Blackberry users will want to circle February 24th on their calendars, for it may be a dark day in Blackberry-land. That’s potentially the day that U.S. District Judge James Spencer could order that RIM shutdown their existing BlackBerry service in the U.S. as a result of the patent dispute that continues with NTP. If he does order an end to the service, millions of users would likely have a limited time to find a new service before Blackberry as we know it ends. RIM insists that they have alternate technology ready if the worst happens, but the transition would likely not be smooth and would cost the company customers.
I, and many others wiser than me, am very doubtful that it will be left to the whims of Judge Spencer to make a decision. Given that NTP has had many of their patents dismissed by the patent office and given the disaster that an injunction would be for RIM, I strongly suspect that both sides would be open to a cash settlement. NTP would likely take something now instead of nothing later and RIM just wants it all to go away. If I’m wrong, though, expect a huge war as competing technologies fight for Blackberry customers.