To expand the messaging service’s reach it now runs on Microsoft’s mobile operating system

BlackBerry’s popular BBM messaging app is now available for Windows Phone 8 users.

The app can be downloaded from the Windows Phone store and is designed around the WinPhone interface. It joins versions for Android and iOS.

“The BBM app for Windows Phone shows our commitment to supporting cross-platform capabilities,” John Sims, president of BlackBerry’s global enterprise services, said in a statement, “and we are excited to be working with Microsoft to deliver a new level of collaboration to the Windows Phone platform.”

BlackBerry says some 85 million people subscribe to BBM for saving money on instant messaging. It also offers BBM Groups, where up to 50 people can be added to a conversation. BBM users connect to others using a PIN number rather than email address for confidentiality.

Users will need to set up a BlackBerry ID, which acts as a login to the application and also backs up contact lists.

BlackBerry is trying to monetize every asset it can, and has hopes to pull revenue from BBM as well. Its first effort is BBM Protected which adds more security to the service, one of a number of eBBM suite of services it will charge users for. So far BBM Protected is only available for BlackBerry handsets running  BB10. Support for the Android and iOS versions of BBM will come later this year. There is no word on if or when BBM Protected will be available for WinPhone 8.

BBM for WinPhone has three screens: Chat (for initiating conversations), Feeds (for new status of contacts ) and Contacts. Users can pin a chat to the Start screen so they can pick up a conversation directly.

According to IDC, last year sales of WinPhone handsets lept 90 per cent over 2012, powered by new smart phones from Nokia. BlackBerry sales fell 40 per cent compared to 2012.

According to quarterly figures released this week by IDC, the worldwide smart phone market grew just over 23 per cent in Q2 with shipments of 295,3 million handsets — a new single quarter record.

Smart phones from Samsung Electronics lead the parade, with 74.3 million units (25.2 per cent of sales) followed by Apple (35.1 million, or 11.9 per cent of sales), Huawei, Lenovo and LG.

 

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