume that Blackberry will enjoy a lot of support in the developing markets because of the pricing on IPhone.

  • Dallace Jolly

    When Apple can match the R69pm BlackBerry membership fee which includes 90% of my Internet browsing and all my email download, then I will move. Apple may the better option elsewhere in the world, but in South  Africa, BlackBerry offers a much better deal when you consider the mass market is not that affluent in this country.

  • Bbmistheonlythingiliked

    Does anyone know if imessenger messages are encrypted like bbm messages are?

  • it is

  • sensational article title aimed at getting traffic to the site. i think its called linkbaiting.
    the article does kinda touch on it, but i was also left with the unanswered question

  • your mom

    american-centric propaganda…you’re a joke of a writer

  • Dean

    Take it you own a blackberry lol

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  • Youllwantto

    BBM is completely different from iMessage. BBM works with a pin, while iMessage is just something that happens in the background as an alternative to SMS. BBM is great because you can change your image and you don’t have to give out your phone number or contact details. only your BBM pin, and you can easily delete someone again. I don’t think Apple got what made BBM successful. Whatssapp is even better than iMessage.

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  • John

    I’m sorry, I have an iPhone 4s running on ops 5, I think BBM’s a billion times better than iMessage, you only need a pin and no one needs to know your number, whereas iMessage needs your number. You can easily delete someone and on iMessage, you can’t.

  • Apple Sucks

    Just another garbage article over Apple hype. Where are these dazzling features on the IPhone 4s? Your not talking about that failure of a feature Siri that it being taken to court are you? Or a screen upgrade? Ooooh sooo many features. If you ask me Apple gets off too easy every time. They could release a horrible phone that loses signal when you hold it the wrong way and everyone would still buy it and love it all thr same. Oh wait, wasnt that the iphone 4?and RIM gets every little problem magnified.

  • Well BBM is not killed….. Perhaps time to agree you kinda got it wrong… And I agree with the other posts… For i Messeger to kill BBM you would need 300% more iPhone users that what you presently have. iPhone 4 is only 6% of the total market share in SA. BB has just on 78%

    So the only way that iMessengers stands a chance is id RIM dies…. You’re not very tech savvy are you ?

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