BlackBerry to discontinue BBM Meetings February 10, 2016

BlackBerry has announced that they are closing down the BBM Meetings Service, effective February 10th 2016.

For BlackBerry users of many years, this is a familiar feeling.  BlackBerry have a tradition of coming up with great ideas and then failing to implement them, or support them properly.  Eventually, this leads to them closing down a program.  BBM Music is a great example of this.  BBM Music was ahead of it’s time and BlackBerry just simply failed to support it and give it the resources it needed to flourish.

When it comes to BBM Meetings, there is probably many reasons why the system failed, resulting in its closure.  For a start, it was poorly named.  Calling it BBM Meetings when it didn’t use BBM and didn’t rely on BBM in any shape or form was always a mystery to me.  I felt that even while it was in beta, it should have been called BlackBerry Meetings.

Primarily, I would guess that it failed quite simply due to cost.  Making the price annual only, with no free tier, quite simply limited the numbers of users willing to pay for the service. Why they refused to implement a monthly payment subscription fee is beyond me, as this would have encouraged more users to give it a try. I wouldn’t just blame the actual pricing though, BlackBerry made it extremely difficult for many users to actually pay for a subscription, even if they wanted it.

Whatever the reasons, BlackBerry has lost some credibility here.  While it was never a solution for cross-platform BBM video, many used it as an example of such.  Who knows, maybe this will entice BlackBerry to finally implement cross-platform BBM video.

For customers using the BBM Meetings service, and who wish to continue to use a mobile-first web conferencing solution, BlackBerry state that they have facilitated a direct relationship with Zoom Communications.

“We believe a direct connection with Zoom Communications will provide you with a comparable web conferencing solution that is both efficient and cost-effective. Customers have the option to convert to the Zoom web conferencing solution – or a vendor of their choosing – over a 10 week transition period.”

Transitioning to Zoom from BBM Meetings Option:

Customers who opt to switch to the Zoom Pro plan will receive an upgraded experience:

  • For meetings they can host for up to 50 participants,
  • With high quality video and audio conferencing,
  • With screen sharing capabilities,
  • With the use of Video Breakout Rooms.

Until December 31st, 2015, customers signing up with Zoom will receive a highly competitive offer of a 10% reduction off the lifetime of the account – equating to costs of $135 USD per host per year.

This offer is available at using the coupon code blackberry-zoom on the payment page.

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