What is NTP’s motive?

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After NTP walked away from a $450 million settlement more than a few eyebrows lifted. People were wondering, how can a company with no overhead, no product, and just a few generic patents not take it and run away laughing all the way to the bank. To put that amount in perspective, $450 million is $200 million more than the revenue of Afghanistan. That $450 million would have been almost pure profit seeing how NTP is just a holding company with no physical assets. The biggest expense would have been the legal fees but even NTP saves on those seeing how the man in charge Donald Stout is a patent lawyer himself. NTP’s public reason for not settling is that they couldn’t hammer out future royalty sales.

With so much money left on the table, some people were wondering if someone else was pulling some strings. Questions about why is NTP fighting so hard when they can settle with RIM and then move on and charge licensing fees for every other company that want to enter the market like Microsoft. If there was someone backing NTP, they would have to be fairly large to convince NTP to walk away from $450 million. The only companies we can think of are Nokia which has already licensed the NTP patents and Microsoft which have taken the opportunity to raise their profile for their push email product. Possibly Palm but their profits aren’t as large as the other two.

The conspiracy theorists in us may eat this stuff up but when you think it through it doesn’t make any sense. What do these companies have to gain by backing NTP, Microsoft and Nokia are not even close to releasing anything close that can compete with the Blackberry technology. If Blackberrys shutdown tomorrow, there will be no serious alternative from Microsoft or Nokia. Blackberry users would just install the workaround or pray that RIM settles with NTP.

So that leaves us with NTP actually being that greedy that they could and will walk away from $450 million.

Post your thoughts, we would like to hear what you think about all of this …

  • John
    Interesting question. I don't understand RIMs motivation either. All they are doing is losing market share and forcing people who had accepted the Berry as a standard to look at other devices seriously.

    I know something about patents and I started reading one of the NTP patents. OMG. It was written to confuse the issue no doubt.

    I'm also wondering why they thing patenting push technology is legit. At the time Skytel was pushing messages and storing them on a server. I remember being able to retrieve messages that had been sent.

    It was a feature they built in since pagers always lost signal. This was like 1992 - 1993. So there's your prior art. Then there is the question of it being obvious to someone reasonably skilled in the technical area. I think they fail on that one too.

  • GMS
    Ever watched "Deal or No Deal"? NTP reminds me of the greedmongers who take it too far, seeming to risk riches they may never find in their lifetime, for a chance at something only bigger.
    NTP finds itself with several offers, any of which should be sufficient to satisfy their grievance, but they seem hell-bent on a) a bigger offer, or more sinister b)crippling Blackberry service.
    This may ultimately play out leaving them with egg on their face and having to settle for an offer well below what they've seen in the past.
    We'll cast the Judge as the Banker, NTP as the contestant, and RIMM co-CEO's as Howie Mandel. In the audience is the NTP's founders widow - cheering on the David to go for more, draw some blood from that evil Goliath that is RIMM.
    Interesting. . .
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