Former RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie reportedly wanted to open up BlackBerry services to others

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from Omaha, NE
Published: April 13, 2012

Jim Balsillie RIM

Former RIM co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis made waves back in January when they stepped down from their posts and were replaced by current CEO Thorsten Heins. Before Balsillie left his position as co-CEO, though, he was purportedly working on a major new strategy for the BlackBerry manufacturer. According to sources speaking to Reuters, Balsillie was in talks with several major carriers worldwide, including AT&T and Verizon here in the U.S., to let them use its proprietary network for service on non-BlackBerry products. The move purportedly would've allowed operators to use RIM's network for cheap data plans that would be limited to things like IM and social media and could entice feature phone users to make the jump to a smartphone. The pack of services would've also included BlackBerry Messenger, Reuters claims, allowing devices not bearing the BlackBerry name access to the IM service.

So what happened? Although RIM was apparently already hard at work on software that'd allow iOS and Android devices to use its service, the company's board vetoed the plans, instead opting to continue to focus on its upcoming BlackBerry 10 devices. That's kind of a bummer, as Balsillie's plan definitely sounds like an interesting one that could've provided RIM some extra revenue and opened up BBM, one of the features that keeps users coming back to BlackBerry handsets, to the iOS and Android crowds. Now we go back to waiting for BlackBerry 10 and the devices running it to arrive later this year to see what they can do for RIM. What do you all make of Balsillie's plan? Do you think it would've been a good idea for RIM to open up its network and services to non-BlackBerry devices?

Via The Verge, Reuters