After failed revival, Blackberry Messenger shuts down in its last stronghold Indonesia

Bye bye, BBM.

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After failed revival, Blackberry Messenger shuts down in its last stronghold Indonesia

Blackberry Messenger (BBM), once highly popular in Indonesia, is shutting down.

It announced this decision in a goodbye notification to users on Thursday, CNBC Indonesia reports. The app will formally shut down globally on May 31.

BBM’s history in Indonesia dates back to when Blackberry mobile devices were ubiquitous. Even after the devices were being replaced by more advanced smartphones, the messenger BBM, which had been spun out as a standalone app, remained popular.

Up until 2016, it was still one of the most popular social apps in the country, although it was progressively being crowded out by newer messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Line. Now, BBM is not even among the top 20 apps in the communications category in the Indonesian Google Play Store, according to App Annie data.

In an attempt to revive and modernize BBM, local conglomerate Emtek had invested in a partnership with Blackberry, a Canadian firm, for the right to develop the app for the Indonesian market.

The idea was to make BBM the center of Emtek’s diverse media and e-commerce assets, which include major TV stations, online news sites, e-commerce marketplace Bukalapak, and the mobile wallet Doku. But the transformation was costly—and ultimately unsuccessful.

According to CNBC, Emtek lost some IDR 1.97 trillion (USD 135 million) because of the deal, which contributed to overall losses for the publicly traded media conglomerate in 2018.