Thursday, December 15, 2005

NTP Sticks It to RIM

BusinessWeek reports that NTP is turning up the pressure on Research In Motion (RIMM )by licensing its wireless e-mail technology to RIM competitor, Visto. This is "the same technology that's at the center of the patent dispute," and RIM has "three competitors, including Nokia and Good Technology, that are now NTP licensees. NTP also bought a stake in Visto."

The stake in Visto was seen as a maneuver to strengthen the company's legal position and be more than just a patent holding company. NTP "now has stakes in two companies that are in the mobile e-mail business."

Gene Signorini at Yankee Group said, "It's a huge opportunity to try to steal some market share while RIM is in limbo." Although many companies are having a hard time thinking about life without their "Crackberries," some are starting to consider what options are available.

Ken Dulaney at Gartner said, "I would say that every 2 out of 10 companies are starting to investigate something else, but are still hoping it goes away before they have to do anything."

Another option is the only talked about workaround that "would let RIM keep its service up and running without relying on the disputed NTP patents if the judge imposes an injunction." Although not much detaiol has been provided, Dulaney noted "it would entail an upgrade to the company's e-mail servers and to servers run by corporations."