John Chen: BlackBerry may eventually consider spinning off or selling BBM

John Chen: BlackBerry may eventually consider spinning off or selling BBM

During the course of an interview with Bloomberg TV at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, BlackBerry CEO John Chen highlighted his company's renewed focus on its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service, especially after Facebook's recent acquisition of WhatsApp mobile messaging service.

Chen told Bloomberg TV that once the BBM service grows to a level at which it can offer more substantial challenge to rivals, BlackBerry would either think of spinning off the service or selling it.

BlackBerry's potential plans for its popular BBM service are largely rooted in the whopping $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook last week. Against the backdrop of the staggering WhatsApp acquisition, BlackBerry is apparently projecting a valuation of nearly $3.6 billion for BBM.

However, since the scale of BBM user base is one-fifth the size of WhatsApp user base, Chen told Bloomberg TV that BlackBerry is fully aware of the fact that it needs to not only build up the BBM user-base, but also "build up the innovation model."

Chen - who also unveiled a new encrypted BBM version, aimed at its core of security-minded customers - said that Facebook's WhatsApp acquisition does not change BlackBerry's strategy for BBM; but also added alongside: "The potential (for BBM) is going to be huge. Until we get to the point that we can showcase that potential it is a bit too early to think about getting our $19 billion."