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    Thursday, November 29, 2012

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    Reuter site - BlackBerry maker RIM loses patent dispute with Nokia

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    BlackBerry maker RIM loses patent dispute with Nokia

    Wed, Nov 28 13:13 PM EST

    By Tarmo Virki

    HELSINKI (Reuters) - BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd (RIM) has lost a dispute over the use of Nokia Oyj patents, in a case which could halt the sale of RIM products if it does not reach a new royalties deal with the Finnish company.

    The Swedish arbitrator ruled RIM was not entitled to make or sell mobile devices which can hook up to WiFi networks - using technology known in the trade as WLAN or wireless local access network systems - without first agreeing royalties with Nokia.

    "RIM is liable to pay royalties and damages to Nokia for its ... sales of any subscriber terminals (handsets or tablets) ... compatible with the WLAN standard," the arbitrator said in the ruling, issued on November 6 but not publicized until Wednesday.

    "RIM has not contested that it manufactures and sells products using WLAN in accordance with Nokia's WLAN patents," it added.

    The decision is a boost for Nokia which is trying to increase its royalty income as its phone business slides, and the group said it had filed cases in the United States, Britain and Canada to enforce the arbitrator's ruling.

    "This could have a significant financial impact to RIM, as all BlackBerry devices support WLAN," IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo said.

    A RIM spokesman declined comment.

    A source close to RIM said the arbitration ruling was unlikely to have any immediate ramifications, as Nokia still has to fight a number of legal battles for the arbitration panel's ruling to be recognized in different countries.

    But analysts said RIM would likely seek a royalty agreement with Nokia to avert any risk of sale bans.

    "The arbitration decision is not appealable and the U.S. Court can be expected to enforce the judgment by issuing an injunction against RIM, which would effectively put RIM out of business," said Alexander Poltorak, chief executive of patent consultancy General Patent Corp.

    "RIM has only one choice now - to license Nokia's patents," Poltorak said. "It should be a quick process. No substantive issue will be re-litigated. The U.S. court merely needs to enforce the verdict of the Swedish arbitration tribunal."


    RIM, a smartphone pioneer, hopes new devices using BlackBerry 10 software, due early 2013, will rescue it from a prolonged slump in the face of competition from the likes of Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

    "If a sales ban was imposed it would be a massive blow for RIM as it manages its transition to the new BlackBerry 10 software platform," said analyst Pete Cunningham at Canalys.

    RIM promises its new devices will be faster than previous smartphones and will have a large catalogue of applications, which are crucial to the success of any new line of smartphones.

    Shares in RIM were up 1.7 percent at $10.90 by 1146 ET on Nasdaq, while its Toronto-listed shares were up 11 Canadian cents at C$10.81.

    Nokia said it signed a cross-license agreement with RIM covering cellular patents in 2003, a deal that was amended in 2008. RIM sought arbitration in March 2011 with the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, arguing that license should be extended to cover WLAN patents.

    Nokia, along with Ericsson and Qualcomm Inc, is among the leading patent holders in the wireless industry. Patent royalties generate annual revenue of about 500 million euros ($646 million) for Nokia.

    Based on a Nortel patent sale and Google Inc's acquisition of Motorola Mobility, some analysts say Nokia's patent portfolio alone merits its current share price of around 2.50 euros.

    However, the patent market has cooled since those deals were made and some industry experts say the "fair value" of patents in large portfolios is between $100,000 and $200,000, pricing Nokia's portfolio at up to 0.50 euros per share.

    Nokia shares, which are heavily influenced by expectations of new smartphone model sales, were down 1 percent at 2.54 euros. The Wall Street Journal said the new Lumia 920 smartphone was worth considering but was heavy and thick.

    ($1=0.7733 euros)

    (Additional reporting by Euan Rocha in Toronto; Editing by David Goodman and David Holmes)

    Friday, November 23, 2012

    Reuter site - RIM shares play catch-up on the Nasdaq; trim gains in Toronto

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    RIM shares play catch-up on the Nasdaq; trim gains in Toronto

    Fri, Nov 23 15:32 PM EST

    By Euan Rocha

    TORONTO (Reuters) - Research In Motion's U.S.-listed shares played catch-up on Friday, surging more than 13 percent after the Thanksgiving holiday to match some of the gains the stock posted Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

    RIM's Toronto-listed shares surged more than 17 percent on Thursday, after National Bank analyst Kris Thompson boosted his price target on RIM to $15 from $12. Thompson argued that there is money to be made in the stock ahead of the early 2013 launch of a make-or-break line of BlackBerry devices.

