Freemium visual voicemail service YouMail never forgot their roots — they first launched in late 2007 with the mission of making visual voicemail available to the masses, but soon focused their attention on what was then the market-leading smartphone platform: BlackBerry.
I don’t need to tell you that RIM’s fortunes have changed since then, but the YouMail crew dutifully updated their BlackBerry app even though registrations from users of that platform began to dip. Until now, that is. With one final (and seemingly substantive) update in place though, YouMail has officially decided to call it quits on BlackBerry.
It’s a bittersweet moment for YouMail, as same rep tells me that the release of their BlackBerry app in 2009 was what really put the company on the map. Since then, the company made a name for itself among Android users and racked up some considerable funding (disclosure: CrunchFund invested in these guys last year) along the way.
These days, YouMail’s userbase is over 2 million strong, and a company representative me tells that they handle 15 million calls each month. Their Android app (you know for everyone who doesn’t have Google Voice) accounts for the lion’s share of accounts, but once-considerable support from BlackBerry users has dwindled to the point where a third-party developer using their API to bring visual voicemail to Windows Phone users is more widely used.
What this really has me thinking is how many other developers have decided to shutter their BlackBerry efforts due to lack of momentum? YouMail joins a few other notable companies that have chosen to shift their focus elsewhere. Popular travel site Kayak did just that earlier this year, and Seesmic pulled the same thing in mid-2011.
RIM would probably disagree on that — Alec Saunders, the company’s VP of developer relations delivered a rousing address at this year’s BlackBerry DevCon Europe that talked up just how popular and profitable the BlackBerry app environment is. That may be so (I don’t know that I buy all of his points), but as a whole, the BlackBerry platform has slowly fallen out of limelight. The forthcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system and the devices that run it could change all that, but until it makes its debut later this year, we’ll just have to wait and see if any more developers leave the BlackBerry platform for greener pastures.