Globe & Mail on NTP v. RIM
The Globe & Mail has an even-handed history of the NTP/RIM conflict. It's a well-researched piece that helps to explain the other side of the story. RIM has spent a lot of money on PR and lobbying to influence public opinion, and there are many supporters who have bought RIM's story hook, line and sinker. If you believe that NTP is a "patent troll" and that patent rights should require commercialization, don't bother reading this piece. Ignorance is bliss.
For the rest of us, this article won't change the prospect of the injunction, and it won't change the fact that IT departments are scrambling to find alternative solutions in the likelihood of an injunction.
But for those looking for some meaning behind this whole situation - and there are plenty of people doing just that - the article helps to put some perspective on things. Yes, there are two sides to every story, and Barrie McKenna, Paul Waldie and Simon Avery deserve significant credit for an excellent job telling both sides.
A quick civics lesson for those interested in the RIM injunction
For those who haven't noticed, I've been staying away from the thicket of discussion about NTP v. Research In Motion. There's a simple reason for this: I've gotten enough e-mails from IT managers who want the "net/net bottom line" of the issue. These mobility managers just want to know what to do. Those recommendations have been echoed across the analyst community and within the trade press.
- Identify how many BlackBerry users there are in your organization. Identify which ones use their devices in "mission-critical" environments.
- Get briefed by RIM about their "work-around" technologies. Ascertain whether these "work-arounds" will work in your BES installation.
- Investigate alternatives to BlackBerry
- Assign a 10% probability to an injunction (from Gartner)
- Develop a migration path and timeline for your BlackBerry users in the event of an injunction against RIM.
- Decide which users will require alternative services and which ones will go without.
- Schedule that timeline to go "live" with an alternative solution some thirty days after the February 24, 2006 date on which the court will announce its decision.
The companies for whom BlackBerry is mission critical already have plans in place. Those plans may rely on RIM's "work-around" or they may use alternative solutions from other vendors. There is no single way to approach this injunction. And there is no "right way" for a company to decide about BlackBerry.
But I am concerned by those who say that the US PTO's first actions to overturn NTP's patents will end the whole case. Those who paid attention in Civics class can disregard the rest of this post. If you think that the US PTO has the power to overturn the injunction, then keep reading.
January 27, 2006
Mobility topics for 2006
We've been working with SearchMobileComputing.com for some time now and have a great deal of respect for Kara Gattine, Andrew Hickey, Jeff Kelly and the team at TechTarget. Kara has been judging the MEA Mobile Impact Awards program for the past two years, and late last year, we started talking about things we could do together. First of all, SearchMobileComputing.com has begun to re-post select Mobile Enterprise Weblog postings.
Second, we're working on systematically addressing several key topics for mobility in 2006. I'll go into greater depth at a later date. For now, here's a quick outline of the topics we believe to be most relevant to enterprise mobility in the coming months:
- Harnessing Applications Enabled Devices - including smartphone, e-mail capable telephones, fixed-mobile convergence and roaming from local- to wide-area networks.
- Mobile Device Management - enterprise platforms for managing policies, devices and users.
- Mobile Security - this is self-explanatory
- Mobililty Policies - the development of enterprise policies for mobility, mobile devices, services, etc. Implementation of aforementioned policies.
- Developing Mobile Applications - Choosing an architecture. Deciding in-house versus third-party. Middleware versus native applications capabilities. Selecting vendors and solutions providers.
January 26, 2006
February 24: Decision date on BlackBerry injunction
Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear RIM's appeal to stay the pending injunction against U.S. BlackBerry sales and services, the judicial process plods forward. Both sides are required to file briefs by January 30, with a decision to be announced by Judge Spencer on February 24, 2006.
Assuming that there's no settlement between the two companies by that time, Judge Spencer may issue one of several rulings:
- The court may rule to impose the injunction that has already been granted to NTP. In this case, the injunction will be imposed according to a specified timetable and process.
- The court may rule to continue to stay the injunction pending US PTO proceedings over the validity of NTP's patents. After sufficient prodding, and assistance, from RIM, the US PTO has begun initial actions to overturn eight of NTP's patents. This is a process that may take months, if not years, to complete.
- The court may rule to overturn the injunction because imposing such an injunction could cause irreparable harm to RIM's customers and partners.
I'm sure there's some outcome I'm missing, but the practical upshot is that, by February 24, we'll know whether (a) an injunction will happen, (b) an injunction won't happen, or (c) we have to wait in limbo for several more months or years.
Whatever it is, be prepared for all eventualities.
Editor's note: The opinions expressed on this page are those of the writer, Daniel Taylor, and not necessarily those of SearchMobileComputing.com or TechTarget.
Any questions or comments should be sent to Assistant Editor Jeff Kelly.