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Old 12-01-2005, 06:59 AM   #15 (permalink)
Mark Rejhon
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It is simple brinkmanship. Sit tight. It does look scary and it will probably get a little scarier.

Most likely, nothing is going to happen -- Don't forget NTP has a fair bit to lose if they cause RIM to shutdown, too. They end up getting less money if the network gets shut down.

At worse, minor temporary service interruptions may occur and even so, you will have plenty of advance notice. Even disruptions probably won't happen as there will be a flurry of negotiations during the countdown to "network shutdown", guaranteed to be minimum 30 day advance notice; it will not happen suddenly. NTP says they will give 30 days, government asks for 90 days advance notice. (See the links in my original post for references for where I get these numbers).

This predictable scenario may play out: Injunction happens, RIM deploys workaround, minor panic ensues as everyone upgrades to latest software, BlackBerry network keeps working as long as you've upgraded to the latest software (Possibly 4.1?). Make sure your system administrators are in contact with RIM and have access to the recommended software -- you might not even need to do anything, but always a good idea to track down a contact at RIM. As long as you do that, you should be fine.

You all ask why the workaround was not deployed sooner. Think about this. The workaround was likely thought up a long ago, but it's an obvious interpretation that RIM did not want to weaken their negotiating position with NTP by deploying it earlier -- the workaround can be interpreted by the courts as a de-facto admission that the NTP patents are valid rather than invalid. It's very easy to think about this: Seeing that there was an earlier preliminary ruling that the patents might be invalid (still pending -- see the link above about NTP's patent possibly being invalid), RIM is now less afraid to advertise the existence of workaround. Then it suddenly becomes clear why RIM never dared to whisper about the workaround earlier.

It's inconvenient brinkmanship to be sure, but your BlackBerries will keep working fine. You might just need a software upgrade (And you'd have a 30 day window minimum to deploy it). It might not even be necessary. Don't worry too much. Just simply be prepared for that possibility. Planning is always good; the executives do need to be reassured that a contingency plan is in place.

Sure, media will have a field day "BlackBerry Network Shuts Down!" as the timer starts -- big scares for sure, short sellers will have a field day -- but it won't shut down, because of the obvious courses of actions that will happen.

It is important to be clear:
- RIM already has a workaround available. The workaround is real.
- You are guaranteed advance notice of shutdown. Even NTP agreed to this.

The sky is NOT falling.
Mark Rejhon
Author of XMPP extension XEP-0301: - specification - open source

Last edited by Mark Rejhon : 12-01-2005 at 07:26 AM.