September 28, 2020

BY GREG STAMPER

Nothing can last forever; at some point even the world’s mightiest empires must fall. In the tech world, it is no different. Early on in the summer BlackBerry announced that it would be releasing its formerly exclusive instant messaging application, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), to rivals Android and iPhone in the coming months.
On Sept. 18 BlackBerry made it official, announcing that their iconic BBM app would roll out on Androids’ Google Play and iPhone’s App Store on Sept. 21 and Sept. 22 respectively. However, an unofficial leak of the BBM app to the Play Store put the axe to that, and now the releases have been pushed back to an unknown date.
All setbacks aside, the release is a highly anticipated one. In spite of the Android app being an unofficial leak, it received almost 1.1 million downloads in just eight hours on Google Play before being deleted.
The question is why has the once gigantic smartphone empire finally decided to sell its most elite product to the companies that are their main competition? The answer boils down to exactly what you would expect, money.
The name BlackBerry does not carry as much influence and power as it once did. Despite being the original creator of the smartphone, BlackBerry stuck with simplicity in their phones’ operating systems for far too long and was left in the rearview mirror once Android and Apple decided to take over the game in the past five years.
BlackBerry attempted to rejoin the ranks of Androids and iPhones with the release of the BlackBerry Z10, but it was a complete failure.
Their stock price reflects this, currently sitting in the $8 range, a far cry from the $145 stock price in mid-2008.
Now all hope may rest on the BBM app.
The task is a tough one, but the 1.1 million downloads of the unofficial app provides some hope for BBM to thrive.
BlackBerry recently received a $4.7-billion offer from Canada’s Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., which already owns 10 per cent of the company, to assume full control and go back to being a private company, removing itself from the pressures of the stock market.
The proposed offer gives shareholders the peace-of-mind of knowing they can sell now and avoid further loss as well as giving the company the happiness of knowing it will stay BlackBerry, at least in the near future.

The views herein represent the position of the newspaper, not necessarily the author.