BlackBerry trumpets 10M downloads of cross-platform Messenger app

BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) said that within the first 24 hours of availability, more than 10 million users had downloaded the cross-platform version of its signature Messenger app for Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS platforms. The BBM rollout is a bright spot for the struggling smartphone maker, which is considering going private and is reportedly being circled by other potential buyers.  

BlackBery said BBM also quickly rose through the rankings on Apple's App Store to be the No. 1 free app in more than 75 countries in the first 24 hours, including the U.S., Canada, the UK, Indonesia and most of the Middle East. BlackBerry pointed to strong reviews from the app, and as of Wednesday morning the app had received more than 87,000 five-star reviews in Google Play, or two-thirds of all reviews. It was the No. 2 free app in the App Store as of Wednesday morning.

"This has been an incredible launch for BBM across Android and iPhone devices," Andrew Bocking, executive vice president of BBM at BlackBerry, said in a statement. "The mobile messaging market is full of opportunity for BBM. We intend to be the leading private social network for everyone who needs the immediate communication and collaboration of instant messaging combined with the privacy, control and reliability delivered through BBM."

The cross-platform BBM will enable users to interact across multiple mobile operating systems and includes core features such as one-on-one and multi-person text chats, voice and video chats, voice note sharing and BlackBerry Groups, which enables as many as 30 BBM users to share calendars, photos, files and additional content. Future versions of the iOS and Android apps are expected to support the forthcoming BBM Channels, a social engagement platform within Messenger allowing customers to connect with businesses, brands, celebrities and groups, as well as BBM Video calling and BBM Voice calling.

Strong support for BBM across platforms is a positive sign for BlackBerry but may not change the overall trajectory of the company. The rollout comes as questions continue to swirl about BlackBerry's future. Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese PC and smartphone maker Lenovo was actively considering purchasing all of BlackBerry.

The report, citing unnamed sources, said that Lenovo had signed a non-disclosure agreement that lets it look at BlackBerry's books. BlackBerry and Lenovo declined to comment, according to the Journal. Additionally, last week both Bloomberg and AllThingsD reported that, according to unnamed sources, Cerberus Capital Management, which specializes in distressed assets, signed a similar agreement with the struggling smartphone maker.

BlackBerry is currently working with a consortium led by its largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings, to take BlackBerry private in a $4.7 billion deal. But the firm can look for other suitors until Nov. 4.

For more:
- see this release
- see this The Verge article
- see this CNET article

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