The RIM Recession

6:00 PM -- Do you think Judge James Spencer got a call from Karl Rove this week?

Of course I would never suggest that the Bush Administration would try to tamper with a civil litigation before the federal courts -- that would be illegal -- but I'm guessing that President Bush's economic and political advisers are relieved that Judge Spencer chose not to let fall the guillotine he's holding over the head of Blackberry-maker BlackBerry today. (See RIM Wins Reprieve.)

Various outlandish figures as to the economic effect of a Blackberry shutdown have been tossed around, to the degree that you'd think the New York Stock Exchange would close, every corporate lawyer in America would have an embolism, and small Southeast Asian nations would suffer coups d'etat. RIM itself has pegged the cost to the U.S. economy of a Blackberry shakedown at $25 billion. If that seems high, analysts and business users put the cost of switching over to alternative mobile email solutions at around $850 per user. Let's see, at 2 million affected users this country, that'd be $1.7 billion.

Hey, a billion-and-a-half here and a billion-and-a-half there and soon you're talking real money.

The last thing George Bush needs right now, on top of talk of impeachment, ongoing turmoil in Iraq, and a brewing GOP congressional scandal, is an economic downturn thanks to the shutdown of a piece of technology. Can't you see the headlines? RIM Recession! Black Bear-y Market!

It's amazing to think, now, that the engines of capitalism somehow turned for centuries, pre-1998 (when the Blackberry was first introduced). God help us, and our lame-duck president, if Judge Spencer wakes up in a foul mood on Monday.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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