Home > QNX > QSSL (manufacturer of QNX) sold to Harman International QSSL (manufacturer of QNX) sold to Harman International Submitted by samab 2004-10-27 QNX 56 Comments Harman (maker of Harman Kardon and JBL audio gears) has bought QNX. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 56 Comments 2004-10-27 7:35 pm What would a speaker company do with an OS. Its looks to me headed in the way BEOS did. 2004-10-27 7:37 pm I sure hope not… QNX is an awesome OS, I would really hate to see it go… 😐 2004-10-27 7:37 pm Well, just be happy that the company got actually bought. I have heard rumors that their business was not going well the last few years. If these are true, then this bought-out is a blessing, even if it means that the QNX family of OSes might get downplayed by their new owner. 2004-10-27 7:37 pm For people wondering about where the tie-in is. Harman is an audio product company, which sells a lot of audio equipment for cars. QNX is an embedded OS, which can be used for things like car entertainment systems. The buy-out makes more sense than it seems at first With regards to the article, I don’t know about this “most advanced OS” thing. Maybe within it’s niche market, but not generally. Their Photon GUI is quite spiffy, though. 2004-10-27 7:44 pm Mmm this is interesting…. Just when I’m writing an article on QNX for OSNews.com, it get’s bought by another company…. 2004-10-27 7:44 pm Tivo’s, ipod’s, airport express (streaming audio at home using wifi), smart remote control (with a big LCD touch screen) for the whole home, car telematics, set-top boxes … 2004-10-27 7:53 pm Rayiner, Your comment makes sense. However, from QNX press release, it’s hard to see what led Harman to buy an OS manufacturer. It sounds more like “We heard about a famous company called QNX that needed bailout. Since we were bored, we offered them cash and they agreed.” My first thought upon reading the news was : “Oh no ! it’s CreativeLabs buying 3DLabs again”. 2004-10-27 8:02 pm I thought QNX could be a big player of tommorow, building a good operating system for many new technologies… Yet it seems that there is a new little company making cheap mp3-players… 2004-10-27 8:02 pm I don’t think that QNX needed a bailout now. All the new GM’s OnStar telematics are qnx-based, so as all the chrysler and acura ones. Cisco just announced (their long pretty-much open secret) that the new IOS is based on qnx. If qnx survived the internet bubble on its own for so long — then they can survive now when all the cool stuff are in the public eye. 2004-10-27 8:10 pm I dont know if this is good or bad. QNX has made a mark in the industry and as a Canadian company, it is kind of disturbing to see them aquired by an audio company. I hope it works out for them moreso the wallets of the company. 2004-10-27 8:10 pm I am just thinking that Harman Kardon may make their own robotic dog. 2004-10-27 8:13 pm Correct me if I’m wrong by I thought QNX kernel systems also run the stop lights in various locations around the globe. 2004-10-27 8:32 pm >>>Correct me if I’m wrong by I thought QNX kernel systems also run the stop lights in various locations around the globe. They are. This is one of the reasons why this deal make work out. The two sides of the business don’t overlap much. Existing QNX customers like AudioRequest — which makes mp3 jukeboxes — may consider this deal to be negative. http://www.request.com/us/ But consumer electronics is not much of a market for QNX, so there is not many existing customers to piss off. 2004-10-27 8:37 pm QNX is a very, very private company — I’m very interested to know how much Harman paid. Harman had $342 million in cash as of this quarter — I can’t imagine that they spent more than $50 million. I confess: I’m so curious that I’m actually on the Harman investor call at the moment. (1-888-428-4470 — say that you want to join the “Harman International” call.) 2004-10-27 8:37 pm Gosh … I use (and code for) QNX every single day and I didn’t even see it coming …. even the recent departure of some of the great engineers from QSS (cdm & bbull) didn’t stroke me as a sign of change …. jl 2004-10-27 8:38 pm >>>Correct me if I’m wrong by I thought QNX kernel systems also run the stop lights in various locations around the globe. Wow. Interesting. I assumed that stop lights were controlled by PLCs. Ya learn something new all the time 2004-10-27 8:59 pm All of Ottawa’s and Vancouver’s traffic lights are controlled by QNX. http://www.canada.com/technology/story.html?id=FC3B798F-F0B3-4135-B… http://www.qnx.com/company/customer_stories/ss_164_2.html 2004-10-27 9:02 pm Wow — Harman bought QNX for $138 million in an “all-cash transaction.” Looks like Dan and Gord are pretty set — hopefully others made some well-deserved coin too. Harman said that QNX was doing $20 to $25 million per year with a “nice enough” after tax profit. Harman said that they didn’t use “traditional” ways of valuing QNX and that “many others were very interested…QNX chose us.” So it sounds like they got caught up in a bidding war… 2004-10-27 9:16 pm >>>I assumed that stop lights were controlled by PLCs. Cities are beginning to use smart traffic light systems now. Things like sensors detecting public transit buses and then turning the traffic light in front of that bus from red to green. 2004-10-27 9:24 pm Sounds like QNX will go to the Great OS in the Sky, where OS/2 , BeOS, Plan 9 and other great but moribund OS’s contemplate scheduling algorithms. What a pity. QNX was a great nano-kernel operating system and Photon was excellent. Now Harman Kardon ( a moribund audio manufacturer ) is going to administer the kiss of death to QNX. Cyanide anyone ? 2004-10-27 9:35 pm >Cyanide anyone ? No, but why are you of the opinion this means the end of QNX ? 