Last Friday we wrote a blog post that basically said this: as a small start up with limited resources we now had to focus solely on iPhone and Android, and we would no longer update our BlackBerry app unless BB10 was a huge hit. We said this because BlackBerry is essentially irrelevant now in terms of new YouMail customers (which we backed up with a “sign ups/day” chart that actually follows pretty closely the decline in US BlackBerry share documented elsewhere).
We did this simply because we wanted subscribers to understand what we were doing and why – and to let them know we actually spent a lot of time and money to really improve the YouMail BlackBerry app so it would be in really great shape for them. There was no dancing on RIM’s grave, and it was a really hard decision, especially given that our CTO and several board members are heavy BlackBerry users.
Our decision became big news, covered by CNN, Business Week, and even our local paper – the Los Angeles Times, among others. And lots of discussion on twitter and in comments on the various articles.
This surprised us, as Instagram just became a billion dollar company building solely on the iPhone, and the list of iPhone/Android only apps is in the hundreds of thousands. Plus, we’re US only and most of RIM’s success seems to be international, so we didn’t see ourselves as the canary in the coal mine.
But even more surprising was that, despite RIM having 40,000 plus developers and adding 50+ new developers every day, a senior RIM executive slammed us, basically saying we’re not getting new BlackBerry users because we’re in the wrong business, we should have pivoted to something else, and we should now “hang up our spurs”.
Well, we are firm believers that everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts. So here are the facts:
- YouMail has over 2.5 million registered subscribers, and we are organically growing now at over 10% each month.
- We reach way over 15 million people every month – well over 7.5% of the US adult population interacts with YouMail in some form in a given month.
- We have over 50 million calls/month hitting our platform (and we’re approaching having handled two billion calls since we started).
- Less than 1% of our new accounts on a monthly basis are now on BlackBerries.
And here’s our opinion: we’re seeing this success because YouMail improves on visual voicemail in the same way Gmail improves on the e-mail client hardwired onto most smart phones. So there’s a big opportunity for us to improve life for a whole bunch of people. That’s means we’re not slinking off into the sunset. And with our ability now to focus more on iPhone and Android, we think our apps on those platforms are going to rapidly improve, and we’ll likely start growing even faster.
To everyone at RIM – no hard feelings. Seriously. You guys were hugely supportive in featuring us in App World and getting us going, and we still have quite a few BlackBerry users. And we really are rooting for you! So can we stay friends? After all, it’s not you, it’s us.