RIM’s recently-resigned co-CEO and board member, Jim Balsillie, reportedly wanted to open up certain BlackBerry services to other platforms such as iOS… specifically, BlackBerry Messenger. His idea was that opening the technology could help break the logjam that kept BlackBerry behind Android and iOS, and could allow carriers a chance to offer alternative messaging plans for BB as well. Unfortunately, the idea got K-Lined by other RIM higher-ups for being too wild and crazy (an attitude that could also be blamed for their trailing behind iOS and Android in the first place). Interestingly, Reuters suggests this is why Balsillie left (because the Hindenburg-like performance of the PlayBook certainly couldn’t have been the reason, right?).
Without taking a new and bold step into how BlackBerry software and its proprietary functionality works, RIM is in the position where they’ll rescue the company’s fortunes only by putting out a truly great, truly revolutionary product:[quote]The veto leaves RIM’s focus squarely on a new generation of BlackBerry gadgets it promises will wow consumers. The devices will have to do just that, analysts say, to arrest the precipitous decline in market share suffered by RIM, the company that virtually invented mobile email more than a decade ago.[/quote]
Apple’s own iMessage creates an even more narrow aperture through which competitors have to fit; its system-level integration and free service among other iOS devices (of which there are plenty more in the wild than there are RIM devices) means adoption of BlackBerry Messenger may have been slow and reluctant at best. Regardless, with Balsillie gone and RIM execs firmly against his idea, we’ll never know.