A Day Late And A Dollar Short
So RIM has decided that it is time to make Blackberry Messenger (BBM) cross platform. They announced yesterday that by this summer BBM will be available on iOS and Android.
The time to do this was in 2008/2009 when BBM was huge and everyone was on it. The core users were beginning to leave for iOS and eventually Android and if RIM would have let them take BBM with them, they would now own the biggest cross platform messenger out there. BBM is great and everyone knew how to use it and was comfortable with it.
But RIM execs waited four years to make this move. When BBM hits iOS and Android this summer, they will face dozens of cross platform apps that people use to message each other, one of which is in the USV portfolio. My bet is this won't help RIM or BBM much at this point.
This is a classic case of the innovator's dillemma. RIM felt that letting BBM out in the open would make it easier for Blackberry users to leave. So they kept it proprietary. For way too long. Now they no longer have a dominant smartphone franchise or a dominant mobile messenger franchise.
You cannot fight innovation and opening markets. You have to go with the flow and adapt to the new reality.