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Consumer version of BBM to shut down May 31

Render of the BBM logo.

It’s a sad day for BlackBerry enthusiasts, as Emtek Group announced today that the consumer version of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) has an expiration date — May 31.

For years, BBM’s success coincided with BlackBerry’s as the former gained mainstream appeal and became one of the most popular messaging services in the world. However, BlackBerry’s fall from grace eventually led to BBM also becoming less popular.

Compounding matters are messaging services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, Telegram, and many others that eventually eclipsed BBM in popularity. In 2016, Emtek acquired the licensing rights to BBM in the hopes of turning the service around. However, the addition of channels, games, and ads arguably worsened the BBM experience.

In today’s announcement, Emtek talks about the difficulties of competing with the aforementioned platforms while also failing to bring on new BBM users. Emtek didn’t provide statistics on the number of current BBM users, though the service had 63 million monthly users in Indonesia as of January 2018.

According to BBM’s updated FAQ page, users won’t be able to use BBMoji after May 31 and existing rewards after May 20. The page also notes that Emtek will delete data like channels and feeds within seven days of the service shutting down and data from its cloud infrastructure within 180 days.

That said, messages and files like photos, documents, and videos are stored on BBM servers until you download them. These files are destroyed after seven days, so they’ll disappear whether or not you download them.

Also keep in mind that only the consumer version of BBM is going away May 31. Starting today, BBM Enterprise will be available on the Google Play Store. BBM Enterprise is free for the first year and costs $2.49 for six months of service.

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