Ex-RIM CEO Jim Basillie had a radical plan in store that could have been enough to resuscitate the flat-lining company. But it seems that idea — one that would put the BlackBerry network on major carriers and devices around the world — was seen as so drastic that it caused enough conflict at the top for Basillie to cut all his ties with the company.
Basillie hoped to allow major wireless companies in North America and europe to provide service for non-BlackBerry devices routed through RIM’s proprietary network… [it] would have let carriers use the RIM network to offer inexpensive data plans, limited to social media and instant messaging, to entice low-tier customers to upgrade from no-frills phones to smartphones.
That would take the pressure off of RIM devices, which consumers are steadily losing interest in and put its network on, for example, iOS and Android devices. Meaning, BBM could be available on non-BlackBerry devices. Considering how unreliable iMessage is, this would be quite enticing. The move would have been in line with advice given to the Canadian company from analysts — sell the off your hardware arm and focus on the software.
So now the pressure is on the BlackBerry 10 launch. Rather than jumping onboard with Basillie, execs opted to put all their eggs in the next-generation line of devices.
The former CEO, who had been with the company since its start in 1985, was doing the legwork to make this happen, talking up big-wigs from Verizon and AT&T in the US, as well as Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom AG (which owns T-Mobile), two French and one Canadian carrier.
Mike Lazaridis and newly-appointed CEO Thorsten Heins vetoed Basillie’s plan, and it was enough for Basillie to walk away from the company, but hopefully, not a nail in the coffin for RIM. [Reuters]