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BlackBerry is trying a new way to make money from Messenger

BlackBerry has opened up its secure Messenger software for app developers as it looks to generate money from its legacy technology.

The BBM Enterprise software development kit (SDK) will allow developers to integrate secure messaging, voice and voice calls, file sharing and push notifications into apps they make.

BBM stands for BlackBerry Messenger, the company's popular consumer messaging app. BlackBerry is hoping to use the intellectual property and technology developed for this and sell it to enterprises.

The Canadian firm stopped making smartphones last year and instead license its intellectual property to partners wishing to make BlackBerry-branded hardware. Chinese company TCL has acquired the licenses for the BlackBerry brand. The move continued CEO John Chen's path of turning BlackBerry into a software-only company.

Releasing the BBM Enterprise SDK is another step on this journey as it looks for new revenue streams.

"We are constantly innovating and looking for ways to leverage our legacy and expertise in secure mobility to solve real business problems," Marty Beard, chief operating officer at BlackBerry, said in a press release on Tuesday.

BlackBerry's move puts it in direct competition with the likes of Twilio, which recently went public, and offers a similar platform for businesses.

But BlackBerry will be hoping to attract customers based on its history in the security space, describing the BBM SDK as having "enterprise-grade" protection. The company said it already has a pipeline of businesses ready to use the SDK in industries such as healthcare, law enforcement, and financial services. BlackBerry already offers BBM to consumers via the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store but has not released recent figures as to how many people are using the service.