One half of RIM's former co-CEO pairing, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, is today reported to have actively pursued a strategy of "radical" change for RIM in the days and months preceding his resignation as CEO. According to Reuters, RIM was engaged in negotiations with carriers around the globe — Balsillie is believed to have personally conducted talks with AT&T, Verizon, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, and others — about potentially allowing them use of its proprietary network for the provision of services on non-BlackBerry devices. RIM's network is a cornerstone of its service offering, compressing and encrypting data before it is sent out to devices, and also a major source of revenue since it charges carriers on a per-user basis.
The envisioned benefit for mobile operators in expanding network access to non-BlackBerry devices would have been the ability to offer cheaper entry-level tariffs to users who didn't mind having their web access limited to select social networking outlets. Moreover, Reuters states that "the package would have included RIM's BlackBerry Messenger application," expanding its mobile reach beyond the BlackBerry device range for the first time and adding a major allure to the mooted service. Negotiations, however, evidently didn't pan out as well as all parties had hoped and their development ultimately led to "discord at the highest levels of the troubled Canadian company." Jim Balsillie's departure from the co-CEO position is said to have been the direct result of the rift that grew during that failed attempt at refashioning the company into a service-centric operation. Now, everything is coming down to BlackBerry 10 and the devices that will carry it. Best of luck, Thorsten!