Judge blows Lawsuits in Motion a Raspberry

Merge or die, we say

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A California Judge has dealt a setback to Research in Motion's attempt to prevent Good Technology from selling its copycat pager in the United States. Judge Ikola, in Orange County, Ca. denied RIM a request for a restraining order against Good.

In a blizzard of litigation, RIM has sued Good four times this year, and recently put Handspring Inc. in its gunsights, too. But you can see why RIM is peeved. While Good claimed the decision vindicated its own "innovation", the fact is the upstart is depressingly similar to RIM in almost every respect, has cloned its business model, technology architecture and hardware, and hired key RIM staff.

Both Good and Lawsuits In Motion have sought to license their respective technologies, and Good struck a partnership with Palm last week to enable Palm devices to link to Good infrastructure.

But it all might end up as a bootnote in American wireless history. Oxygen is tight in a market in which four players - LIM, Good, Palm and Handspring - are all trying to compete. They all face common enemies: Microsoft and Nokia/Sony/Symbian. The Beast owns much of the messaging server infrastructure, and the handset manufacturers companies can now offer superior devices, and stronger carrier relationships. Alas it's true: you can't get into enterprise messaging by avoiding Microsoft Exchange, and RIM, Good and Palm with its Tungsten software are all attempting to crack the nut. And likewise, the handset manufacturers - Nokia and Ericsson - have the deep (some say too deep, but we appreciate the ecology here) relationships with the carriers, and some fantastic technology.

Nokia alone employs 20,000 engineers, and Microsoft only slightly fewer. There is a common foe for this bold foursome.

So why don't they all merge? With Jeff and Donna running things, obviously.

It's just a thought. ®

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