Hello BBM fans! It has been a couple of months since we announced the strategic alliance between Emtek and BlackBerry. We are still busy with the transition, but all is going well, and we’re very excited about what the future holds for BBM.
Some recent news coverage about the licensing agreement has inspired me to respond to set the record straight. Specifically, I want to clarify two misunderstandings.
First, there has been some confusion about the terms of the deal, which has been reported to be worth US$207.5 million over six years. This has given the impression that this partnership will end after six years, which is not the case.
Let me assure you that Emtek and BlackBerry have engaged in a long-term partnership. Both companies see significant opportunity to grow the consumer BBM business not just in Indonesia, but also globally. Emtek is excited to invest in the research and development required to bring more content and services to BBM, making it the most useful app on your smartphone. Notably, we just launched no-fee pulsa airtime top-up, vouchers and other payment capabilities via BBM Checkout, and are partnering with NEOWIZ GAMES Corp. to bring you the new BBM Game Center.
We have formed a new company, a subsidiary of Emtek’s digital content arm KMK Online to operate as BBM. We have established an office in the Toronto area so that we can work closely with BlackBerry. We have teams operating from Waterloo, Mississauga, and Ottawa in Canada, as well as Singapore, Jakarta, UAE, UK and South Africa. The fact that we are hiring in various locations so we can improve BBM faster is further proof of our commitment to making that happen. We certainly do not plan to walk away after just a few years.
Second, some media outlets reported that BBM is 100% owned by Indonesia. While it’s true that Emtek has licensed the BBM software and intellectual property (IP), and will operate the platform globally and develop it for the consumer market, BlackBerry will continue to advance the platform for enterprise with BBM Protected.
We are energized by this long-term partnership. BBM is the most popular messaging application in Indonesia. Now we have the chance to build it up as a mobile platform that will empower e-commerce and other businesses. Many small businesses in Indonesia use BBM to keep in touch with their customers. Once we add payment capabilities, the sky is the limit. BBM will become an even more useful tool for offline merchants like restaurants and hospitals, allowing them to handle appointments, reservations, payments and a lot of other things.
Having BBM at the center of the mobile world makes a lot of sense. Our vision is to help consumers connect to each other and to merchants, but also to combine the data warehouse and simultaneously enhance the app’s artificial intelligence (AI) capability to better serve content to BBM users. This is about creating a mobile ecosystem. That won’t happen overnight, which is why we’re committed for the long term.