Research In Motion reportedly axed BlackBerry Messenger for iOS and Android
Rumors of Reseach In Motion's iconic BlackBerry Messenger app wriggling its way over to iPhone may be coming to an end. Anonymous sources have claimed that new CEO Thorsten Heins shut down the idea of licensing BlackBerry Messenger to carriers and manufacturers as soon as he stepped in, and was actually against RIM doing any kind of licensing at all. Apparently the issue was "not up for discussion", according to the source. It's unfortunate that he made that call early on, considering he openly admitted to looking into licensing deals during the last quarterly conference call. Ex co-CEO Jim Balsillie was previously rumored to champion BBM on other platforms, a project which new sources claimed was called SMS 2.0 internally. They had even acquired a small company called LiveProfile to work on it.
Now, we already know that iMessage and BBM are pretty comparable, and there are plenty of cross-platform instant messaging apps available, so it's really unclear what problem BlackBerry Messenger can really fix. Adoption is still pretty high according to RIM, but unless they can stem their dwindling smartphone market share, it's not going to count for much.
Right now, RIM's survival hinges on BlackBerry 10, but I somehow doubt they're going to be doing anything mind-blowing with BBM when it comes out in the fall. Would BBM on iOS have helped save RIM at all, or is the market saturated with instant messengers as is and Heins was smart to save on development costs? Keep in mind that most of RIM's revenue is from devices these days, though they may need to pivot towards services if things keep going the way they are. Do you still have friends that use BBM, and if so, how much would you be willing to pay to keep in touch with them? How do you do most of your instant messaging?