Call it more bad luck for BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) or good timing for Microsoft. Whichever the case may be, Microsoft is stepping into the realm of instant email alerts and Microsoft rarely steps lightly.
As if a new competitive challenge from Microsoft wasnt enough to worry about, RIM has been battling an ongoing lawsuit from NTP, a U.S. patent holding company. NTP claims to hold patents to the technology used in delivering email to BlackBerry devices. The lawsuit may spell disaster for Canada based RIM as the BlackBerry maker could be forced to stop providing service to its three million U.S. customers.
Research in Motion announced last week a workaround which should allow BlackBerry owners to continue to use the devices in the event that the court rules in favor of NTP. RIM claims that the work around, called Multi Mode Edition, does not infringe on any of the patents involved in the dispute.
Microsoft’s new version of Windows Mobile (WM5) is starting to ship with new devices. A new feature of WM5 which is getting a lot of attention is something called “push” email. “Push” email allows for the same email notification functionality that was previously exclusive to a BlackBerry device.
I believe that WM5 and “push” email will be a large nail in the coffin of the BlackBerry. Even if RIM is able to avoid disaster in terms of the ongoing lawsuit, they still have a huge battle on their hands. Soon consumers will awaken from their “CrackBerry” induced comas and start to realize the vast number of mobile devices available running on Windows Mobile with feature sets and functionality far superior to that of a BlackBerry. If the biggest thing holding them back before was an instant notification that the latest spam message has landed in their inbox, then good night BlackBerry.