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RIM Pays Off Nokia; Patent Dispute Settled

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the peace-at-a-price dept.

Businesses 23

Today Nokia announced an agreement with Research In Motion to resolve all patent legislation between the two. The companies have been fighting over patents for almost a decade, most recently over devices with wireless LAN capabilities. The terms of today's agreement were not disclosed but it involved a one-time payment from RIM as well as ongoing payments. This agreement comes shortly after RIM's announcement that it pulled in $9 million in profit last quarter, down 97% from the $265 million they earned in the same quarter the year before. The company has pinned its hopes on BlackBerry 10, scheduled to launch next month: "So this is RIM at the end of 2012: losing subscribers and revenue, facing significant opponents, but with more cash on hand and at least one long-running lawsuit settled. If nothing else, it means the way is clear for RIM to launch its Hail Mary pass: BlackBerry 10."

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23 comments

I wish them luck (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42363163)

BB10 has some good ideas. Unfortunately, I'm not optimistic for its future. I will say I'm surprised that RIM still managed to turn a profit, even if it was hugely diminished from last year's. Who exactly is buying Blackberry phones?

Re:I wish them luck (3, Informative)

afidel (530433) | about a year and a half ago | (#42363295)

Big business with security requirements, government entities, anyone that creates lots of emails (we have two large groups of mobile users, one primarily consumes data and they've all switched to iphone, the other group primarily uses their phones to communicate and so they've stayed on Blackberry, we told both groups we don't care which way you decide to go, we'll support either) and anyone still on Lotus Notes or who have developed large numbers of inhouse apps for Blackberry (many companies have dispatch apps that are gateways to their greenscreens where the cost to develop a new application far outweighs any potential benefit of going to another platform).

Re:I wish them luck (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year and a half ago | (#42364017)

I never did understand why being so closely tied to a specific company and its servers was viewed as good for privacy and security.

Re:I wish them luck (3, Informative)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365465)

RIM designed their platform end to end with security in mind. Every phone they make has security baked in at the hardware level. Then they provide enterprise/government customers with their own BlackBerry Enterprise Server [crackberry.com] (BES) which when properly configured encrypts all traffic going over the network. The security is so good the Indian government almost banned BlackBerries [cnet.com] entirely because they were unable to eavesdrop on them. But even if RIM gave them full access to their network it wouldn't help them since the encryption keys are held by the BES admin of the enterprise or government that runs them.

Re:I wish them luck (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year and a half ago | (#42367957)

It's probably because all the data is stored in a single server in Waterloo, and they have a small atom bomb next to it, with a proximity detector, so if anybody comes to close to it, the bomb goes off and all the data remains safe.

Re:I wish them luck (1)

Barefoot Monkey (1657313) | about a year and a half ago | (#42363895)

Africans. Blackberry is the single best-selling brand of smartphone in South Africa, and the second-best-selling (after Nokia) brand of cellphones cellphones in general.

Do Not RIP Yet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42363253)

Personally i never bought anything from RIM (I think), but for the tech-diversity, I hope they don't die.

Re:Do Not RIP Yet (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42371445)

Having just started working for RIM at their Sunrise FL development center so do I!
I must confess that until I joined the company I was not all familiar with their phone products. My family and I had recently got Samsung Galaxy series smart phones on AT&T, to replace our "dumb" tracphones. Now I have a company issued Blackberry curve as well. The curve has a smaller screen, and a built in keyboard, it's not in the same "market class" as my Samsung Galaxy smart phone (Blackberry DOES make larger phones that ARE). I am very impressed by the Curve though. Voice quality is very good, it doesn't sound "digitized" like the Samsung does (on the SAME network). Also the battery life is very good. I have to charge the Sammy every day or it will go dead, even if hardly used. The Curve can go days between charging. I've been told that the Blackberry firmware is heavily optimized for battery life. BTW President Obama has a Blackberry (his choice).

lol (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42363407)

like two fat chicks fighting over which one smells better. You both reek of sweat and fried chicken.

So who was the winner ... err ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42363429)

.. I feel unable to use the words "winner" and either of above companies in same sentence.

@Lawyers: congrats on duping these companies into solving litigation now. Why not let it drag through the courts a couple more years? Hee ...

Smart (1)

mewsenews (251487) | about a year and a half ago | (#42363803)

Both companies are struggling majorly and it's good they were able to resolve this so that they can try to focus on developing competitive products.

Re:Smart (1)

thoughtlover (83833) | about a year and a half ago | (#42364355)

That's exactly what I was thinking. Paying lawyers for decades on-end only cuts away at their bottom-line. And, they can't pass those losses off to the consumer by raising prices too much, lest they get offended and buy some cheap Android. My friend has a Windows 8 phone and he's really regretting the purchase. I'm not too keen on BBs, but I'd like to see them stick around for the sake of competition and choice...if even, some new technology they create. RIM seems to me that they rested on their laurels for too long and are now scrambling.

