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BBM for iOS and Android Downloaded 5 Million Times in 8 Hours. What does it all mean?

Earlier this week BlackBerry made its BBM instant messaging service available to Android and iOS, and within 8 hours of the milestone release BlackBerry announced that BBM hit 5 million downloads.

Now, 5 million is a massive number and, presumably, many Android and iOS users have waited eagerly for a long time to get their hands on the service. But what does it all mean?

Well, fact of the matter is, BlackBerry is still very much in the lurch. The company is on the verge of being broken up and sold for parts, while its co-founders look for cash to save the once proud organisation from the brink. Add to this the close to US$1 billion of unsold BlackBerry Z10 slowly going obsolete in warehouses and store shelves around the world and it doesn’t take a Wall Street analyst to see that the company’s continuity is grimm.

To think about it, 5 million downloads is not that impressive when you consider the number of iOS and Android users combined reach the hundreds of millions. Is there demand for BBM when users are flocking to more entertaining and open messaging platforms like WhatsApp, WeChat and Line? Perhaps. Or maybe people are just curious to try BBM to see what all the fuss is about.

But let’s look at the bigger picture. BlackBerry (previously Research in Motion) was once an industry leader. Just five years ago BlackBerry was in an enviable position, it was the fastest growing tech company, the most profitable, the most promising, and to think its most encouraging headline today is about the number of times one of its apps was downloaded — and those downloads doesn’t necessarily translate to active users mind — just tells us what a sad, sad state BlackBerry is in today.

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So what does it all mean? Get ready to say goodbye to what was once a truly great industry icon.