updated 04:25 pm EST, Fri January 27, 2012
RIM CEO hints BBM may be open to iOS and Android
RIM's new CEO Thorsten Heins has continued his interviewing with hints the company might not be as closed to the possibility of BlackBerry Messenger on other mobile platforms as once thought. He told CrackBerry that he was still committed to the core BlackBerry platform and there weren't immediate plans, but that the company "should never rule this [possibility] out." The company did have staff exploring the possibility, but it would only go ahead if it was logical.
"We're constantly exploring our room to maneuver and our room to explore other businesses so I wouldn't say categorically no to it," Heins explained. "There is a time where this might make sense, and I have a team looking into this... I'm open for licensing if it makes sense."
The remarks are a sharp break from RIM's attitude in the past, where it considered BBM one of its most important advantages. Heins' attitude may be dictated by the modern reality of mobile communication, however, where BBM's features are no longer exclusive or even superior. iOS 5's iMessage both replicates much of the secure, end-to-end instant chat of BBM but isn't trapped to phones or even cellular networks, since a Wi-Fi iPod touch can participate just as easily as an iPhone.
Facebook Messenger, Google Messenger, and Kik also fulfill many of the same roles as BBM. Although not necessarily as secure, they're also not locked into any one platform. RIM's defensiveness surrounding BBM in the past was apparent when it sued Kik despite having celebrated the app just months earlier. The app developer and many critics interpreted this as a sign that RIM went on the attack only when it realized that Kik was helping users migrate to other platforms.