RIM settle with NTP while AT&T may buy Bellsouth (and iPod used for ID)

In today's IT Blogwatch, we look at NTP's settlement with RIM for $612.5M while AT&T buys BellSouth for $65B. Not to mention iPod used to ID unconscious woman  ...

So who wouldn't settle for a figure like that? I guess I've answered my own question with the figure BellSouth may receive if AT&T buy them out! It would seem that the settlement between NTP/RIM has nearly everybodies attention - Ken Mingis, Ian Lamont and Frank Hayesat ComputerWorld were all interested. As Ken reports "The patent dispute had threatened to end RIM's popular BlackBerry e-mail service to millions of users in the U.S. and has been the subject of a contentious, four-year patent battle between the two companies ... 'We're delighted to hear of the settlement and that the matter is resolved,' said Frank Gillman, who works at a law firm in L.A., as and oversees more than 200 attorneys and other staff who rely heavily on the popular handhelds. 'Those of us who rely on instant access to our corporate e-mail are breathing a huge sigh of relief, our significant others, maybe not.' ... Under the terms of the settlement, which was announced late in the day, RIM will make a one-time payment to NTP. In return, NTP has granted RIM a license that enables RIM to continue its BlackBerry service ... the deal covers all current NTP patents involved in the litigation as well as future NTP patents ... James Balsillie, RIM's president and co-CEO, said during a conference call late today that the settlement will completely put the matter behind the company. ... Despite the bitter legal fight, many analysts had expected a last-minute settlement, believing RIM wouldn't want to risk either a service shutdown or force their customers to download a software workaround ... RIM and NTP reached a tentative deal valued at $450 million last year, but that agreement fell apart, and analysts had estimated any new settlement could cost RIM $1 billion."

Ian on a possible shutdown: "But was a shutdown ever a likely scenario? I don't think so. It was an outcome that no one -- including NTP, RIM, wireless service providers, and the thousands of companies and organizations that use the BlackBerry service -- could afford."

Frank on the "sudden" settlement: "What made NTP and RIM suddenly come to terms? Answer: They didn't. There was nothing sudden about it. Remember, they almost nailed down a settlement a year ago. The judge made it clear at the hearing last week that neither company would be happy with a ruling he imposed. Customers were pushing for sanity. The companies had been talking pretty much all along. It really was just a matter of time."

» Kidmercury, ThreadWatch: "In addition to the impact in the mobile market -- Blackberry's stock is up about 19% in extended trade, with Palm down about 4% -- this also raises further questions about the patent process in the United States. From FT.com."

» MacBigot: "We can only hope that RIM plans to come back to the table at a later date, after the U.S. Patent Office has completed its review of the related patents now held by NTP -- with a class-action suit including all the manufacturers NTP has extorted money from over these past few years."

» Greg Sterling, The Kelsey Group Blog's about the AT&T deal: " According to a story in today's New York Times AT&T (formerly SBC) is near a deal to acquire BellSouth ... The Times is reporting that a deal may be announced as early as Monday ... There were numerous rumors of earlier, failed discussions between the two companies. And there has been considerable speculation in the recent past that the two companies would combine and spin off their directory divisions at some point in the future ... The two companies have a parternship in the newly re-energized YellowPages.com (and Cingular, to become AT&T wireless). And I could imagine a combined company becoming more active and making some intreresting online acquisitions to better position itself on the Internet."

» Ryan Block: "As you may recall, BellSouth, one of the original 7 baby bells, also owns 40% of Cingular (complementing the 60% once owned by SBC, which is now called AT&T). Thus this sale would effectively transfer ownership of the nation's largest wireless carrier to AT&T. Now, to give this a little context: the only other non-baby bell left outside the AT&T umbrella in one form or another is Verizon (formerly Bell Atlantic, which merged with Nynex and GTE) and Qwest (which absorbed US West), neither of which will likely be comin' home to mama ... if the SEC approves AT&T's purchase of BellSouth, we once again more or less return to the AT&T of 1984, 'cept now with a little more competition in the backbone and wireless services space. See, with a little of our help you'll know for whom the bell tolls; the bell tolls for Ma."

Buffer overflow:

And finally...  iPod used to ID Unconscious Woman

Richi Jennings (will be back on deck tomorrow - we hope, so Judi is still posting this blog) is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. Contact Richi at blogwatch@richi.co.uk. Also contributing to today's post: Judi Dey, our very own Antipodean.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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