RIM not permanently damaged


Technology analysts and patent attorneys say RIM did not sustain permanent damage, and rivals didn’t get an upper hand, as the case dragged on. “RIM’s reputation … has not been tarnished in such a way that it cannot recover,” says Kevin Burden, mobile-device analyst for researcher IDC.

RIM may have agreed to pay NTP 612.5 million but it’s also paying in lost subscriber growth, at least in the short term. It said it added 620,000 to 630,000 accounts in its fiscal fourth quarter – below the 700,000 to 750,000 it had forecast. RIM said the widely publicized patent fight caused potential customers to “defer” signing new contracts. The result is a revenues for the fourth quarter will be flat.

Had the case worn on, Burden said, RIM’s customers might have started considering other options, including new entrants Microsoft and Nokia, joining long-standing rival Palm.

Shares of Palm were down about 4%, to $40.40, after hours, reflecting its lost opportunity to gain business, Ben Bollin, an analyst at FTN Midwest Securities.