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From Instant Messaging to Private Social Networks

Annie Mathew
Director, Alliances and Business Development -BlackBerry India
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Annie Mathew
BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY) is a provider of mobile communication devices. Founded in 1999, the company is headquartered in Waterloo, Canada and has a current market cap of $4.72 billion.

Let’s start with a hard fact – SMS revenues have fallen since the emergence of instant messaging. SMS growth rates fell from 14 percent in 2011 to 8 percent in 2013. After 2013, mobile broadband revenues will form the bulk of operators’ non-voice revenues. 2013 will be the last year that SMS brings in the largest proportion of non-voice revenues, and by 2015 SMS revenues will begin to plateau. This recent survey by Ovum forecasts that social messaging cannibalization of SMS revenues will grow from $32.6 billion in 2013 to over $86.0 billion in 2020.


Now, as it is established that Instant Messaging is here to stay, the more interesting part is to know how it will evolve in the future. We are likely to see growth and changes in various forms in the Instant Messaging (IM) place. On the one hand, IMs will need to be more aware and secure; on the other they will see a deeper integration with other applications in devices, while adding on to their own feature sets.


Starting with privacy, most IMs in the marketplace are flying under the radar as far as privacy is concerned. Sharing of phonebooks is common fair and getting unwanted messages is one of the biggest problems. While this seems like a logical extension of the SMS, it also promotes one of the biggest drawbacks seen with the service – spam messages free of cost. We would see customers opting for networks that would give them greater control and limit the spam that they are getting on their phones.


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