Facebook Messenger Soars in Popularity; Added Trouble for RIM?

 @ibtimes on August 10 2011 10:48 AM

That didn't take long.

Facebook launched its standalone Messenger app on Tuesday afternoon and immediately it has vaulted to the top of Apple's iPhone app store in terms of popularity. The app is already the most downloaded free app on the app store. It has received more than 900 reviews, most of which have been positive.

"I rarely write reviews but had to post a 5 star for this app. Simple to use and works like a charm. Exactly what we need to stop them from charging $20 for texting," Keerthi Manthati wrote in a review.

The app's popularity could have a damaging impact on several competitors. Pinger's Textfree,  Enflick's TextNow, WhatsApp, textPlus and iLegendSoft's Chat for Facebook are just a few of the apps that populate the crowded space.

The more established services, like Apple's iMessage, Google Talk and Research in Motion's Blackberry Messenger also could be affected. With its quick rise in popularity, Facebook Messenger may have just put all of these services on notice.

More competition is the last thing RIM's Blackberry needs. The company's BBM service was one of the last remaining popular things it had going. In the past year iMessage, Google Talk and now Facebook Messenger have entered the fray as serious alternatives to BBM.

Already the brand has struggled as it continually gets passed over by the iPhone and Google Android phones as the consumer smartphone of choice. According to Gartner and other research firms, RIM's market share has continually declined over the past year.

Analysts have seemingly lost all faith in the company. Even after RIM announced a set of new "superphones" that will run on the company's BlackBerry 7 operating system, the company's stock still slid. Eric Jackson, manager of Ironfire Capital, put it best when describing the tech industry's overall thoughts on RIM.

"It's a bad software company. They're not going to change their stripes over night," Jackson said to Business Insider. He added, the company has "Bad cofounders, and they're going to drive this company straight into the ground."

Jackson even said he thought the company will be put out of its misery in 2013 and get bought out. In a note, Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek expressed a similar sentiment.

"RIM management has referred to their QNX phones as "superphones," but we find these specs uncompelling," Misek wrote. "We see this as nothing more than ditching features, functionality and performance in an attempt to adhere to a Q1 launch commitment to carriers and partners."

The Facebook messenger app comes with group messenging and comes with a map function. If you are making plans with someone, they can easily find you on a map.

Follow Gabriel Perna on Twitter at @GabrielSPerna

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