Yesterday, Research in Motion made headlines on CNN.com for all the wrong reasons. Judge Spencer declared that the settlement was not enforceable. It’s still unclear to me why NTP balked at the $450 million settlement offer. In fact, I’m not even sure it was NTP who gave up on it in the first place. The usual press followed where RIM’s legal options were discussed and of how Palm’s stock was so much sweeter.
Anyhow, RIM has an update on their corporate page for partners, customers, and investors. Simply restating the release, RIM will not allow the injunction to disrupt their business commitments to partners and consumers. They have a software workaround and won’t be afraid to deploy it if the injunction were to come into effect (yea, a small cheer rises from the trenches). The pertinent technical questions are still unanswered, will there be a change in the quality of service? Will there be any downtime? Partners ought to be aware.
Lastly, all this sour business with patents also puts Sony’s current set of woes in sharp relief. In reality, both companies have been accused (you could add found guilty of) of unprofessional conduct, perhaps one to a lesser degree than the other. Sony hurt consumers, RIM hurt NTP. Who is going to pay more? 🙂 if RIM settles with NTP for as much as $1 billion they are going to be crushed by the street. When Sony settles with consumers for hijacking their PC’s, they simply recall all the CD’s and replace them. I kid you not, people will still continue to buy Sony. What does that say about punishment fitting the crime? What does that say about consumer rights? 🙂 Perhaps I am just crying foul because my judgement is pre-biased. Someone has to ask the questions.
An update: A counter-point explaining why the workaround is only a last resort.
The workaround may in part be a bargaining chip to use at the settlement table, partly a way to soothe worried customers. But because RIM has only discussed the technology with analysts and customers in broad outlines, it’s difficult to judge how much leverage it brings. And in a market that’s crowding with the likes of Microsoft (MSFT), Nokia (NOK), Good, and Palm’s (PALM) Treo, even little problems could cause customers to flee.Which is why RIM probably won’t use the workaround except at as a last resort, analysts say. “One of the things that has kept them at the top of the market is the reliability of the service and the optimization of the user service,” says Gene Signorini, an analyst at researcher Yankee Group. “If those suffer, their relationships are at stake.”
“RIM Loses Another Round” – Business Week.