At first glance, the news item earlier this week didnt look that significant: NTT DoCoMo, the huge Japanese telecom, announced it will urge its handset suppliers to build Linux-based phones. So? Lots of companies urge other companies to do things every day. Big deal.
Thats exactly what it is. A big deal. Were about to watch the famous trickle-down theory start to work wonders for Linux mobile development.
Let me tell you a story. There are clear parallels here.
Thursday morning I attended a briefing at IBMs Partnership Solutions Center in San Mateo, Calif. I listened as a start-up called Evant, Inc. gave an update: A scant one year ago, it was a 12-person operation in a little office in San Francisco. Managers had a good software product (a browser-based retail merchandise reporting application), some faithful investors, and lots of hope. But they were about to run out of money, and things looked grim indeed. They needed just one big retail client to put them over the top, and they had a big fish on the hook in Staples, Inc. But they couldnt land it by themselves, because they were not an established entity. Evant was on track to become yet another high-tech VC casualty.
However, Evant found the right ally at exactly the right time in IBM.
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