If Research In Motion wants its smartphone platform to remain relevant, it’s going to need developers. A lot of developers.
Which is why suing popular messaging startup Kik wasn’t such a good idea. Kik was founded by Ted Livingston, who used to work on the BlackBerry Messenger team at RIM. When the company came out with a messaging app that is in many way similar to the highly popular BlackBerry Messenger, they sued the company and banned it from their app store.
This wasn’t just ineffective — since then Kik has gained millions of users and raised tons of money from top VCs like Union Square Ventures — it also turned off other developers who were thinking about developing for RIM’s platforms.
A Reuters report on RIM’s prospects (PDF) quotes other developers who were thinking about developing for RIM and then decided against it because of the lawsuit. Because the vast majority of developers are already focused on Apple and Google, an incident like this can have an outsized effect.