OIN members include important players like IBM, Philips and Sony. On the other hand they also include Novell, whose original patent cross-license with Microsoft drives the controversy over Big Greens claims to own the Linux operating system.
By joining OIN TomTom lays claim to over 275 important patents and patent applications, at the cost of releasing its own IP to members.
OIN boilerplate is pretty clear on this, saying it is creating "a supportive and shielded ecosystem to ensure the growth and adoption of Linux."
It's one thing to intimidate a small company like TomTom, a Dutch maker of GPS systems who press reports say is struggling to survive.
It's another one to take on the OIN and all its members. But given Novell's paid leadership in the OIN group you have to ask whether TomTom didn't also just find a way to finesse this thing if the going gets tough.
Over at Consortiuminfo Andy Updegrove writes that the TomTom legal strategy can be compared with Ronald Reagan's strategy of economic confrontation with another empire.
Just as the iron curtain eventually fell when the illusion of the Soviet economic model could no longer be sustained, I believe that Microsoft's anti-FOSS strategy will eventually collapse as well - not from assault from the field, but due to an uprising from within.
Or, put more simply, Mr. Ballmer, tear down this wall.
Anyone have a Dutch translation of that handy? And if someone can send me a picture of the Microsoft CEO with Gorbachev's birthmark morphed onto it that would be fun, too.