The BBMe version is aimed at large businesses and has been made available for download on Android and iOS since April. It offers end-to-end encryption and message editing/unsending unlike the now rested consumer version. The technology company said BBMe offers secure communication on any device, including smartphones and desktops.
But while the service will only be free for the first year, users will have to pay for a subscription after that.
BBM, which arrived on mobile devices in 2005, was one of the first free instant messaging platforms and one of the world’s most popular mobile social networks as it provided a more attractive alternative to texting. A predecessor to the Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage, it was also one of the first instant messaging services to feature read receipts.
The EMTEK statement read in part:
“Today we’re announcing that we will be closing BBM consumer service. Three years ago, we set out to reinvigorate BBM consumer service, one of the most loved instant messaging applications, as a cross-platform service where users can not only chat and share life experiences, but also consume content and use payment services.
“We poured our hearts into making this a reality, and we are proud of what we have built to date. The technology industry, however, is very fluid, and in spite of our substantial efforts, users have moved “on to other platforms, while new users proved difficult to sign on.
“Though we are sad to say goodbye, the time has come to sunset the BBM consumer service, and for us to move on.”