Clearly, the settlement between NTP and Research In Motion that will enable BlackBerries to remain operational is good news. While never a guarantee, a settlement always was the most likely outcome. Companies smart enough to develop innovative technology and market it successfully generally are smart enough to not throw it all away in court.
On Friday, I posted a blog item suggesting that small companies look for alternatives to BlackBerry. Absolutely nothing that happened later in the day changes that. For companies that rely on the device, having a Plan B—whether they use to invoke it immediately, later, or not at all—is clearly in their best interests.
The immediate danger has been eliminated. The reality, however, is that many companies—Visto, Seven, Good Technology, Microsoft and others—have recognized the valuable of this market sector. This means innovations and good deals.
The RIM/NTP fight happened in parallel with two other trends: The explosive growth of mobility and the realization by vendors and service providers that the small business market is ascendant. Put these all together and you will get a small business mobile email market that is vibrant and filled with new technology and good deals.
For a small business, simply breathing a sigh of relief that NTP and RIM settled is one response—but not the best. The better response is to start (or continue) exploring email platforms and plans and find the one that are better suited to the company's particular needs.