Maybe Research in Motion Ltd. has lost its dominance in the global market for smartphones, but its instant messaging service is still very popular worldwide.
But now even that advantage could be weakened, as worldwide sales of RIM BlackBerry lose vigor and reduce their efforts to promote the tool.
Teens are still loyal users of the BlackBerry Messenger, or BBM, because it’s fast, free and allows easy access to your contact list. The security professionals such as police, firefighters and ambulance drivers have come to depend on it as one of the forms of electronic communication more reliable. Today, more than 55 million people use BBM, more than 10 times the 5.3 million that was in January 2009, according to RIM.
In that same period, the share of RIM in the smartphone market in the United States has rushed for more than 50% to less than 10%, according to research firm IDC. As users opt for the iPhone, Apple Inc., and other phones that operate on the Android operating system, Google Inc., are also disappearing from the BBM contact list of friends.
Hadesman Kady, a BlackBerry user of 17 years, says she used to have over 100 contacts BBM, who sent messages frequently to discuss things at school and rumors. Now, laments: “My list (of contacts BBM) has been reduced to 26″. – WSJ Reports
Moreover, a collapse of three days the RIM network in much of the world last year shook confidence in the reliability of BBM. The service also faces a wide range of new rivals like Apple and IMessage popular messaging tools for independent developers, as WhatsApp, compatible with most devices.
But now it appears that efforts to bolster BBM are not the priority of the new CEO of RIM, Thorsten Heins, which is focused on the launch of a new model and operating system this year, according to sources familiar.
This is a significant shift compared to a couple of months ago, when the executive leadership of RIM trying to find a way to take advantage of the popularity of the BBM service, point these people.
These executives proposed a specific strategy for BBM which aimed to open the RIM network to other smartphone manufacturers and mobile operators and licensing BBM as a service that could be used in a wide variety of devices including iPhones and Android phones, reveal these sources. The project was named informally as “SMS 2.0″ in the company, they add.
While some in the company were concerned that their competitors license BBM further diminish the incentive to buy a BlackBerry, others saw the project as a driver of brand recognition that would help the company to remain relevant up to leave the new phone line.
But after two heavyweights of RIM, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, resign in January, Heins, their successor, closed the door to the BMM project, say the sources. The executive decided that RIM would not do any type of licensing agreement as a standard.”It was not a subject open to discussion,” says one source.
BBM will be integrated in the next 10 BlackBerry, but RIM has not disclosed any change to the service.
by Jay Thadeshwar, My Profile