Report: RIM's Balsillie pitched cheap, global data service for Android, iPhone

According to a Reuters report, Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) former Co-CEO Jim Balsillie pushed for a potentially groundbreaking shift in the company's strategy--one where RIM would provide inexpensive data and texting services to Android phones and iPhones using its proprietary network. According to the article, this occurred before Thorsten Heins took over as CEO and refocused the company on its BlackBerry 10 platform.

RIM Jim Balsillie BlackBerry


The Reuters report, which cited two unnamed sources with knowledge of the plans, said Balsillie's efforts caused friction at the company, eventually leading to Balsillie's ouster. Balsillie resigned as a director of RIM's board late last month, after stepping down as co-CEO earlier this year.

Balsillie's plan would have made use of the global data network RIM built to support the delivery of email to its BlackBerry devices. According to Reuters, Balsillie wanted to use the network to offer low-cost data and messaging services--including its BlackBerry Messenger offering--to Android phones and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone. Balsillie shopped the plan to various global carriers including Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), according to Reuters.

Interestingly, RIM has implemented a variation of this plan with its Mobile Fusion product, which allows businesses to connect Android and iPhone devices to RIM's BlackBerry Enterprise Service servers.

Though Balsillie's efforts were presumably unsuccessful, RIM's new CEO Heins appears determined to leave no stone unturned in RIM's attempts to rejuvenate its business. He announced late last month that he would consider all strategic options--including licensing RIM's BlackBerry 10 platform, forming joint ventures or partnerships, or an outright sale of the company--as RIM works to release BlackBerry 10 phones later this year.

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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