back to article TomTom flexes Linux muscle in Microsoft's face

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 …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. MnM

    I feel all warm and fuzzy

    There is so much good in the world :)

    I'm a vista using hypocrite, but my armchair is oh so comfy

  2. Tim Bates

    Death to software patents!

    Software patents are silly to start with, but the silliness in the legal departments is even worse.

    And to top it off, about 2/3rds of the patents these companies go on about are invalid anyway due to prior existing "inventions" from other companies or people.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Bullying biter blighter bitten back.... were it hurts. Its ego.

    "You're a fly, we've swatted you with our patent Linux (is the Linux patent?) lawsuit!......Ohhh sh..."

    Now, all we need is for the EU to get a bit more steel and pepper in its anti trust pursuits, reversals in some other cases for MS and they might start to feel it's time to look to a competitive future.

  4. cor

    Go Tom Tom

    You were the naughty boys who tried to implement Linux privately outside the GPL but fessed up and made good. Now is your chance to earn a place on the open source round table... :)

    Now get on with it, and kick thier FUDdy arses.

  5. Ross Ryles

    TomTom Linux

    TomTom are so pro-Linux... until you try connecting you TomTom to your Linux desktop.

  6. lIsRT

    @ Ross Ryles

    Indeed - it's the only reason I haven't bought one yet.

    (Not that Garmin, Magellan etc. are any better...)

  7. Henry Wertz Gold badge
    Jobs Horns

    Ahh good ol' patent MAD

    Ahh, good ol' patent MAD -- Mutually Assured Destruction. Microsoft can try to get some injunction to pull TomTom off the market or get a large fine for them, TomTom (especially with the patent pool of OIN) can try to pull Microsoft's products off the market or get a large fine for them. Or, as MAD worked out as a cold war nuclear deterrent, they can both decide not to sue. Good times all around!

    I must agree -- software patents are broken. The whole point of patents was to make sure if someone spent all the time and money to work out a working prototype for an invention (which, for a physical product, could get quite pricey given the likely failures before the full prototype was developed), that they could recoup the R&D and make a bit of a profit. NOT for software algorithms and business methods, where the R&D cost is essentially zero -- someone just comes up with the idea and the costs are the cost of a lawyer to write the patent and sue people for violating it.

    I think TomTom's management probably agrees software patents are broken (and OIN does as well), they're strictly using these defensively. Microsoft? They are looking for new revenue streams, and suing people for patents is one of them.

  8. Charles Manning

    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.

  9. vincent himpe

    @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 ...

  10. vincent himpe

    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.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019