Posted by: kurtsh | January 27, 2006

NEWS: Gartner says, “Halt Blackberry Deployments”

Recently, I was approached by someone that recognized me as a Mobility Specialist for Microsoft.  The general jist of his feedback to me was along the lines of:  "Y’know, as corporate technology advisors, you folks at Microsoft really should have pushed us harder to understand the threat of only using RIM Blackberries in our corporate mobile strategy.  Nobody actually believed that RIM’s network operations center might actually get shutdown, effectively halting all RIM Blackberry messaging."
Even though I think that it’s more our responsibly to educate people about their alternatives, to some degree I agree with him.  People need to know how easy it is to actually stop a person’s Blackberry from functioning. 
Every Blackberry requires the operation of RIM’s Network Operations Center (NOC).  Every Blackberry user’s mobile message essentially passes through the NOC and this is what enables such high speed "push" messaging.  It’s also what IT folks call a "single point of failure".  Most would argue that RIM’s NOC is "fully redundant" and "not prone to an actual single point of failure… that is unless the legal system gets involved.
And that’s just the point:  The legal system IS involved. 
Companies really should be considering dual platform strategies for mobile messaging and applications.  Putting all of one’s eggs in RIM’s basket is a dangerous proposition because there’s so many questions surrounding RIM’s viability.
Gartner’s advice: Halt BlackBerry deployments
By Munir Kotadia
Special to CNET
Published: December 7, 2005, 5:03 AM PST
Analyst firm Gartner has advised its clients to halt deployments of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry e-mail devices because of a legal battle that could see a judge effectively shut down the company’s U.S. operations.
Holding firm NTP contends that it owns patents for the technology that powers the popular PDAs. At stake is RIM’s right to operate in the United States. According to Gartner, NTP has already won an injunction that would force RIM to "shut down its U.S. operations."
The research note advises enterprises to "stop or delay all mission-critical BlackBerry deployments and investments in the platform until RIM’s legal position is clarified," because "U.S. BlackBerry users would lose messaging services…and international users would lose message service while traveling in the U.S."
However, Gartner expects the two companies to reach a settlement within three weeks because an agreement would be "in both companies’ interests."
There is a possibility that RIM could bypass the patent dispute by deploying a workaround, but Gartner said this path could be "highly problematic."
"RIM claims its workaround is legally sound, but its history in the courts does not inspire confidence. Moreover, end-user validation and implementation would take time, resulting in a temporary loss of service," the research note said.
Gartner advises enterprises "not to sign any agreements that could involve them in the RIM-NTP dispute" and "demand that RIM discloses its workaround plans."
If RIM deployments are not mission-critical, Gartner said, enterprises could take no action for the moment but rather "assess the potential impact of operation outages of unknown duration."


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