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Is BBM coming out on the iPhone? When? Why? How much? We answer your questions

Karen Haslam | July 4, 2013
Is the BlackBerry messaging service really going to be available on the iPhone?

If you are trying to decide whether to buy a new iPhone 5, or wait for the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6, or buy one of those other smartphones, one of the factors affecting your decision may be whether the BBM instant messaging service from BlackBerry will be avaiable on the iPhone. If it is, you've come to the right place.

Is BBM coming out on the iPhone?
I was recently asked this question and my reaction was that there was no way that BlackBerry would be making BBM available for the iPhone. Well it looks like I was wrong.

Back in May BlackBerry announced that it would make the popular BBM service available to iPhone (and Android) users. BlackBerry seems to have decided that if you can't beat them you might has well join them.

When is BBM coming to iPhone?
When it made the announcement that BBM would be made available for iPhone, BlackBerry said that it would be available "this summer". That timing is "subject to approval by the Apple Store". Our best guess is late summer, although it's possible that Apple will not approve the BBM app, ever.

Will Apple allow BBM on the iPhone?
While Apple isn't supposed to allow any bias into which apps it approves for the App Store it is possible that the company will refuse to approve BBM, claiming that it tries to replace the functionality of Apple's Messages.

In 2009 Apple got into trouble with the FFC when it was accused of using bias when it was accused of rejecting the Google Voice app from the App Store. The company published a statement on its website claiming that it had not rejected Google Voice but confirming that Google Voice had not been approved because: "It appears to alter the iPhone's distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone's core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail."

The company could draw a similar comparison between BBM and Apple's own messaging service.

However, it is an unlikely scenario because Apple has already approve the popular Whatsapp app, which already has 100 million users, according to that company.

How much will BBM for iPhone cost?
BlackBerry says that the BBM app will be free.

Why is BlackBerry bringing BBM to the iPhone
It is likely that this is BlackBerry's attempt to retain the customers it still has by giving them the ability to communicate with the ever-growing pool of non-BlackBerry users within their preferred messaging app.

Will BBM on the iPhone be the same as the BlackBerry service?
BBM will initially offer text messaging only for the iOS and Android operating systems, with features such as voice and video and screen sharing coming later in 2013. The company announced that a BBM feature called channels will allow Twitter-like functionality.

 

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