BlackBerry has already confirmed that it’s thinking of new ways to expand its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) business, and one way it may do so is by bringing support for the chat system to computers. One of the awesome things about iMessage, and some other competing platforms, is that you can respond to text messages direct from your computer without having to pull your phone out of your pocket. BlackBerry CEO John Chen said that’s a definite possibility in the future.
“We are certainly going to take a very serious look at putting BBM on the desktop,” Chen said, according to a report from Reuters on Friday. Chen didn’t provide any additional details, though did confirm that BlackBerry Messenger now has more than 80 million users, spread across BlackBerry, iOS and Android. An expansion to the desktop would provide at least one reason for consumers to use BBM as opposed to something else, like WhatsApp, which was recently acquired by Facebook for $19 billion and does not have a desktop presence.
A desktop client would also open up the possibility for a more robust video chat experience, allowing users to connect and speak with one another in real-time no matter the platform – akin to what Skype already does. These features could attract new users and, if BlackBerry provides access to Channels, where it generates money from sponsored content, it would generate even more cash from the platform.
With the company’s renewed focus on the enterprise, such a move would also likely provide a more secure cross-platform chat solution. Employees could remain in constant contact, using BBM as a sort of an instant messenger service assuming that BlackBerry expands BBM Protected to the desktop as well. It’s unclear if BlackBerry will charge for desktop support, though presumably it could create a free model and then charge for additional features. We know its focus is on services, which generate the most revenue for the company, and this seems like a natural fit.