Tuesday, January 31, 2006

NOT Sent From a Wireless Blackberry

By Gary Kayye, CTS

Last week, the United States Supreme Court rejected an appeal from BlackBerry maker Canada-based Research In Motion (RIM) to review a patent infringement case against them brought by US-based NTP. NTP contends that RIM infringed on its patents in the design and operation of BlackBerry. NTP is now asking for the RIM BlackBerry service to be shut off until they are compensated for the patent infringement – a claim that even after every court in the US has agreed with NTP on, RIM still denies. A shut-off is looming – at least here in the US where the case has been heard.
In an article last Wednesday, Reuter’s Carmel Crimmins declared in the headline that a “BlackBerry blackout threat leaves CEOs aghast”. And, she even quotes Lloyd’s of London insurance chairman, an obvious BlackBerry user; Peter Levene as saying a shutoff is “just nuts. The idea that someone is just going to switch off in three or four weeks, even if it’s only in the United States, it’s crazy.” However, in the article RIM’s VP of corporate marketing, Mark Guibert, claims, “Our software workaround designs remain a solid contingency.”

Yeah, right. If that were totally true, wouldn’t they have already gone to the contingency plan?

And, as far as the CEOs are concerned: Boo-Fricking hoo.

Look, this story’s been all over the trade, technical and mainstream press for years. Virtually everyone’s known, but maybe never believed it, that RIM was being sued by a company for violating patents - this was always a possibility.

Point is, the BlackBerry’s an awesome tool – in fact, it probably created a new industry. And, to be realistic, it’s doubtful that service will actually be cut off – even if NTP receives its injunction hearing scheduled for US courts on February 13th. Heck, the jury trial award to NTP in the original case in 2004 was only $23.1 million. So, don’t fret, you’ll probably still have service. RIM can probably pay that from petty cash with all the BlackBerrys I see when I travel around the country.

But, who knows. It’s happened before. There is a chance that they could, in fact, be shut off. In case they are, and I’m not in my office when it happens, I’ll send you an e-mail from my Trêo.
Oh, I just thought of something, if you have a BlackBerry, how would you get my e-mail?

Long live the Palm!

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