If ICANN comes up on the winning end of a (November 12th) "breach of contract" legal squabble with Verisign, then 2007 might be the year we see a new registry in control of the coveted .com.
In a report from Yahoo News Austrailia :
"ICANN claimed that VeriSign violated the .com and .net contracts when it tried to introduce services such as Site Finder and Waiting List Service, on the basis that the company should have sought ICANN approval first.
If the California court were to agree with ICANN, then ICANN could gain the power to revoke VeriSigns presumption of renewal when the highly lucrative .com registry" contract comes up for renewal in 2007."
The recent ICANN initiated court litigations come at very volitile time for the tld registry heavyweight. Verisigns contract as official .net overseer, expires in June of 2005, and from the looks of the competition in the bid race. It'll be fierce.
"The .net registry has been operated by VeriSign or its predecessor, Network Solutions, since 1993. VeriSign now is competing against several other providers of domain name registries, including Afilias and NeuLevel, to keep its .net business. Denic, the German nonprofit organization that operates the .de country code top-level domain, is another potential competitor."
"For now, ICANN says it is taking pains to avoid the lawsuit causing bias or a perception of bias in the .net selection process. ICANN will use independent technical and financial experts to score the candidates, and the ICANN board will then pick the highest scorer."
source: Yahoo News Austrailia
According to Circle ID, December 7/2004 is the due date when a California court will decide to hold the case before it or put it in the hands of an international arbitration proceeding
All eyes are focused on who will be crowned .net king, schedualed for a March of '05 announcement, but the next few weeks could lay the foundation for an even bigger battle. A legal fight that could set the stage to who'll end up holding the keys to the .com registry, or rather, who won't be in two short years.