New Setback For RIM

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to stop all lower-court proceedings while it decides whether to consider an earlier patent infringement ruling against the Waterloo, Ontario-based wireless device maker. It is the latest setback in RIM&'s four-year court battle with Arlington, Va.-based patent licensing company NTP.

However, Tim Tompt, owner of Executive Wireless, a Seattle-based wireless solution provider and BlackBerry reseller, isn&'t worried that the court will ultimately rule against RIM.

“I don&'t get a sense of fear from my customers that the whole thing is going to just come crumbling down,” Tompt said.

He estimates that about 85 percent of his company&'s business comes from providing BlackBerry solutions to enterprise customers.

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Jay Tipton, vice president of Technology Specialists, a Fort Wayne, Ind.-based solution provider, said he anticipates continuing to provide BlackBerry RIM integration services to his clients. That said, Tipton noted that he has been disappointed by the lack of an aggressive BlackBerry channel program. For cell phone-based devices, Tipton said he partners with other telecom solution providers that sell the devices and then does the Exchange server integration work for them.

Patty Wilkey, director of global desktop and mobility at EDS, Plano, Texas, said her company&'s large clientele of BlackBerry users is beginning to make contingency plans to deal with a potential injunction against RIM.

“It&'s similar to a disaster-recovery planning scenario, in that our customers are asking, ‘What is the backup plan?&' ” Wilkey said.

However, Wilkey said that if BlackBerry sales are halted, EDS&' Microsoft Exchange 2003 solution provides a viable wireless e-mail alternative for the company&'s enterprise customer base.

A spokesperson for T-Mobile said the company doesn&'t expect any interruption to T-Mobile's BlackBerry service or the sale of BlackBerry devices.