Facebook's little-loved email service isn't the only service getting shuttered, the social network has confirmed, with Facebook Messenger for Windows also facing the axe. Notifications in the Windows app have begun warning users that it will shut down as of March 3rd, though there's no indication of exactly why Facebook has made the decision.
BlackBerry's CEO has responded to the sudden interest in BBM, its secure messaging service, after Facebook's $19bn buy of WhatsApp, admitting that he'd be open to selling it off if the price was right. Valuations of just how much each BBM user might be worth surged in the aftermath of news that Facebook would pay around $42 per user for WhatsApp, as investors considered the idea that they may have been underestimating how important data-based messaging services could be.
BBM, BlackBerry's instant-messaging service, will arrive on Windows Phone over the summer, the Canadian company has confirmed, as it tries to further push the app as a cross-platform tool. The app - the Android version of which will also come preloaded on the new Nokia X line of smartphones, also announced today - will support the same functionality as its counterparts on BlackBerry 10, iOS, and Android, including BBM Voice.
BlackBerry has added stickers to BBM, in a further attempt to push the instant messaging service among teen users. Featuring in the freshly-launched BBM Shop, the stockers will be available in virtual packs of 20-25, and feature both new characters as well as some from popular TV and movie franchises.
WhatsApp users should ditch the instant messaging service else face privacy issues and potentially seeing new owner Facebook monetize them in intrusive ways, Germany's data protection commissioner has warned, with the country renewing its anti-Facebook stance amid the $19bn acquisition. Both Facebook and WhatsApp "refuse to comply with European and German data protection regulations" Thilo Weichert, of Germany's data privacy watchdog ULD, said of the deal. "Even the NSA access to communications data is facilitated by the purchase."
Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp has perhaps surprisingly given ailing BlackBerry a boost, as the Canadian company's share price jumped amid speculation that messaging service BBM could be worth more than previously believed. The Canadian firm's share price is up more than 5-percent today - and was up more than 9-percent in after-hours trading yesterday - as investors question whether BBM might be the undervalued star of BlackBerry's portfolio of services.
Facebook's $19bn offer for WhatsApp was one of a number of big-figure acquisition attempts, with Google reportedly offering $10bn for the messaging service. Facebook's deal - which sees WhatsApp valued at $2bn more than NASA's 2014 budget - was one of a number of possibilities, it's reported, which WhatsApp had to consider.
Skype rival Viber has been bought by Rakuten, the rapidly growing Japanese internet commerce firm, in a $900m deal that will see it push the call and messaging service as a social gaming platform. Rakuten, which already owns online retailer Play.com, ebook platform Kobo, and digital mobile content platform Viki, aims to transform Viber - which already has around 300m registered users - into a communications gateway for its other services, such as contacting online retailers with questions before a purchase is made.
BlackBerry has rolled out an update to BBM for iPhone and Android, adding in BBM Voice for making calls, and enabling BBM Channels, among other new features. The update, available today, sees BlackBerry's cross-platform messaging client also add in Dropbox support, allowing files stored in the cloud to be sent directly to a BBM contact without having to download it to the smartphone first.