UPDATED. RIM has apparently told BGR that the original basis for this story is a hoax. We’ve yet to hear back from RIM ourselves, but we’ll update once we do. The site still maintains that BBM on iPhone is a possibility in the future.
UPDATE 2: RIM has confirmed with us directly that Balsillie didn’t speak at an event, nor was an event held. The company made no comment regarding BBM on the iPhone or any other platform.
Early this month, BGR reported that RIM (s rimm) was considering opening up its Blackberry Messenger (s bbm) service to other platforms, including iOS (s aapl) and Android(s goog). Today, a report claims that RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie revealed that BBM would indeed be coming to iPhone on April 26, along with “other services.”
The report comes from an attendee at a RIM social media conference held in Toronto on Tuesday, at which Balsillie spoke. Balsillie said that a BBM app would be available through the App Store beginning April 26, and though he mentioned “other services,” no specifics were mentioned. He apparently went on to note that the BBM app would also be updated in the summer to “take advantage of a new ‘notification system’.” A revamped notification system is something many have been looking forward to as a possible part of iOS 5.
There are a couple of things to consider regarding this report. First, would BlackBerry really reveal this at a conference aimed at students? Balsillie is known to be a bit of a maverick, even within the company, so I actually don’t doubt the possibility that he could have genuinely let this news slip. I also heard from a RIM conference (also in Toronto) attendee that the Playbook would lack native email support at launch long before that detail became official, so RIM is not averse to letting the cat out of the bag at these types of events.
Many also suggest that RIM has nothing to gain by opening up BBM to other platforms. On the contrary, RIM has nothing to lose by offering it in other app stores. Now that future Android app support is confirmed for the Playbook, RIM definitely gains by making BBM available to that platform, but even opening up to iPhone makes sense, since all it accomplishes by keeping its own network closed is chasing potential revenue toward competitors like Kik. Users will likely be willing to pay for BBM access, and the service alone isn’t enough to turn the heads of BlackBerry users who seriously want to switch platforms.
What do you think? Will we see BBM go cross-platform April 26? And if it does, are you buying?