BlackBerry Messenger hits key milestone, still can't compete with WhatsApp

BlackBerry has announced 100 million downloads of BlackBerry Messenger in the Google Play store, a huge milestone that puts the overall downloads at around 150 million including iOS.

The messaging service was announced for iOS and Android over a year ago, moving away from the “BlackBerry only” mantra under the previous leadership of Thorsten Heins into cross-platform experiences.

It is still a far way from defeating the current leader in messaging WhatsApp with 700 million active users and 1 billion downloads, or even some of the Asian services like WeChat and LINE, both with over 300 million active users.

BlackBerry has partnered with Samsung in Africa to push BBM further, alongside having several smartphone makers in the Asian and African regions pre-load devices with BBM.

There were rumours last year that BlackBerry would spin-off BBM as a separate company, alongside some of its other software and services. This would leave the hardware and enterprise division, which was supposed to be swooped up by a buyer.

Something went wrong however, forcing BlackBerry to keep BBM on the company’s portfolio. Investors worry that the lack of sales on the consumer-end could overshadow the strong networking and services performance.