Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

RIM Gives BlackBerry Developers Sugarcoated View Of Future

At BlackBerry DevCon Europe this week, RIM executives told a crowd of 2,000 developers that BlackBerry is the second most profitable platform for mobile developers after iOS. Alec Saunders, RIM's head of developer relations, cited data from Yankee Group that showed more revenue going through AppWorld than Android Market, and from Evans Data Corp, which recently said in a report that 13 percent of developers on AppWorld are making $100,000 or more.

Obviously RIM needs to get developers fired up after months and months of increasingly bad news. And the company has to find ways to drum up interest in its new BlackBerry 10 OS, which is scheduled to launch this year. But these sorts of claims, even if they are based on third party data, sound a bit over the top for a company that's struggling as much as RIM is at the moment.

Acer Hits Former CEO Lanci With Noncompete Lawsuit

Acer this week decided to sue former president and CEO Gianfranco Lanci over alleged breach of a noncompete agreement. The highly regarded Lanci, who left Acer last March after a difference of opinion over how Acer should compete in tablets, joined Lenovo last September in a consulting role and was later tapped to head up the company's EMEA PC unit.

Lenovo is coming on strong in the PC market and last year overtook Dell for the No. 2 spot worldwide. Acer, meanwhile, saw its PC sales drop more than 18 percent last year and is currently No. 4 worldwide, and the company has also been slow in figuring out its tablet strategy. Which is why this move carries with it an unmistakable whiff of desperation.

AMD's Two-Year Tablet Road Map

AMD recently unveiled plans to enter the tablet space this year with the launch of an ultra-low-power APU (accelerated processing unit) dubbed Hondo and, as previously announced, the company also will introduce its new Trinity APUs designed for ultra-thin laptops. But with Intel gearing up to launch its new Atom Medfield mobile processors in the first half of the year, and low-power chip licensor ARM already dominating much of the consumer market, AMD may simply be too late to develop a low-power tablet chip of its own, system builders told CRN this week.

Microsoft Loses Another Key Mobile Exec

Microsoft saw another key Windows Phone executive depart this week, when Brandon Watson, head of developer experiences for Windows Phone, left to join Amazon's Kindle development team.

Watson was responsible for product management of Windows Phone developer tools and the application platform and was Microsoft's point man for communications with the developer community. He is one of the highest-profile execs to leave Microsoft's Windows Phone team since Charlie Kindel, general manager of Microsoft Windows Phone, departed in August.

Oracle Decides To Seek New Damages Trial Against SAP

Oracle this week rejected a proposed $272 million settlement in its long-running copyright infringement lawsuit against rival SAP, setting the stage for a new chapter in the companies' legal battle.

The case reaches back to 2005 when SAP acquired TomorrowNow, which provided support services for Oracle applications. TomorrowNow, which SAP shut down in 2008, downloaded copyrighted software and documents from Oracle support Web sites. Oracle sued in 2007. SAP has admitted liability in the case but has argued that the billions in damages Oracle has sought are excessive.

"We are disappointed that Oracle has passed up yet another opportunity to resolve this case," SAP said in a statement. "We will continue to work to bring this case to a fair and reasonable end."