Monday, February 24

Blackberry messenger to WhatsApp: the lost love for BBM

Few years back BBM was among the most loved things. Part envy too, as I looked at people punching away through our daily commute. When I got my BB Bold, I felt elite too. 

4 years forward, BB is forgotten or hated. Blackberry boys no longer appeal.  We hate the BBs issued by our employers . BB desperately opens up BBM for iPhone and Android but very few bothered to try. 

But as I heard of the $19 billion FB Whatsapp deal, I felt like revisiting the original mobile messenger, Blackberry Messenger BBM. it felt and worked just like before, this time free! Certainly nostalgia. 

Years back, it was perfectly normal to ask for someone's BBM Pin or txt mine and wait to add, accept n la la. Infact there was pride in having a BBM pin. 

Today it feels like a punishment! 

BBM now looks like a time capsule. 

No wonder we knowingly or unknowingly joined the simple whatsapp that doesn't even have a login. The democratization of mobiles did play, but BBM had the same oppurtunity too, infact it had a huge lead.

At start, Whatsapp on iPhone was a paid app, my dear friend forced me to try and got hooked. Whatsapp's key to dominance was its focus on being a simple light weight app that will open up faster than the inbuilt SMS app, even on a Symbian. Then they made it free for an year for Android and Symbian and it just took off. All people on your contacts are in whatsapp. What a simple idea!

Facebook no doubt made this deal as an insurance policy in a mobile only world. Does it really hope recoup the billions remains a ?

Maybe the answer lies in stock market. Userbase at any cost is all that Wall Street seems to cares about!

How do these analyst value things in a chaotic technology space where we don't know what's next?

What role does whatsapp have when we transition from smartphones to the next (none knows what) generation of devices.

Hope whatsapp won't share the same fate as BBM when I open it 5 years into the future 

*fact that whatsapp resisted buyouts till now was a huge bet and they did win. There was an app called Beluga launched just after whatsapp with a better polished UI. Beluga but sold out to FB within months.  The founders would be among the most depressed guys this week.