Who knew that messaging apps were worth this much money? By now, we’ve all heard about the blockbuster deal where Facebook will be buying WhatsApp for an incredible $19 billion. When asked how he felt about that kind of situation, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said he would happily accept a similar deal for BlackBerry Messenger. Where that would leave BlackBerry itself is anyone’s guess.

Even though BlackBerry 10 offers WhatsApp itself, BlackBerry Messenger has also equally expanded beyond the BlackBerry platform onto other smartphones. Given this, it would not be completely unreasonably for Blackberry to sell off BBM to someone else. Chen says that he works “for the shareholder” and “if somebody comes to me with $19 billion, I would definitely sell it. I would recommend to the board to take it.”

To be fair, WhatsApp has a user base of over 450 million people. By comparison, BlackBerry Messenger has a user base of around 85 million people. If we were to take the same kind of valuation on a per-user basis, that would place BBM in the $3.4 billion. That’s a far cry from the $19 billion for WhatsApp, but cash in hand isn’t such a bad thing, especially if the rest of BlackBerry is struggling. They are putting a lot more energy behind BBM though, most recently stating that it’ll come to Windows Phone and to the Nokia X smartphones too.

The company certainly hasn’t given up on hardware yet, announcing the new BlackBerry Q20 and Z3 at MWC this week, but BlackBerry’s future could indeed be focused much more on software and infrastructure.

Check out the full CNBC interview embedded below.


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