While clearly glad to have its court battle with NTP over, Research In Motion ( RIMM) is leaving the scuffle bloodied and battered. Whether -- and how quickly -- the company will recover are likely the key questions facing the BlackBerry email provider -- and its stock. The company's most noticeable and immediate injuries were the $612.5 million it paid to settle the dispute with NTP, the disappointing fourth-quarter numbers it now expects to report and slowing subscriber growth . But the case could have a longer-lasting effect by giving a boost to rivals who stayed out of the fray with NTP. On a conference call Friday afternoon, RIM officials tried to reassure the market that the company wouldn't spend long convalescing. Customers cut back on their deployments of BlackBerry systems in recent months when a court-ordered injunction against the system looked like a distinct possibility, acknowledged co-CEO Jim Balsillie on the call. But no carrier or customer cut ties with RIM as a result of the legal dispute, he said. Meanwhile, the company expects to announce a "raft" of new partnerships in coming months, he said. "Our opportunities and prospects are orders of magnitude greater than the settlement amount ," said Balsillie. And at least initially, the market seemed to react more with relief that the fight with NTP was finally over than any concern over RIM's future health. In after-hours trading following word of the deal Friday, RIM's stock surged more than 20%, before cooling slightly. But at least some investors were already betting that RIM's victory in ending the battle with NTP was a Pyrrhic one. The legal dispute was always "smoke and mirrors," says David Schamens, a portfolio manager for Charlotte, N.C.-based Invictus Funds, which has less than $100 million under management. Now that the battle's over, RIM will have to face up to the real fight on its hands: competition from the likes of Microsoft ( MSFT), he says.