    The Waterloo, Ontario-based company's stock was by far the most actively traded stock on the Nasdaq on Friday, with trading volumes topping those of U.S. tech giants such as Microsoft Corp, Intel Corp and Facebook.

    RIM shares rose 13.6 percent, or $1.40, to close at $11.66 in a shortened trading day in U.S. markets. The stock, also one of the most actively traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange on the day, pared some of its gains from Thursday to slip 38 Canadian cents to C$11.62 by 1500 ET.

    The BlackBerry maker, a one-time pioneer in the smartphone industry, hopes its new line of BlackBerry 10 devices will rescue it from a prolonged slump and help it win back market share lost to rivals such as Apple Inc's iPhone and the slew of devices that run on Google Inc's Android operating system.

    Barry Schwartz, vice president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services, believes that investors betting on RIM right now are speculating that the company can turn itself around, a tough task for any company in the ultra-competitive and fast-paced technology sector.

    "It's very hard for a technology company to turn themselves around. Apple did it years ago, Palm did a face plant. So you are buying the stock on hopes that the phone will do wonders," said Schwartz, who does not have any positions in the stock at this time.

    "You really have to be betting the farm that BlackBerry 10 is going to be the be-all and end-all in smartphones and encourage people to switch from Apple, Samsung or Android to switch back to BlackBerry," he said.

    (Reporting by Euan Rocha;editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    Reuter site - Software pioneer McAfee says framed for murder in Belize

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    Software pioneer McAfee says framed for murder in Belize

    Tue, Nov 13 12:40 PM EST

    BELIZE CITY (Reuters) - Computer security industry pioneer John McAfee says he has gone into hiding in Belize because he believes authorities there are trying to frame him for the murder of a neighbor, a crime he says he did not commit, according to Wired magazine.

    Belize police are searching for McAfee as "a person of interest" in a murder investigation.

    "You can say I'm paranoid about it, but they will kill me, there is no question. They've been trying to get me for months. They want to silence me," Wired quoted McAfee as saying on its website. "I am not well liked by the prime minister. I am just a thorn in everybody's side."

    The magazine reported that McAfee, 67, contacted one of its reporters by telephone after his neighbor Gregory Faull, was found dead on Sunday in a pool of blood. The 52-year-old American was apparently shot in the head.

    Police say McAfee had a history of conflict with Faull, whose post-mortem was expected to be conducted on Tuesday.

    McAfee, who amassed a fortune by building the anti-virus company that bears his name, has homes and businesses in the Central American country where police say he has lived for at least two years.

    It was not the first time McAfee, who has tattoos, a goatee and moustache, and a penchant for guns, has drawn police attention.

    His premises were raided earlier this year after he was accused of holding firearms, though most were found to be licensed. The final outcome of the case is pending.

    He was also suspected of running a lab to make the synthetic drug crystal meth.

    "He was suspected (of making crystal meth) but he was not convicted nor was he charged. He was only suspected," said Belize police spokesman Raphael Martinez.

    McAfee also owns a security company in Belize as well as several properties and an ecological enterprise.

    Reuters has been unable to reach McAfee, who police want to question.

    "It would be quite nice for him to come in and answer some of the questions that could lead to the closure of this case," Martinez said. "He is not wanted for murder, but he is wanted for questioning as a person of interest."

    The Belize police department has reached out to counterparts in neighboring Mexico and Guatemala, asking them to detain McAfee if he leaves Belize overland.

    McAfee was one of Silicon Valley's first entrepreneurs to amass a fortune by building a business off the Internet.

    The former Lockheed systems consultant started McAfee Associates in 1989, initially distributing anti-virus software as "shareware" on Internet bulletin boards.

    He took the company public in 1992 and left two years later following accusations that he had hyped the arrival of a virus known as Michelangelo, which turned out to be a dud, to scare computer users into buying his company's products.

    McAfee currently has no relationship with the software company, which has since been sold to Intel Corp.

