BlackBerrry Messenger on Android, iOS – Is RIM Pushing Away Users?

According to the Rumor mill and a recent Engadget post, Research In Motion (RIM) – creators of the BlackBerry – are close to releasing its infamous BlackBerry Messenger service on other platforms and devices.

Why?!

The BlackBerry Messenger service is really the biggest differentiator RIM has to offer. It allows device-to-device messaging, presumably without leaving a fingerprint on RIM’s servers. According to other reports, it’s really BlackBerry’s only better feature. Their browser is lacking and their corporate email services are equal (if not slightly behind) other smart phones. No, the new Torch was really not a good response to iOS and Android devices.

In marketing, your company’s differentiator is the your users’ barrier to switching to another service. If RIM is knocking down this barrier – essentially allowing other devices to have one of RIM’s only unique features – then what’s stopping the rest of BlackBerry owners from jumping ship to Android devices or iPhones?

RIM’s user base continues to decline, down to only 31.6% of smart phone users, according to the latest comscore data. Android users are up to almost 29% and iPhones account  for 25%. However, those numbers were before Verizon announced their iPhone – which in a month topped 1 million units sold.

So, let’s recap:

  • BlackBerry is hemorrhaging market share to Android and iOS
  • BlackBerry has one main differentiator
  • BlackBerry is giving that differentiator away

Anyone see a problem here?

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