BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) shares rallied more than 5% on Thursday following the CEO’s statement about the recently announced Apple-IBM partnership. That Apple-IBM alliance is seen as a threat to BlackBerry as it allows Apple’s iOS to expand in the enterprise market. The comments from the CEO might have pushed the stock up this week, but for the long-term, the Canadian company needs to build on assets like BBM to sustain and accelerate its growth.
BBM losing popularity in Western markets
The Canadian company is facing strong headwinds in the handset business from companies such as Xiaomi in Indonesia. Many see BlackBerry Ltd’s squared phone as an odd design, but the company is confident that the device will catch on with users.
BlackBerry Messenger lost ground recently in Western markets with limited demand. Last year, BBM was in strong demand in various markets, when it was launched on both iOS and Android. In markets like United States, UK and Indonesia, long-time BBM fans rushed to download the app on their phone. Now, however, BBM is losing popularity in Western markets, as can be seen from its current rankings.
BBM slipped down to No. 71 in the British iPhone download chart and to No. 99 on the Canadian chart. Just a few months ago, it was thriving and was within top 50 apps in both countries. In the United States it is out of top 700, according to a report from BGR.
In growth markets like Indonesia, Nigeria and South Africa, BBM was the in top 5 iPhone downloads.
BlackBerry rivals gaining
To BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB)’s envy, rival messaging apps are performing far better. Kik, which is a chat app from Waterloo, Ontario, is the No. 22 iPhone app in America, No. 53 in Australia and No. 59 in Canada. Viber is No. 15 in Australia, No. 17 in France, No. 36 in the UK and No. 47 in Germany. Also, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are cashing in on their popularity in a number of Western markets.
BBM is losing ground to apps like kik and Viber in the richest mobile markets in the world. Though BlackBerry is strong in Africa and Indonesia, monetizing users in these regions is much more difficult compared to developed markets in Canada, UK or Australia.