BlackBerry injunction not likely to open federal doors for Palm

With the possible shutdown of the popular BlackBerry devices, it would seem a natural opening for feds to switch to the Treo handheld from Palm Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif.

But one industry analyst said Palm is unlikely to make any deep inroads into the federal sector should Research in Motion Ltd. lose its patent infringement battle with NTP Inc. of Arlington, Va.

Alan Webber, senior government analyst with Forrester Research Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., said a recent partnership between Palm and BlackBerry developer RIM, in which Palm's new Treo 650 smart phone will use RIM's BlackBerry Connect back-end infrastructure, will limit Palm's reach in the federal sector.

'Would [an injunction] open a door? Maybe,' Webber said. 'But it won't be that big a door.'

With the new Palm Treos outfitted with the BlackBerry infrastructure, Webber said, any injunction against RIM also would affect Palm's ability to sell to agencies. 'They're pushing products based on the RIM software,' Webber said.

In October, Palm and RIM made their announcement and said that BlackBerry-capable Treo 650 smart phones would be available early next year.

Under the agreement, the Treo 650 and future Treo products will have push-based wireless e-mail via the BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

'The fact is, BlackBerry is the most effective [software] tool out there,' Webber said.

Palm officials could not be reached for comment.

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