RIM co-founder Balsillie looked to trigger 'radical shift in strategy' before departure

BlackBerry boss ignored

RIM co-founder Balsillie looked to trigger 'radical shift in strategy' before departure
In his first conference call as CEO, Thorsten Heins stated unequivocally that "substantial change" was what RIM needed.

However, it's now being suggested an attempt to revolutionise a part of RIM's business by former co-CEO Jim Balsillie was rejected by the company in his final days, with the firm instead focusing on its forthcoming BlackBerry 10 range.

That's according to Reuters, which reports Balsillie planned to allow US and European carriers to use RIM's proprietary network to provide cheap data plans for non-BlackBerry devices.


The strategy would have seen carriers offering inexpensive contracts designed to entice feature phone users into smartphone upgrades.

These contracts would have included access to social networking sites, as well as RIM's own BlackBerry Messenger platform through the company's network.

It would have represented a completed departure from the company's previous approach, but Reuters sources claim Balsillie was already in talks with a number of networks, and RIM had itself developed the software to deliver limited data plans to iOS and Android users.

Like a lead balloon

But the plans seemingly generated a great deal of tension at RIM, and Heins - backed by the board and Balsillie's co-CEO Mike Lazaridis - rejected them.

Shortly afterwards, Balsillie and Lazaridis stepped down as co-CEOs, with Balsillie leaving the company altogether in March.

It's notable that, though RIM's hardware business is ailing, Balsillie's strategy was designed to exploit not the firm's hardware or operating systems, but rather is network, which remains a high-margin operation generating around $1 billion per quarter for the company.

For his part, Heins has instead vowed to refocus RIM's operations in the enterprise sector, even openly raising the prospect of selling the company off if its situation does not improve.

[source: Reuters]
Staff Writer's news editor 2012-2013