TomTom flexes Linux muscle in Microsoft's face
Signs up to Open Invention Network
TomTom has belatedly joined a patent holding company, which champions the Linux ecosystem, in a clear message that the GPS maker won’t take its escalating legal spat with Microsoft lying down.
The Dutch firm said in a statement today that it had become a member of the Open Invention Network (OIN).
TomTom joins a long list of licensees that have signed up to the OIN since its inception in late 2005.
The group, which has some big backers in the open source community, including IBM, Novell and Red Hat, was founded with the sole aim of acquiring patents relating to Linux and offering them royalty-free to Linux developers.
TomTom has now thrown its name into the ring, and has probably bagged a few more supporters along the way in its noisy legal spat with Microsoft.
The software giant issued a lawsuit against TomTom in late February when it accused the firm of infringing eight of its patents.
Just last week TomTom hit back with a patent claim of its own in which it accused Microsoft’s Streets and Trips products of infringing four patents in the vendor’s vehicle navigation software.
“I'd say the Microsoft/TomTom battle just got bigger, and TomTom is in a stronger position than it was”, wrote Groklaw today in response to the OIN announcement. ®
@ross riles. Tomtom is a DUTCH company and thus SMART
They are -cheap-. Linux is free ( as in zero paid ) It doesn't come more free than that.
The end goal of Tomtom , just as any other company, is to make money for their stockholders. Anything else is irrelevant.
I take this free thing here , wrap it in a plastic bag and people pay me 5 bucks.... i call that easy money.
For years you could buy cd roms with the tucows collection on them. Anything on tucows could be downloaded for free. yet people still bought those cd's ...
drat i hit send to quickly
Besides : the bottom has fallen ou tof the GPS marrket. 3 years ago a tomtom was 500$. and that was software only. you provide the PDA running windows mobile.
Today you can find standalone gps with display maps, mp3 player for below 99$
tomorrow : who know. I envision going to mcdonalds and the clerk asking you want a gps with that ?
So if you can kick out the windows ce or windows mobile licence and replace it with a zeropaid os : all the more profit. I call those smart business man.
re: Death to software patents
Why single out software patents for death? There is very little distinguishing software patents from any other patents.
I've heard the argument that mathematical equations cannot be patented and all software can be written in a mathematical form, therefor software should not be patentable. But that argument can also be applied to mechanical contraptions. As your friendly CAD package knows, any mechanical device can be expressed as a set of numbers - loosely a mathematical equation.
I've heard the argument that software is just comprised of layers of pre-existing ideas. So too are any mechanical contrivances held together by screw or manufactured using drills etc.
With more and more embedded systems it is getting really hard to distinguish where the software begins and the hardware ends. That makes it even harder to draw a line between the two. Should a mechanical musical box be patentable, but a full software simulation of the same idea not be?
Surely software IP is as worth protecting as hardware IP, or conversely both should go. I've yet to see any rational reason to say that software patents should go while mechanical ones should stay.