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Has BlackBerry Gone Sour?

When it comes to Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) , we here at have been playing Professor Positive for months now. And with good reason. The company captured the lead in personal digital assistants in April. Then, in June, it reported first-quarter results that left Foolish colleague W.D. Crotty blushing with pride. All has (mostly) been going well in the BlackBerry patch.

I say mostly because there have been several issues eating away at the franchise in the background, including the company's incessant patent wrangling with technology holding company NTP. Yesterday another issue surfaced. Privately held rival and NTP licensee Good Technology announced several new deals, including a major coup with Sprint (NYSE: FON  ) .

Good said it will make its GoodLink wireless email service directly available to Sprint customers. And that means smartphones available through Sprint PCS, including palmOne's (Nasdaq: PLMO  ) Treo 650, will be able to send and receive messages with roughly the same proficiency as the BlackBerry.

But what ought to be even more troubling for Research In Motion investors is the fact that Sprint recently became a reseller of the BlackBerry. And it was the last to adopt GoodLink among the five major U.S. carriers, reports. Good says more than 6,500 companies in 50 countries are using its wireless email service.

I'm sure I'll be inviting hate mail by saying so, but this deal and others like it are just the latest in a string of initiatives aimed at reducing the BlackBerry to mere commodity status. That won't happen overnight, of course. This is, after all, the CrackBerry we're talking about. But its secret sauce of "always-on" mobile email service is not so secret anymore. And that means, like an aging supermodel, the BlackBerry's place among the elite list of "it" gadgets is no longer assured.

Can't get enough of the CrackBerry? Don't worry, you needn't hang out on a street corner. We've got more for you right here:

  • What's your vote? All-for-one or free-for-all?
  • palmOne is out; Palm is back in.
  • Like I said, they don't call it the CrackBerry for nothing.

palmOne is one of David Gardner's market-beating picks forMotley Fool Stock Advisor. If you're looking for good companies at great prices, consider subscribing to the newsletter. Your portfolio will thank you.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers decided against a BlackBerry. He went with the Treo 600 instead. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out what's in his portfolio by checking Tim's Fool profile, which is here. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.

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Tim Beyers

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at or send email to For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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