BBM is already available to users of the iPhone from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and smartphones that use the Android platform from Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), as well as BlackBerry’s own phones. Last week’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has put IP messaging services like BBM in the spotlight again.
Just how much impact the availability of BBM on Windows Phone and Nokia X platforms will have on BlackBerry’s turnaround efforts is a real question. Since opening BBM to both iOS and Android users, the company has boosted the number of BBM users to around 80 million. Adding the weak-selling Windows Phone smartphones will not change that very much, and we will not know if BBM will have any impact on the Nokia X platform until at least April, when the phone finally becomes available.
But this announcement sounds like good news for BlackBerry, and that is about all it takes to give the company’s stock a shot in the arm. How the closing of Microsoft Corp.’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s handset business will affect BlackBerry’s plans for BBM on Nokia’s phones remains to be seen. The best bet is that even if Microsoft can sell more phones than Nokia could, BlackBerry is unlikely to see much of an improvement in its business.
Still, BlackBerry stock was up more than 6% Monday morning, at $9.70 in a 52-week range of $5.44 to $16.82. There are some believers out there.