Re:Smart (4, Insightful)

narcc (412956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365313)

Scrambling would mean they'd have released BB10 phones early this year instead of early next year (as was suspected). However, while it clearly hurt them in the short term, they took their time with the move from the old BBOS to the new shiny QNX / BB10 OS. This is a good thing.

I honestly don't think that they were "resting on their laurals" -- they've always produced new and interesting form-factors, some successful (Pearl) and some not (Style) even when they were the clear market leader. They didn't just keep pushing out the same iconic phone with incremental updates year over year. It was their bread and butter, no doubt, but even that didn't stay static. Compare, for example, the 7290, 8800, and 9900 to see how much risk they took with that iconic form-factor over the years.

They weren't ready for the shift in the market post-iPhone and they made some stupid mistakes. Rather than continue to stumble around, they took some time made some great acquisitions (Torch Mobile, QNX, The Astonishing Tribe, etc.) and built a great new platform, focused on the future. From what we've seen so far, the results are fantastic; well worth the wait, even if the long transition period was painful. (They haven't released a new flagship model in more than a year now -- I'm astonished that they've only shown two quarterly losses (the most recent less than the previous) and that they've continued to increase their cash reserves. This is also the first quarter that they didn't gain users. Things could have been a lot worse for them had they not focused so heavily on emerging markets over the past two years.)

It'll be interesting to see what happens to Apple if they continue the annual incremental upgrade route that is oft cited as the cause of RIM's difficulties over the past few years. Will they be forced to make a similar transition to stay relevant?

Re:Smart (1)

Barsteward (969998) | about a year and a half ago | (#42367665)

I'm hoping that the hardware is going to be the bigger screens so they can get back to producing a phone that has a slightly larger real keyboard, like the old 6710 or 37 series.

Re:Smart (1)

narcc (412956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42367869)

RIM has been keeping the N-Series phone under tight wraps. This is what we think we know: 720×720 display measuring 52-53mm wide somehow at 330 PPI -- weird, as you'd figure to keep the display square, each side would need to be ~2.18" with a ~3.08" diagonal or ~55mm width.

Someone [gdgt.com] figured that if the display isn't square what some possible aspect ratios could be (I haven't checked them, insomnia and laziness go hand-in-hand):
Resolution | PPI | Diag | Ratio | H... | W...
720×720... | 330 | 3.1" | 16:10 | 1.6" | 2.6"
720×720... | 330 | 3.1" | 16:09 | 1.5" | 2.7"
720×720... | 330 | 3.1" | 04:03 | 1.9" | 2.5"

That would be some crazy stretching though. I don't know that we'll see a cool portrait oriented keyboard phone this generation. Pure speculation: I agree that it would be nice, I just don't think it's going to happen. If we get anything in the future, I'd put my money on a 1280x720 landscape display on a keyboard model -- just like the display on the L-Series (all-touch models).

Editing Award (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42365049)

What amazing editing on that summary. So Nokia and BB resolved outstanding patent legislation. We'll have to see how this effects their litigation.
And $9 million in profits is 97% down from $265 million earnings in a previous period. Can't we have a comparison of profits to profits? Or earnings to earnings? Lower profits than earnings is pretty common.

Re:Editing Award (1)

narcc (412956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366383)

Making a ridiculous comparison makes the headline more sensational. Saying something accurate like "3Q Fiscal 2013: Revenue ~2.7 Billion down 5% from the previous quarter and ~47% from last year (3Q Fiscal 2012 Revenue: ~5.2 billion, up 24% from the previous quarter)" isn't quite as dramatic.

RIM posted their second quarterly loss (114 million), which is lower than the previous loss (235 million) from last quarter -- yet, again, their cash balance increased -- this time by 600 million (to ~2.9 Billion)

Expect a third loss in Q4 (Dec, Jan, Feb) with BB10 is set to launch January 30th (which is expected to hurt BBOS 7 sales leading up to the launch) and a major marketing campaign leading up to and following the launch.

Reality isn't really all that exciting, is it?

Make your money and exit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42365233)

Why do successful companies fail to see they have peaked? After collecting billions of dollars, the board should dismantle the company and split the loot between the creditors and shareholders. Instead, they insist on burning the hard-earned cash in futile resurrection attempts.

Re:Make your money and exit (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42371473)

If Apple had followed your advice a few years ago (before Jobs returned) what would have (NOT) happened?

Hail Mary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42365243)

Ok, so BB10 is a hail mary pass.

My big question is: what's next? Any good business should have a plan in place to continue innovation past their next release.

All I've seen so far is it's BB10 in hopes to keep the lights on.

I think it's time for RIM to turn the lights off and go home.

Re:Hail Mary (2)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about a year and a half ago | (#42367403)

Just because you haven't seen what they're up to doesn't mean they aren't innovating. [youtube.com]

how much did they give, $10? (-1, Flamebait)

youn (1516637) | about a year and a half ago | (#42367041)

can't be much more, considering sales and pace of innovation of both manufacturers :p

Re:how much did they give, $10? (1)

FizzyPop (57547) | about a year and a half ago | (#42372845)

The dead feeding off the dying

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