Japans largest mobile phone carrier, NTT DoCoMo, has taken a $3 million equity stake in embedded Linux tools and support company MontaVista Software Inc.
NTT DoCoMo announced in December 2003 that it would adopt Linux for future 3G mobile phones, and its partners NEC and Panasonic chose MontaVista Linux to power a jointly developed Linux smart phone design meant for use with DoCoMos 3G FOMA (Freedom of Mobile multimedia Access) network.
The first phone based on the NEC/Panasonic design, NECs N900iL, became available to business subscribers last month. The device is a dual-network handset that works as both a 3G mobile phone and VOIP (voice over IP) terminal.
DoCoMo says it hopes its investment will enable it to "efficiently improve and develop" its Linux products. The company has also looked at using Linux on the infrasture side of its FOMA network.
The $3 million investment in MontaVista brings total investments in the privately held company to more than $75 million. MontaVistas last round of financing in April raised $7 million, and brought in new investors that included Siemens Venture Capital, Samsung Ventures America, Infineon Ventures, and China Development Industrial Bank.