Harman International Industries Inc., manufacturer of Harman-Kardon and JBL audio lines, will acquire RTOS developer QNX Software Systems Ltd. for US$138 million in cash, pending Harman shareholder approval. QNX, which had been privately held, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Harman and keep its name, all employees and its offices in Ottawa. ""I think this was the right decision for QNX to make at this time,"" said QNX CEO Dan Dodge, who will remain in that position with the company he founded nearly 25 years ago. ""This was an opportunity for both companies to become much stronger,"" he said, which was necessary to continue competing with Microsoft, Wind River and other larger companies, he added. ""As the pace of technologies increases, we realized that we needed deeper pockets to fund some of the things we wanted to do.""
In addition to its well-known consumer and professional audio lines, Harman markets automotive systems under its Becker brand, competing for automaker dollars with Delphi and Johnson Controls. Both those companies are QNX customers.
Despite this obvious conflict, Dodge pledged to stay faithful to all parties. ""We intend to support all customers and remain in all the markets we're currently engaged in with greater access to funds. We have carte blanche to hire additional resources, and I think our customers, including those Harman might consider competitors, will find that service they receive from QNX will actually increase because we'll have more bodies available.""
Harman had been licensing QNX's Neutrino real-time operating system for automotive projects, Dodge said, but had yet to bring those projects to market. QNX software will now form the basis for all of Harman's so-called ""info-tainment"" systems, which include multimedia, navigation and eventually enterprise platforms. ""Ultimately that is the longer-term goal, but the infrastructure has to be in place first. Automotive [companies] are looking at Web services, location-based services and a host of possibilities,"" all of which are waiting for the infrastructure outside the car, he said.
Harman sought to acquire QNX, Dodge asserted, for its position opposite Microsoft in the nascent automotive market. ""There are really only two players, Microsoft and us, and Microsoft has much deeper pockets and a wide breadth of technology. Harman felt it was important to secure QNX as a viable entity that could not be taken out of the market."" QNX was profitable before the acquisition, Dodge added, and ""will be a source of profit for the company.""
Details at SD Times: http://sdtimes.com/news/114/story2.htm