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The challenge for BlackBerry

Brian Lam on the new Blackberry: "If you like BlackBerry and keyboards, I'm not going to try and change your mind and I'm certainly not going to try to understand you. I accept you, and we can agree to disagree. ... You should not buy this phone unless you have emotional and cultural reasons to love Blackberry" Rob

RIM hit with $147.2 million patent verdict

Days after CEO Thorsten Heins promised that Research In Motion was not "in a death spiral," it lost a patent litigation case filed by Mformation, maker of remote wireless management software. The jury awarded Mformation $147.2m.

The verdict on Friday in a San Francisco federal court comes at a bad time for RIM, whose stock has fallen more than 70 percent in the past year as customers abandon the BlackBerry in favor of Apple's iPhone and a slew of devices using Google Inc's Android software. Amar Thakur, an attorney for Mformation, said the jury directed RIM to pay an $8 royalty for every BlackBerry device connected to RIM's enterprise server software, which brings the total award to $147.2 million. The verdict only covers U.S. sales through trial, Thakur said, and not future or foreign damages.

When people use the term "death spiral", it implies the existence of a useful aerodynamic characteristic influencing the descent. RIM's looks more like a death plunge.

Blackberry abandoned by US gov's main procurement agency

Bye-bye, Blackberry: "The U.S. federal government's main procurement agency is issuing iPhones and Android-based devices to some of its 17,000 workers." (Reuters) Xeni

RIM kills PlayBook root hack; hacker roots it again

RIM's attempts to stop people rooting their PlayBooks are failing. But it will keep trying! Because sunk costs aren't just about money, you know! Rob

Tired and emotional RIM executives force plane to land

In the New York Times, Ian Austen and Susanne Craig report that two executives of RIM were "intoxicated" and unruly on a Toronto-to-Beijing flight, forcing a stop-off in Vancouver to get rid of them. Rob

English cops arrest man for planning water-fight via Blackberry Messenger

Police in Essex, England have charged a 20-year-old man with "encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence" (under the 2007 Serious Crime Act) because he used Blackberry Messenger to encourage people to attend a public water fight. It's not clear whether the police were working from an informant or whether they have developed the capability to wiretap Blackberry's notionally encrypted messaging network (I'm not clear whether Blackberry has the capacity to decrypt and read messages, or whether the encryption is end-to-end.)


In 2008 there was a spate of mass water fights in British towns and cities that were organised through social networks. Most remained peaceful.This month a water fight attended by thousands of young Iranians attracted the attention of Tehran's morality police and led to a series of arrests.

Prime Minister David Cameron has proposed a national censorship regime to block or filter the Internet to prevent social unrest (this despite the failure of the Chinese government to effectively manage the trick with vastly more resources and expertise and vastly fewer legal constraints). One week before this proposal, Cameron's government rejected the Digital Economy Act's provisions for censoring the Internet to prevent copyright infringement, having concluded that such censorship regimes were easy to evade and would not be effective.

Essex police charge man over water fight planned on BlackBerry Messenger

(Thanks, Richard!)

(Image: COOT FIGHT!!!, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from squeakywheel's photostream)