    (Reporting by Jim Finkle in Boston, Jose Sanchez in Belize City and Simon Gardner in Mexico City; Editing by Kieran Murray and Doina Chiacu)

    Thursday, November 8, 2012

    Reuter site - Sony PlayStation certificate sparks talk China may lift console ban

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    Sony PlayStation certificate sparks talk China may lift console ban

    Wed, Nov 07 02:02 AM EST

    By Tim Kelly and Melanie Lee

    TOKYO/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Sony Corp's PlayStation 3 has received a certification of quality from a Chinese safety standards body, sparking speculation that China will end a decade-old ban on home game consoles.

    China has banned video game consoles since 2000, citing a need to protect the well-being of its young people. Some analysts cautioned against reading too much into Sony's new certificate, noting the organization that gave it has no regulatory authority.

    "The Ministry of Culture has the regulatory authority over the console segment and is the sole organization that can revoke the ban," said Lisa Cosmas Hanson, managing partner of U.S.-based video games consultancy Niko Partners.

    The China Quality Certification Centre website showed two models of the PlayStation 3, labeled "computer entertainment system" received approval this July. All products must pass the safety standard before they can be sold to Chinese consumers.

    Sony confirmed that it had received certification but remained tightlipped about whether this heralded an imminent entry for the PlayStation into the world's second-largest economy or whether the company needed further certificates.

    "This does not mean that we have officially decided to enter Chinese market," Sony spokeswoman Mai Hora said.

    "We recognize that China is a promising market so we will continuously study the possibility."

    Representatives for China's Ministry of Culture could not be reached for comment.

    But there has also been some precedent that China authorities are taking a less hard-line attitude towards game consoles.

    This year Lenovo Group launched Eedoo CT510, a motion sensing device that plays games similar in concept to Microsoft's Kinect extension for the Xbox game console, by touting by Eedoo as an "exercise and entertainment machine".

    Although video game consoles are banned in China, online gaming and games on mobile devices are deeply entrenched -- limiting the potential upside for Sony and rival game machine makers like Microsoft Corp and Nintendo Co Ltd.

    "It obviously has a huge population, but gamers in China have different consumption habits," said Piers Harding-Rolls, senior games analyst at IHS Screen Digest in London.

    "A lot of established gamers will use non-dedicated devices they have used over many years."

    Game machine makers would also have to find ways to ensure that piracy did not cut into their income from games software and other content, Harding-Rolls added.

    (Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

    Reuter site - RIM's BlackBerry 10 platform wins coveted U.S. security clearance

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    RIM's BlackBerry 10 platform wins coveted U.S. security clearance

    Thu, Nov 08 00:24 AM EST

    TORONTO (Reuters) - Research In Motion Ltd said on Thursday it has won a much-coveted U.S. government security clearance for its yet-to-be launched platform for BlackBerry 10 devices that are expected to hit store shelves in the first quarter of 2013.

    The company said its BlackBerry 10 platform has received the FIPS 140-2 certification, which would allow government agencies to deploy the devices, along with the new enterprise management platform to run the devices, as soon as the new smartphones are launched.

    RIM, a one-time pioneer in the smartphone industry, has seen its fortunes fade in recent years as nimbler rivals such as Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co have taken the game away from RIM with faster and snazzier devices. RIM's fate now depends almost entirely on the long-awaited line of so-called BB 10 devices.

    Last month, RIM said it had begun carrier tests on the new line of devices, which the company hopes will help it regain some of the market share it has ceded to the likes of Apple's iPhone and a slew of other devices that run on Google Inc's Android operating system.

    The Waterloo, Ontario-based company said this is the first time BlackBerry products have been FIPS certified ahead of launch.

    "Achieving FIPS certification for an entirely new platform in a very short period of time, and before launch, is quite remarkable," RIM's head of security certifications, David MacFarlane, said in a statement.

    FIPS certification, which is given by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is one of the minimum criteria that is required for products used by U.S. government agencies and regulated industries that collect, store, transfer, share and disseminate sensitive information.

    The stamp of approval gives confidence to security-conscious organizations - including some of RIM's top clients like U.S. and Canadian government agencies - that the data stored on smartphones running BlackBerry 10 can be properly secured and encrypted.

    RIM promises that BlackBerry 10 will deliver a better user experience, along with the ability to separately manage both one's corporate and personal data on the same device.

    (Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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