BlackBerry has had more than its share of struggles the past few years, but its plan to bring BlackBerry Messenger to iOS and Android was a notable bright spot of news for the company. However, now that BBM's launch on other platforms is imminent (BlackBerry said it would be available this summer, and well, the days are running out), The Wall Street Journal reports that BlackBerry plans to break out the service from its main business and allow it to operate more independently.
BlackBerry has been considering sales of its assets for years, though it just recently announced that a special committee has been formed to evaluate a sale of the company. While it would make sense for BlackBerry to separate its consumer and enterprise businesses, it seems a bit odd to just spin off the BBM service and platform. Allegedly, the newly formed subsidiary would be called BBM Inc., and the WSJ says that BlackBerry could use it as an example of a valuable asset to potential suitors. Interestingly, the WSJ cites sources that claim that a multi-platform version of BBM was available internally as far back as three years ago, and that the company also developed a desktop-compatible version of it but decided not to release it.
It's not exactly clear how an independently-run BBM would function, but it could follow the business models set forth by WhatsApp, Kik, Line, Google Hangouts, and the multitude of other messaging platforms in use today.