Jim Balsillie wanted to open up BBM to rival devices

Apr 13, 2012
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Ex co-CEO of RIM, Jim Balsillie, was reportedly in talks with various mobile carriers across the world in order to allow rival phones to be able to connect to BlackBerry services. Sources speaking to Reuters say that Balsillie was in talks with AT&T and Verizon in the United States, as well as Vodafone, Telefonica, France Telecom, and Deutsche Telekom in Europe.

It would have marked a drastic change for the company, who so far have stuck hard and fast to the singular BlackBerry handset, OS, and services vision. The plan would have allowed carriers to offer cheaper data tariffs that would only allow access to select social networking platforms. BlackBerry Messenger, however, would be included, letting devices other than BlackBerrys connect to the platform.

The proposed shift didn’t go down well with others at the company, not to mention investors, which led to Balsillie’s resignation as co-CEO in January. Carriers, however, were interested in the plan, knowing that customers would be enticed away from featurephones and make the jump to entry level smartphones.

The plan would have relied on RIM’s private network, with the possibility that it wouldn’t be able to cope under the additional strain. It famously crashed last year, leaving millions of BlackBerry users without service. Ultimately the plans were vetoed, and RIM has decided to double down on its BlackBerry 10 strategy. Those devices aren’t expected to hit the market until later this year.

[via The Next Web]


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