They’ll give up their BlackBerrys, but only when the company ceases to exist.

That’s the sentiment of three BlackBerry phone owners in Bermuda as there is speculation the firm may discontinue making its phone after the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reported the Canadian company is spinning off BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) as a separate business.

BlackBerry had previously announced it would be making Messenger available on other phones. The move would devalue its own phone as one of the main reasons people purchase a BlackBerry. 

“We have announced our plans to offer this trusted mobile messaging service to iPhone and Android users sometime this summer,” a BlackBerry spokeswoman told the WSJ. “We have made no further announcements.”

This comes after earlier in August BlackBerry said it was “seeking strategic alternatives” as it continues to lose share in the mobile phone market.

Mark O’Connor, manager at Bermuda Bistro at the Beach, told the Bermuda Sun he’s a loyal BlackBerry customer and even if Messenger is available on other phones, he is not going to switch. 

“I’ve always had a Blackberry. I’m comfortable using a Blackberry and like the way it works. I’m about to buy the new Q10 and I don’t like touchscreens at all.”

He prefers the Messenger system to other chat apps that are available.

“It’s one of the best around,” Mr O’Connor said. “I see it’s going to be available as an app to everyone, that Blackberry will keep alive, in a way, but it won’t influence me into buying another type of phone.”

He said two other reasons to keep buying a BlackBerry is the screens don’t break as often as iPhones do and the battery life seems to last longer.

Marcia Samantha Shurry, a small business entrepreneur, told us “BlackBerry is my phone of choice and as long as they keep updating their IOS and system services, I am going to be a customer for as long as they are on the market.

“I have not had an iPhone or android, but from what I know and have seen, many people who have such phone are more likely to transition back to BB after a while especially with the new BB Q10 and Z10.

“The fact that they are going to put the messenger on androids and iPhone, however, is a nice transition into the mobile world, because that means I can also (hopefully) be able to now connect via messenger with friends who do not have a BB.”

Roderick Spencer, owner of Three Graces Spa, said having BBM available on other types of phones won’t make him give up his BlackBerry.

Mr Spencer said he would “probably” purchase a BlackBerry phone next time because “the reason I use it is because of data compression. When I travel my roaming costs are much lower and my bill is much lower. I have five e-mail accounts on my phone so I’m constantly getting e-mails with attachments. I’m saving on the data running it through the BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) server. I use a small percentage of data compared to Androids and iPhones. 

“When you get a one meg e-mail on an iPhone you pay for one meg of data; I get a one meg e-mail I pay for 15 to 20 per cent of that meg.”