As the problems between RIM and NTP heat up more over patent disputes, the looming question is almost upon us: When will our Blackberries get shut off? That is the question, and it’s one the USDepartment of Justice is now facing. Most of the people in Washington use Blackberry devices to keep up with their e-mail and news, so a total service interruption would in a sense bring Washingtonto its knees. Something that just can’t happen.
So what solutions are there during this turbulent time for Blackberry users? With 4.3 million Blackberry users and counting, the government accounts for about 200,000 of those users. The DOJ isdemanding that NTP exempt all government-related Blackberries from the outage that would be caused from a shutoff of service. The only problem is that the Blackberry user in Washington is nodifferent from the Blackberry user in Michigan RIM is saying. There is no way to distinguish the two apart.
With the February 24th court date regarding this fiasco approaching quickly, RIM is working on finding a way to protect government related Blackberries. The outcome may not be the end of the worldhowever, if NTP and RIM can work out an agreement so that no service interruption occurs. The settlement between the two companies was last at $450 million, but fell through. Now talks are suggestingup to $1 billion for RIM to get this cleared up. We’ll all have to wait and see what happens in our government after February 24th.