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Grammy Award-winning singer Alicia Keys, who was named BlackBerry’s global creative director in January, announced the company’s new BlackBerry Scholars Program. The new initiative will begin this year and provide scholarships in science-based studies for students around the globe.

“I was inspired. I wanted to take this journey with BlackBerry,” Miss Keys said.

The scholarship program hopes to attract women, who Miss Keys said make up more than half of mobile users.

“It’s the beginning for a powerful network of women and a profound change in our culture,” she said.

Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Partners, said offering BBM on rival platforms is a good move because closed ecosystems don’t work anymore. He said the company was forced to do it but said it might be too late.

“BBM is a communication network, and it’s only as powerful as people who are on it,” Mr. Gillis said.

• Rob Gillies reported from Toronto.