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TAT founder Hampus Jakobsson leaves RIM for startup land (update: not as much of a blow)

RIM just can't seem to avoid staff shakeups. Hampus Jakobsson, The Astonishing Tribe founder and a key factor in BlackBerry 10's interface design, has signaled that he's leaving the smartphone maker. He cites an itch to launch another startup as the impetus behind the move, although he hasn't said what he'll be doing. We can certainly tell that Jakobsson is aware of the climate in which he's leaving -- the veteran has been quick to note that others at RIM are taking his role and that he doesn't expect an upheaval as he heads through the door. There's at least a grain of truth to the reassurances, we'd say. With BlackBerry 10 devices appearing in January on RIM's current schedule, most of the hard work on the software will likely have already been done. Nonetheless, we're sure some fans will be disappointed that a guiding light won't be around to influence any followups.

[Image credit: Media Evolution, Flickr]

Update: We've learned that Jakobsson had been a Director of Strategic Alliances at RIM since TAT was acquired; while the company he brought into the fold is clearly working on BlackBerry interface design, he hasn't been guiding the work himself. The departure still has an impact -- it's just at the corporate level rather than in design.