Creator of BBM out at BlackBerry as company sheds more talent

Daniel Bader

February 5, 2016 1:38pm

The creator of BBM, and one of BlackBerry’s longest-tenured employees, is no longer at the company.

Gary Klassen, who joined then-Research In Motion in 2000 as a software engineer for the upcoming BlackBerry 950 communicator, has left the company after almost 16 years. Klassen’s wife, who posted on Facebook, says that her husband has “walked out of BlackBerry for the last time.”

“Gary you’ve been a wonderful example of integrity, faithfulness, and patience working there but I’m glad you’re out,” she said in a public post.

After spending five years in RIM’s general software division, Klassen went on to create the team that would integrate a number of messaging services into the legacy BlackBerry operating system. His most significant achievement came in 2005 when he launched BlackBerry Messenger, a service still used today by nearly 200 million people around the world.

According to a post released on BlackBerry’s internal blog, BBM was initially used for internal purposes, and was known as QuickMessenger. The product was envisioned as a way for BlackBerry users, all of whom had unique PIN codes, to chat with one another in a secure, data-driven environment. “BBM was the first form of text communication that was instant, cross-carrier, and mobile, in a time when people were still attached to their PCs,” said Klassen in an interview in mid-2015.

BlackBerry Messenger was released for iOS and Android in October 2013, and in the company’s latest earnings results said it is used by over 190 million people. BBM has since expanded to the enterprise with BBM Protected, though the short-lived collaboration tool, BBM Meetings, was shut down last month.

A year ago, Klassen was promoted to Director of Software Architecture and Innovation, moving home to Waterloo after spending nearly two years in Malmo, Sweden with the remnants of design company The Astonishing Tribe, which RIM purchased in 2010.

At the time of publishing, neither Klassen nor a BlackBerry representative has responded to requests for comment.

Related: BlackBerry reportedly cuts 35% of Waterloo workforce, including significant BlackBerry 10 & Devices staff

  • Tech Guru

    RIM???

    • Dan man

      BlackBerry was originally rim before the name change in 2013

    • MoonCakez

      More like RIP…

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      Hoahaoahaoahahoah so funny Moonpie

    • BBRYSUXBALLS_2.1

      Gone dude, it’s ChenBerry now bro.

    • BBRYSUXBALLS_2.1

      Dead bro, dead!

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      You back ya sad doooosh?

  • gommer strike

    When I saw this:

    “her husband has “walked out of BlackBerry for the last time.””

    …I couldn’t help but be reminded of Darth Vader’s “you have failed me…for the last time”. Sorry, bad joke in this time of despair and tragedy.

  • Rumble and Sway

    Another nail in the coffin here…What talent they don’t fire decides to leave on their own because they see the writing on the wall.

    • BBRYSUXBALLS_2.1

      10-4

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      *yawn* lookie, my r@cist “I couldn’t care less about BBRY” tr0lling buddy is back…

  • vn33

    “… but I’m glad you’re out,”
    Doesn’t look like Gary left on a good term?
    Good for him, sad for BB to lose an obvious talented employee.

    • Rumble and Sway

      Not surprised. This company has been on a death spiral for years. It needs to seriously be put out of its misery.

    • rick

      And what would that do. What would that improve. So now what – Google and Apple only? Don’t get me wrong, its crappy leadership that ultimately killed RIM/BB going back at least 7 or 8 years, but there are still some golden nuggets there that the consumer could benefit from. Its just finding the best way to get at them.

    • Rumble and Sway

      This company doesn’t offer anything compelling or worthwhile and hasn’t for 10 years really. Not saying I’m opposed to more competition but this joke of a company isn’t providing it

    • Andrew English

      Well it does BES which is the best mdm solution available. It’s just that people like yourself are too stupid to realize it’s security benefits over current mdm solutions.

    • BBRYSUXBALLS_2.1

      Cool story bro.

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      RE-PETE 3.0, is that you?

    • BBRYSUXBALLS_2.1

      Another cool story from Coach.. Thx

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      Unemployment office closed today?

