07:30 AM

IBM Taps Trolltech For Linux-Based Mobile Devices

Norwegian software maker's suite will serve as an alternative to competing technology from Palm and Microsoft.

OSLO, Norway (AP) -- IBM said Thursday it would use software maker Trolltech's Linux-based software suite, Qtopia, on future mobile devices as an alternative to competing Palm and Microsoft PocketPC technology.

Oslo-based Trolltech received an undisclosed, upfront payment for the deal, said to be worth $10 million to $20 million in license fees over the next three years, Trolltech spokeswoman Tonje Sund said.

Each sale of an IBM mobile device will generate the fee, much like its arrangement when Qtopia was tapped to power to the Sharp Zaurus line of PDAs.

Qtopia software offers mobile Linux users the look and feel of a work environment similar to Microsoft's Windows.

IBM's Pervasive Computing Group, based in Santa Clara, Calif., said the inclusion of Trolltech in its Linux platform will enable development of new devices running the increasingly popular open-source Linux platform.

"This is a huge step forward for the mobile systems market and for embedded Linux," Trolltech chief executive Haavord Nord said. "Together with Qtopia, IBM's reference platform opens the door for a whole new generation of embedded Linux devices designed from the ground up for an increasingly mobile workforce.'"

Trolltech is a privately held company of 75 employees.

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