BlackBerry Live 2013 - BBM - BBM Channels - 023

BlackBerry’s troubles continued on Monday. While the company has tried to re-establish a focus on software and services, particularly with its cross-platform BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) app, which is now available on Android and iOS. The company has said new features are coming this year, though it just hit a major roadblock: BlackBerry’s executive vice president of BBM Andrew Bocking is leaving the company.

The news was first reported by Re/Code on Monday, which says that it’s still not apparent why Bocking is leaving the company. He may be headed to a competitor, following in the footsteps of previous executives who have departed the ailing Waterloo-based company, though his intentions have not yet been revealed. BlackBerry’s director of global enterprise solutions John Sims will reportedly take Bocking’s role for the time being. Sims will likely lead the roll-out of new features to the Android and iOS iterations of BlackBerry Messenger. The apps recently received an update with a “Find Friends” feature, though voice chat and channels features are still in beta so far as we know.

While the service saw an initial bump in users following its launch on two new platforms, it’s still not apparent how many of those users have stuck around and are actively using the service. Originally, we thought BlackBerry might try to add in-app purchases to its BBM app, which would allow it to generate additional revenue from users on different platforms. So far, however, that doesn’t appear to be the direction it’s heading. The company definitely faces a crowded market in the messaging space, however. While it was once a dominant option, other choices such as Kik, WhatsApp and Japan-based Line have crowded the market and serve as feature-rich alternatives.

We’ll let you know if Bocking surfaces at another company, though this seems like a major departure for BlackBerry.