Balsillie quit BlackBerry over nixed BBM plan: report

Former BlackBerry co-CEO Jim Balsille says his departure from the company was prompted by its decision to cancel the cross-platform rollout of the BlackBerry Messenger to other devices, according to a new report.

Former BlackBerry co-CEO Jim Balsillie makes first public comment about leaving the company

Former BlackBerry co-CEO Jim Balsille says his departure from the companyin 2012 was prompted by its decision to cancel the cross-platform rollout of the BlackBerry Messenger to other devices, according to a new report. 

Balsillie had hoped the messenger service would replace standard text messaging (SMS), allowing anyone with any device to use the messenger for a fee, increasing BlackBerry's profit, the Globe and Mail reported on Saturday. 

Balsillie continued to develop this idea up until he resigned from RIM – as BlackBerry was known at the time – in 2012, pitching the SMS 2.0 platform to major carriers like AT&T, according to the report. 

It states that when Thorsten Heins was named BlackBerry's new CEO, he killed the program, with support from co-founder Michael Lazaridis.

"My reason for leaving the RIM board in March, 2012, was due to the company's' decision to cancel the BBM cross-platform strategy," Balsillie said in a statement to the Globe and Mail. 

Asked why he ditched SMS 2.0, Heins said in an e-mailed response to the Globe and Mail: “There are so many [instant messaging] alternatives in the marketplace that we wanted to be careful to launch only when we felt we could clearly differentiate our offering.”

BlackBerry was due to launch a BBM app for Android and iPhone users last weekend, a plan that has been put on hold because a leaked version of the Android app emerged.


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