Goodbye Blackberry, Finally!

Some notes from my working with RIM and Microsoft mobile platforms!

Dec 31, 2021 4 min read

Some notes from my working with RIM and Microsoft mobile platforms!

image Courtsey

Finally, the end of the era for Blackberry legacy devices was once loved by many of us, on Jan 4, 2022.

No longer significant but this news makes me nostalgic — recalling my interaction with RIM (and also Microsoft mobile platforms), and witnessing their downfall.

There are many reasons why both RIM and Microsoft mobile failed, but one thing that comes to mind based on my interaction with them is, they completely ignored App developers and end customers and instead preferred their enterprise ties. RIM at the peak of their success, and Microsoft with their infinite resources were possibly not desperate for success at that time, and that’s where they failed to sense what was coming, and what their consumers wanted.

Two examples, from the first-hand experience I have with both!

My previous venture (TringMe) was the company that gave Blackberry its first VoIP (GigaOM, ZDNet, BBC). TringMe was then used by 16 million blackberry users (which was quite high in 2010–11), says how badly users wanted the app which RIM was never interested in offering (and even suppressing) because that could potentially upset their tie with mobile operators.

As Om Malik wrote at that time when we launched first-ever VoIP app for Blackberry, reflects what customers really wanted that RIM didn’t want to offer

If there was one app I’ve desperately wanted on my T-Mobile BlackBerry Bold (s rimm), it was a good mobile VoIP client that allows me to make and receive calls over Wi-Fi and 3G connections.

TringMe VoIP app was loved by users but RIM didn’t want to add it to their blackberry world app store, completely ignoring what their customers want and protecting their ties.


2010, when Microsoft launched Windows Phone, and in 2011, Microsoft bought Skype. Unlike RIM, Microsoft was high on VoIP and also aware of TringMe’s success with Blackberry VoIP. They sent us a Windows phone (made by LG), and I was invited for a discussion with a Vice President (forgot the name) reporting to Steve Balmer at that time about developing the mobile VOIP for WP7.

While we were excited, we soon realized that it is not possible to develop mobile VoIP on WP7 using their public SDK. We also realized that Microsoft also has a native SDK which they only provided to two companies, for the rest of us they only wanted to use the public SDK. This was absurd, Microsoft was helping some companies to write better apps by providing special access and then asking us to write the same app with limited SDK, so in Dec 2011, I wrote to Microsoft about this and requested native SDK access,

we don’t want to come across as an application that performs badly when compared to others like xyz (name removed) just because the advantage they have of writing native C++ code with help of Microsoft

Microsoft remained reluctant and asked us to wait for “Early Technology Adoption Program will begin sometime around March-April”. Well, we abandoned the program instead, and no regrets.

However, even today I am clueless why Microsoft wanted to give preferential treatment to some app developers and not to others when good apps could have only helped their newly launch Windows Phone. It even puzzles me more being part of mesibo, one of the most popular real-time communication platforms, and we never differentiate between companies using our SDKs, from a student to fortune 500 companies using our platform, our SDKs remain the same for all.

It was possibly something to do with Skype they just acquired then and another company they invested in, but in the end, it shows how both companies failed to sense changing market dynamics, apps model, remained engrossed in their ‘strategies’ & ties that didn’t help them survive.

RIP Blackberry!