The roller-coaster ride for Research In Motion’s BlackBerry product, as well as the gut-wrenching journey for those addicted ‘CrackBerry’ users, took a turn for the worse on Wednesday. A federal judge said that he will consider an injunction on Feb. 24, 2006, that would shut down all U.S. BlackBerry sales and service.
This epic patent infringement showdown between RIM and NTP has dragged on for quite some time now, and each time one side appears to score a win, the other is soon to wave the victory flag after the next legal skirmish. To paraphrase an old saying: NTP may have won this battle, but who’s going to win the war?
In a previous column that I wrote back in December, I asked if readers had a backup plan. I spoke with John Nallin, UPS’s VP of IS who was responsible for business continuity, among other things, and he said that UPS’s plan was simple: “If the BlackBerry is gone, we’ll issue everybody a Treo and be done.”
Unlike Nallin, it appears not everybody was expecting this outcome and had a plan in place. The Wall Street Journal ran a story that said that the latest ruling had some users “panicking.” Computerworld talked to some people who were “wiggin’ out” over the impending shutdown.
So here’s my two cents: Any CIO or IT manager responsible for their company’s mobile devices who hasn’t figured out a recovery plan for this situation by now probably shouldn’t be in that position. Hello? It’s called having a backup plan. There are plenty of alternatives to BlackBerrys out there (there’s blood in the water and the sharks are circling, and Microsoft is one of them), and smart IT people have been scheming a way to ensure business continuity if BlackBerry goes offline.
If you haven’t, you’ve got just under a month to prepare your systems and your users for a world without BlackBerry. If you have, then you can sit back and enjoy the roller-coaster ride, knowing full-well that you have prepared for the worst.