IT Group Urges Moratorium In BlackBerry Shutdown


With many of its more than 3,000 members anxious about a threatened shutdown of Research in Motion’s Blackberry services, the Society of Information Management (SIM) is urging a six-month moratorium to give users an opportunity to implement alternative solutions.

“Even in the best of situations, we’re looking at a few weeks,” said Drew Farris, VP and CIO at Iron Age Corp., in an interview Wednesday. “It definitely could be weeks of downtime and it would be a fairly traumatic event for us.”

Iron Age, which markets safety shoes, has more than 100 Blackberries in use and they are crucial to the firm’s maintenance and support services. Although the 188-year-old firm operates many brick-and-mortar stores, it also has 100 mobile stores operating from trucks. With POS capability on the trucks and important maintenance and service requirements, Farris notes that Iron Age’s customer base is very technology-savvy.

Farris says he has instituted a contingency plan to acquire Treo handhelds if U.S. District Court Judge James R. Spencer issues an order that could result in the shutdown of the Blackberry service. In complex patent litigation, Research in Motion lost a jury trial to patent trolling company NTP Inc., which seeks hundreds of millions of dollars from RIM.

Farris said the six-month moratorium sought by SIM should be enough time for IT managers to cope if RIM’s service is required to be shutdown.

SIM prepared a filing for Judge Spencer, but no new arguments including SIM’s were accepted. In the filing, SIM said: “A cease and desist injunction allowing fewer than six months for execution would render thousands of businesses unable to conduct business in the normal course. It would create a run on alternative products that the current marketplace cannot meet.”