BlackBerry Messenger's scattered design and basic features keep it behind the competition.
The acquisition will give BlackBerry access to more corporations and government agencies that use AtHoc's crisis communications software.
The struggling phone maker may turn to Google's mobile operating system for an upcoming "slider" phone, reports Reuters.
The new version of the messaging app -- which works on BlackBerry, Android and iOS -- has an unsend feature. It also pulls a Snapchat by letting users send vanishing messages.
Hint: It's not about smartphone sales volume or market share.
The move is part of the company's evolution into a software business, which includes working with every major operating system.
The app is in private beta mode, which means it's not yet available to the general Windows Phone public. But that will change soon.
The BlackBerry Classic smartphone is now available in India, an emerging market that carries strong sales potential for the smartphone maker.
BlackBerry says it has not engaged in discussions with Samsung, while Samsung called the report "groundless."
An expansion into China could put BlackBerry's security reputation at risk, John Chen tells Reuters.