BlackBerry Messenger iPhone and Android plans shelved


26 Mar 2012
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Research In Motion is having a tough time of it up in Waterloo at the moment. Marketshare is flagging, executives are on the way out, and its new operating system, BlackBerry 10, isn’t coming to the rescue until the end of the year. But one thing CEO Thorsten “Let’s Rock And Roll This” Heins won’t do? According to a new report: give away the secret sauce that is BlackBerry Messenger.

According to the Wall Street Journal’s sources today, Heins has put plans for a multi-platform BlackBerry Messenger chat application on the backburner, along with any suggestion that the company should licence out BlackBerry 10 to other manufacturers.

The report confirms rumours that had been swirling around for years that RIM was planning to put its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) application on rival smartphone platforms. Although it remains the mind-share leader in the space, it’s seen heated competition from rivals that work across platforms, including WhatsApp, Apple’s iMessage and Kik Messenger, the latter of which was founded by a former BBM employee (and later sued by RIM).

According to the Wall Street Journal, the strategy would have allowed other manufacturers and smartphone OS developers to license out BBM, in a project internally dubbed “SMS 2.0”. Clearly, Heins saw the plan as donating both of RIM’s kidneys, instead opting to focus on BlackBerry 10 and the corporate market.

According to the report, Heins “decided RIM shouldn’t pursue licensing deals in general. ‘It was not up for discussion,’ one person familiar with the matter said.”

So that’s that then. In the meantime, the market for cross-platform chat continues to grow: has RIM missed the boat on this one?

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