    • BBRYSUXBALLS_2.1

      Wouldn’t know coach Laudro

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      Riiight… I forgot that you never leave your sticky floored basement.

    • BBRYSUXBALLS_2.1

      What’s that have to do with you being a Laurdo coach?

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      Awww… you’re crying RE-PETE. I bet A Rod is a “laurdo” too, huh dumb fuq?

    • BBRYSUXBALLS_2.1

      Yeah because you’re so in the same league as A-Rod.. Loser FAGGGGOTT

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      Awwww… someone is mad as a hornet.

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      Hahahahahaahah someone is fuqqin mad!!

    • BBRYSUXBALLS_2.1

      Ha ha ha .. Someone is chapped, yes YOU BOY!!!

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      Says the idiooot on BBRY articles 24×7.

    • BBRYSUXBALLS_2.1

      At least I can walk up the stairs Laurdo

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      What? The three on the front porch to your double wide?

    • BBRYSUXBALLS_2.1

      Never lived or owned one Coach Nelson. I’m sure that’s how the trash rolls up in Minnesota.

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      You have to downsize to a single-wide?

    • BBRYSUXBALLS_2.1

      Eh?

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      Suuuuuuuure you haven’t

    • BBRYSUXBALLS_2.1

      Mike- It’s time to get a job dude

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      So what are you waiting for? Put the iToy down and head over to the nearest unemployment office.

    • rick

      I think they’ve released alot that’s compelling. That doesn’t necessarily mean the masses are interested though. Most will just buy what others do. But anything post bb10 has been very compelling. They don’t have apples marketing budget or excellent leadership is the problem. Not sure why you have such a hate for the product itself though.

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      He, like that clown SUXBALLs 2.1, likely have a mental illness… afterall, what sane person would spend countless of their day tr0lling articles about a company they don’t like.

    • Daniel Rogatsky

      Absolutely not true. The BlackBerry passport was one of the best phones I ever used, and handles messaging/notifications through the hub infinitely better than Android. Crappy marketing and lack of investment in all development is what got them. It was an incredible system, and a huge shame that they couldn’t concert more people. Anyone who used a Passport for a week couldn’t go back to anything else

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      Nothing compelling for 10 years? Wow… are you fuggin’ clueless. This comment cements you as nothing but a tr0ll (and likely some bitter former employee with an axe to grind… am I close?)

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      Hilarious how you b•tch and moan about the people BBRY has laid off yet you call for the company to “be put out of its misery”… what will happen to the remaining employees that collect a paycheck from BBRY? Huh genius?

    • Mo Dabbas

      That’s what I thought.

    • Tony

      Might be due to the fact that employees are always on edge on whether or not they’ll be let go at any given time. It is incredibly stressful to have to worry everyday if you’re going to be let go this time…two weeks from now…a month? That combined with seeing people you worked closely with for long periods just tossed out at any given time.

      It is a depressing atmosphere.

    • vn33

      I agree! Would hate to be working in an unstable environment, and a low-morale atmosphere. Life is too short to be confined to an office like that for most of your waking hours.

    • Ipse

      Damn right you are…I should know that, having worked for Nortel.
      Creativity and Damocles’ sword don’t mix.

  • rick

    Sounds like a brilliant guy. Sure he will move on to greener pastures.

  • Pingback: BlackBerry Makes Big Job Cuts - Fortune()

  • JD

    Maybe he can move to Google and finally turn their steaming heap they call Hangouts in to an messaging app and platform people will want to use.

  • BBRYSUXBALLS_2.1

    This is awful news, GoogleBerry in full force.

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      *yawn*. I can see your backside is ultra chapped…

    • BBRYSUXBALLS_2.1

      Stalker

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      Says the clown that followed me to Mobile Syrup… try again doooosh

    • BBRYSUXBALLS_2.1

      Cool story

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      RE-PETE 3.0, is that you?

  • Shilly

    Blackberri talent = oxymoron

    • Whaaa Whaaaa Flagging Cowards

      Awwww… look at this pathetic doooooshbag

  • BBRYSUXBALLS_2.1

    Sweet!