Report: RIM 'Workaround' Could be Tricky

By Tim Scannell

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While the alternative will most likely offer a "seamless" transition for most users, there may be some impact on the performance of the e-mail-routing technology due to the protocol requirements needed to make the solution work.

Implementing a solution may also take a month or longer for some companies with a heavy investment in Blackberry devices to make the entire transition. The transition will require modifications in RIM's own network operations center (NOC) software and downloaded firmware upgrades for each and every Mobile mail device, said a research note by Gartner.

"To achieve the change, RIM must modify the NOC software and provide firmware upgrades on each Blackberry," the report noted. "Enterprises must then qualify the workaround and upgrade their devices."

Last week, RIM released details of a software "workaround" it claims would circumvent legal issues and provide an operations alternative should the courts impose an injunction.

The workaround involves rerouting message queuing and protocol around RIM's network operations center, which acts as a temporary storage facility.

Instead, message traffic would flow from the e-mail server to the Blackberry Enterprise Server and then to the mobile operator and end-user device. The NOC would just handle network routing and billing and not store the messages in any way, which is a major part of NTP's claim, said the report.

"RIM's workaround provides a contingency for our customers and partners and a counterbalance to NTP's threats," said Jim Balsillie, RIM Chairman and Co-CEO, in a statement.

While users would not see a difference in the operation of their Blackberry devices, there may be some delays in message traffic because of the heavier protocol requirements needed to make the solution work, adds the report.

RIM has not addressed this issue yet. Details of the software workaround also do not specify if the alternative would be successful in handling message traffic for the U.S. for a foreign device.

RIM and NTP are scheduled to face-off on Feb. 24 when U.S. District Judge James Spencer is due to hear testimony from both sides and decide whether to impose an injunction that might pull the plug on Blackberry service within the U.S.

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