Did RIM shelve an idea to license BBM to competitors, carriers?

According to a new report, Research In Motion instead decided to focus its efforts on a new phone and BlackBerry 10.

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins.
RIM CEO Thorsten Heins. RIM

Research In Motion had at least considered licensing BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) before its chief executive Thorsten Heins shifted focus, according to a new report.

Late last year and early into 2012, RIM's executives were drawing up plans to make BBM available for licensing to device makers and carriers, the Wall Street Journal is reporting today, citing sources. According to the publication, the platform was to be called "SMS 2.0," and would work on both Android and iOS.

To help make that push, RIM last year acquired messaging firm LiveProfile, according to the Journal's sources. The move was approved by former co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, who reportedly believed licensing the software would enhance RIM's chances of competing more effectively in the marketplace.

RIM certainly needed something. The BlackBerry maker has watched its smartphone shipments plummet over the last several quarters, and investors are dumping their stakes for fear of going down with the ship. Through it all, though, RIM has stayed on message, saying that it has what it takes to succeed once again in the marketplace.

When Heins became RIM's chief executive this year, he decided to ditch plans to license BBM, according to the Journal's sources. He instead wanted to realign the company's focus around new devices and BlackBerry 10.

That reportedly wasn't the only idea Heins shelved. Last month, Reuters reported that Balsillie was working on a plan prior to his departure that would have opened RIM's network up to carriers . The plan would have given RIM a new revenue stream and reduced its reliance upon smartphone sales, Balsillie reportedly argued at the time. Soon after, Heins decided against the idea.

CNET has contacted RIM for comment on the Journal's report. We will update this story when we have more information.

 

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