TomTom and Microsoft Settle: Now Back to the Real World - Page 2

Rob Enderle

Microsoft: Risk Exceeded Reward


Microsoft is under review by the EU with regard to two of its keystone products, Windows 7 and IE. This was a far less than ideal time for Microsoft to appear to be stomping on a European company with significant financial problems. This is a lesson it should have learned from Netscape which, after it died, has done (and continues to do) more damage to Microsoft than any surviving competitor has ever done.


There is an old saying about never kicking a dying man. TomTom appeared to be failing and was likely to lash out, as it did, creating untimely problems for Microsoft. It is still likely that whatever revenue Microsoft gets from this deal will be overwhelmed by difficulties with the EU resulting from the coverage.


Wrapping Up


Fighting battles in public can drive lots of press coverage but there is very little control over that coverage. In this instance, which showcased reactive management on all sides, no one strategically benefited from this dispute and the outcome never really seemed to be in doubt. TomTom agreed to stop using the largely obsolete FAT technology that FLOSS was concerned about (something that others under the GPL should think of doing as well) and will pay for the Microsoft technology it continues to use. This really isn't rocket science.


This equates to a lot of damage to FLOSS' credibility, Tom Tom's likelihood of survival is reduced, and Microsoft's anti-trust defense is weakened for a small amount of fleeting press coverage. At least with Microsoft, the press coverage wasn't intended, but its likelihood was also never in doubt. In all cases, this reflects what appears to be a lack of strategic thinking and if there was ever a year to think strategically, 2009 is that year.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Mar 31, 2009 1:06 AM Anonymous Insider Anonymous Insider  says:

FLOSS and its non-pacifist agenda...

While there's a distance in between open-source and free software in regard to quality (I'll post later quotes by Raymond and Stallman) both movements share a goal: non-pacificist agendas.

Here is a quote from Stallman from 1989: "I agree that my stubborn refusal to cooperate with a project, such as porting GCC to AU/X, is a form of hostilities.  If I treated innocent people that way, it would be wrong.  However, treating aggressors this way is justified and necessary.  I am not a pacifist."


For more on free software and Stallman see


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