At its Live 2013 conference last week, BlackBerry finally announced what was being rumored for a long time. The ailing Canadian manufacturing is officially opening up its iconic BlackBerry Messenger service to rival platforms iOS and Android. BBM will be released for these platforms, without tablet support that is, over the next couple of months. BlackBerry founder and ex-CEO Mike Lazaridis has high hopes that BBM will outperform its rivals on these platforms.

BBM’s eroding user base was linked to the popularity of free cross platform messaging services such as WhatsApp and Viber, both of which are available for its own platform as well. While these services are available for almost every mobile platform, BBM up till now has always been exclusive to BlackBerry. Though even with the company’s user base of around 70 million, BBM is still very popular, as it sees some 10 billion messages being sent each day. Mike Lazaridis said that “BBM is by far the most compelling wireless experience and wireless social-networking environment.” From the looks of it, they’re all set to give popular cross platform messaging services a run for their money. If BBM on iOS and Android does bring features such as video calling and screen share, then it definitely has a change of trumping its rivals.

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