When news broke that Microsoft (MSFT) was suing Dutch GPS-maker TomTom for patent infringement, we recommended Microsoft settle the suit immediately at any cost, or face a PR backlash from geeks with a near-religious devotion to Linux and the open source movement.
But we didn’t predict this: Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation wrote about the suit, urging Linux fans to “calm down.”
And they did. So Microsoft has some breathing room, for a bit.
We’re hoping these two companies can still come to an amicable arrangement. We still think if TomTom continues to play hardball things could get ugly for Microsoft down the road. And we also think defending itself from a prolonged attack from Microsoft’s lawyers can’t be good for TomTom.
The key for Microsoft is to be able to maintain its long-standing premise that elements of Linux violate its patents, without actually having to prove so in court. A settlement with TomTom — sealed by NDA — accomplishes that.