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Old 11-30-2005, 03:38 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I'm certainly not the smartest when it comes to business, but honestly, if RIM had a good backup solution, don't you think it would have been implemented by now? Does it seem even slightly plausable that a company who has a stock that would be trading at least 20 points higher without this lawsuit hanging over their head would rather keep investors guessing and have trading halted at least twice if there was a good backup plan? And it isn't like this is a small part of their business, it is their entire business.

If anything, they've had since 2003 and deployed nothing. If a fix was in 4.1, wouldn't they want investors, if not users, to have the warm fuzzy feeling if the lights go out tonight, they can flip a switch and turn it back on tomorrow?

Obviously the money RIM has already set aside isn't enough to settle this issue. The fact that RIM is so popular is working against them, not for them.

Don't you think the judge knows the patents have been thrown out? Unfortunately for RIM there is a patent appeals process that can take as long to resolve as this lawsuit. The orignal lawsuit was determined based upon the original patents and what is legal and what is fair aren't usually the same.

Personally I hope RIM wins. But if RIM has a better way to skin a cat, they'd have done it long ago. It isn't a game for them to spend millions in legal fees and lose 100x that in market capital and most importantly for the management, executive pay, which is probably tied to stock price.

If I owned the stock I'd be questioning the management if they let this go on longer than needed. Companies always settle mindless cases out of court just not to have investors fearing liability.

My guess is RIM has a workaround that, once deployed, will cause at least some problems to iron out over days and weeks if not a month, and, cost at least as much in dollars and unhappy customers as $450M; I'd also bet that the backup doesn't entirely free them of all patent claims but they'd be willing to fight that battle later if needed.

Plan B is probably less costly than the number NTP wants to settle, whatever it is $1B(?) but at least as costly in dollars, dissatisfaction and image as $500M. RIM is biding their time, hoping the US Government lessens the chance of a shutdown giving them enough time to sort this out, either settling with NTP or hoping to stall a shutdown until the patent issue is settled or, in worse case, plan B.

If they really wanted to play hardball they'd roll out a solution in a limited manner. How about a beta test for 50,000 users? That would certainly lessen the fears of the big investors nevermind the users, and that is where the ultimate concern lies for RIM.
Also, NTP says they've seen RIM's solution and it still doesn't get around all the patents.

To say this is a total non-issue now doesn't seem even slightly reasonable by the fact it is still in court. RIM would have stepped away from the settlement faster than NTP if plan B was that easy.

Regards-Michael G.