Reassurance...or a bad omen?
You've probably heard something about BlackBerry maker RIM's patent dispute in the US courts. Maybe it's even frightened you a little. Some coverage has leaned towards the "your BlackBerry is going to crash and take the business with it" variety. Luckily, this appears to be hyperbole, as we explain in the February Real Finance (due to hit your desks a week from today). The case shouldn't matter a jot to BlackBerry's service in the UK. However, should the courts serve an injunction against RIM, it will mean the end of writing emails while walking down Frisco's Telegraph Avenue (which is just as well - you're liable to get hit by a trolley).
But how the landscape changes... today we got an alert that they've updated and tested workaround software "as a contingency to allow RIM partners and customers to continue to use the BlackBerry service should the court implement an injunction in the current litigation". Now which of these alarm bells ring for you?
Bell A: They obviously think they're going to lose.
Bell B: They're intending to fight this all the way – they'll risk losing because they refuse to admit defeat and settle.
Bell C: They are trying to reassure their customers.
Tough call, and I'm no mind reader. A is out because RIM can avoid an injunction – and thus a BlackBerry blackout – by settling. The question is, how likely are they to push their luck? Gartner analyst Todd Kort puts the risk of an injunction at 10 per cent. "There's still too much business sense in them settling," Gartner says.
So while they might not be prepared to *lose* per se, I bet that in a game of one-upmanship they'd like their legal opponents to think just that. And they must think the move reassures customers -- or they wouldn't have sent the press release so freely. Me? I'm looking more closely at Vodafone Business Email...
More news on this front, apparently, on February 24. I doubt we'll even have to wait that long.