Free patent pledges are easier for larger vendors to make than smaller companies, and IBMs leadership in patents (it has been at the head of the IT patent approval parade for over a decade) gives the company a lot of leeway for such efforts, said analyst Charles King of Pund-IT, in Hayward, Calif. "But the OSGi announcement isnt an IBM-only show; Nokia, Samsung, Gatespace and ProSyst all have some interesting IP to share," King said."What I really think is going on here is an effort to broaden access to the aims and benefits of OSGi by publicly opening access to IP that was previously available only to group members. One result: Smaller companies that work in areas related to OSGi Service Platform 4 should benefit by being able to access free IP from the big guys. Another result: the broader adoption of OSGi standards for Java development."How this new incentive will be viewed and used really depends on the individual vendor and developer, King said. "Many vendors use IP as a carrot to encourage developers efforts, while others use it as a revenue generator," he said. "What makes this announcement interesting is the concept of vendors using IP as a lever to tip developers toward cost-effective OSGi methodologies." Founded in March 1999, the OSGi Alliance (formerly known as the Open Services Gateway initiative) in San Ramon, Calif., the organization serves as a clearinghouse for a collaborative ecosystem of service providers, developers, manufacturers and consumers. It has 34 member companies and about 300 user groups scattered around the world, an alliance spokesman said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.