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OSDL gains another global heavyweight

Dec 6, 2005 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

[Updated Dec. 9, 2005] — One of the largest global electrical engineering and electronics firms has joined the OSDL (Open Source Development Labs). Siemens, also one of the world's best-known consumer electronics brands, says it will contribute to the OSDL's Carrier Grade, Mobile Linux, and Data Center working groups.

Siemens ranked 21st among the world's largest companies in Fortune Magazine's 2005 “Global 500” listings, and is likely the OSDL's third-largest member, behind IBM (20th on Fortune's list) and NTT-DoCoMo (18th). It netted $83.3B for fiscal 2005, with an income of $2.248B, and employs 461,000, or about 130,000 more people than IBM.

Siemens's mobile phone division struggled badly in 2005, however. According to Gartner, the company actually shipped fewer phones year-over-year in 2005 than 2004, despite a booming market. In the process, it dropped from the fourth largest mobile phone vendor, with 6.9 percent marketshare, to sixth largest worldwide with a 4.7 percent share.

Siemens in June sold its mobile phone operations to Taiwanese ODM (original design manufacturer) BenQ, which has also licensed the rights to use the Siemens name for a year, and the Siemens-BenQ name for five.

Siemens has explicitly stated that it plans to work with the OSDL's Mobile Linux Initiative working group, suggesting it may plan to re-enter the mobile phone market later with more advanced, Linux-based products. The consumer electronics giant demonstrated a Linux-based mobile phone design capable of playing back digital broadcast TV earlier this year.

According to the OSDL, Siemens has extensive experience solving complex Linux problems. Siemens maintains a “Corporate Competence Center for Embedded Linux,” which it describes as a “strong international team of Linux and Open Source experts dedicated to the advanced use of Linux and Open Source within the entire company.”

Siemens's head of software and engineering, Reinhold Achatz, said, “We see OSDL as a setting in which we can work with other vendors, as well as customers and the development community, to bring high quality products to our customers.”

OSDL CEO Stuart Cohen said, “Siemens brings enormous global experience with large-scale Linux deployments in a wide range of markets. We look forward to tapping their Linux expertise.”

Thanks to astute reader Joel West for pointing us to information about BenQ's acquisition of Siemen's mobile unit

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