Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sprint Versus Blackboard

I could see why Sprint would want an exclusivity deal such as this, but Blackboard would have to be crazy to lock themselves into one carrier. Either the contract has enough wiggle room in it that Blackboard can assert that the apps are exclusive to Sprint cellular spectrum, but use over wifi is unrestricted or Blackboard is violating the terms of the agreement. Clearly Sprint's lawyers think that Blackboard is violating the terms of the agreement.

Sprint Sues Blackboard Over Its iPhone and iPad Applications:
Sprint agreed to pay Blackboard millions of dollars last year to offer a free mobile version of its popular course-management software that would work over Sprint’s network, but not those of competitors like Verizon or AT&T.

Sprint officials reasoned that colleges would flock to the free version of the software, Mobile Learn. And because only Sprint customers could use the software with Android, BlackBerry and Palm phones, college students would have a powerful incentive to sign up with Sprint.

But the deal apparently didn’t work out as Sprint had hoped. The communications giant sued Blackboard last month, alleging that Blackboard’s iPhone and iPad versions of Mobile Learn violated Sprint’s right to exclusivity because they can access the Internet over campus wireless networks. Sprint has also withheld nearly $3-million in referral fees from Blackboard since May, according to legal filings.

Blackboard officials say they believe the contract precludes their application only from using the cellular signals of Sprint competitors. Allowing students to use campus Wi-Fi networks is allowed, the company argued.

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