2004-10-27 9:41 pm FWIW, having listened to the call, I don’t think that this means that QNX is necessarily dead — yet. (In my mind, the question is what Harmon does with the sales channel.) That said, I think the idea of QNX as a general purpose operating system is probably completely dead. (But then, that idea’s been dead longer than it was ever alive.) 2004-10-27 10:12 pm These mergers rarely work out well for the company being bought out. Harmon Kardon will probably pull some feature set for use in next gen electronics and will maintain a skeleton crew to support existing customers. QNX as a standalone OS is history. Not the end of the world but a shame nonetheless. 2004-10-27 10:17 pm Had Harmon wanted a lightweight OS thats known to be usable on embedded media devices (just ask LCS, Eldirol, etc), I think Palm have one going spare which they bought for a lot, lot les… 2004-10-27 10:18 pm As others have pointed out, both companies sell to the auto industry. The auto industry doesn’t like to depend on small companies lacking financial staying power. QNX is a good product from talented people, but the company is *tiny* by auto industry standards. Harmon’s investment means that QNX will be around for the future. Harmon International’s an interesting company. While it may have started with consumer products company Harmon-Kardon, most of the Harmon companies are selling to technicalogy professionals. Sid Harmon obviously knows how to manage engineering-oriented companies, so QNX should be in good hands. It probably won’t be visible to the end user, but I suspect that QNX will be appearing many car navigation systems and other telematics devices. 2004-10-27 10:22 pm i think this will work out very well. i think qnx is well suited to harmon other business interests. i think qnx will be under the hood of a lot more things that become taken for granted. ie in car systems. HVAC. etc. 2004-10-27 10:23 pm >>>Had Harmon wanted a lightweight OS thats known to be usable on embedded media devices (just ask LCS, Eldirol, etc), I think Palm have one going spare which they bought for a lot, lot les… Car telematics systems don’t run on x86. Even Intel advertise their telematics systems with StrongARM and XScale chips, not Pentiums. 2004-10-27 10:32 pm qnx supports mips, powerpc, etc, not just x86, oh and it supports ARM as well, hitachi SH, xscale. 2004-10-27 10:37 pm I know that. I was responding to Kian, the BeOS fan, about his idea for Harman buying BeOS from Palm. 2004-10-27 11:19 pm I know that. I was responding to Kian, the BeOS fan, about his idea for Harman buying BeOS from Palm. BeOS is not an RTOS, is it? i think they’d need an RTOS for audio applications. 2004-10-27 11:25 pm Harman consists of Harman Kardon, JBL, Infinity, Mark Levinson, Becker, AKG, Soundcraft, Lexicon, etc. I haven’t done the audiophile thing in years, but i recall Mark Levinson and Lexicon were into high-end audio and home theatre. it’s possible that they are using QNX (or derivative) in that equipment, in addition to its car audio applications. 2004-10-27 11:26 pm i’m looking forward to that QNX article. get it out in time for Xmas. 2004-10-27 11:26 pm Wow… Did anyone really see this coming? I had heard that QSSL was looking toward an IPO but not that they were considering a sell. Dodge and Bell must have been ready to settle down and let someone else take charge. Good for them. 2004-10-27 11:39 pm >>>I haven’t done the audiophile thing in years, but i recall Mark Levinson and Lexicon were into high-end audio and home theatre. it’s possible that they are using QNX (or derivative) in that equipment, in addition to its car audio applications. They can go into the big automation remote control systems. HK had a mp3 type jukebox awhile back. They can go into the ipod market. They can go like Dell or Gateway — selling HDTV panels, but with nicer on-screen TV guide displays (Photon with OpenGL ES). 2004-10-27 11:53 pm I hope QSSL is in good hands too. I really have a lot of respect for these small, technically oriented companies. Now that the big research labs at Bell, HP, and Xerox have been drastically scaled back, I think they are one of the few hopes for real innovation in the commercial market. The big players are just far too conservative in how they play the market, because they’ve got so much to loose. 2004-10-28 12:08 am “QNX was doing $20 to $25 million per year with a “nice enough” after tax profit” This doesn’t sound like a lot of money to me. 2004-10-28 12:25 am An openqnx? So where do I sign up? jk 2004-10-28 1:01 am >>>This doesn’t sound like a lot of money to me. It’s big enough for QNX to be one of the top RTOS providers in the world. 2004-10-28 5:48 am But one possibility I see would be using QNX to expand into other components for cars, not just music/multimedia systems. If they were thinking about developing navigators, control panels or whatever, the move would make a lot of sense. 2004-10-28 6:39 am Sounds like QNX will go to the Great OS in the Sky, where OS/2 , BeOS, Plan 9 and other great but moribund OS’s contemplate scheduling algorithms. 1) Not all of these OSes are not developed anymore 2) None of these OSes are meant for same purposes as QNX (embedded market). So i don’t get it why you make such an irrelevant compare. Just because you can boot into a GUI doesn’t mean its meant for you using that GUI. Personally i don’t find this a very weird move. The details the Anonymous Sun.com person posted are also valuable (thanks!) but who says this means QNX won’t be sold in future embedded markets even though thats how QSSL managed to get profit? Why would one invest money, then kill the profitable product line? Sure, it could be possible but assuming that worst case scenario (depends on how you look at it too) is a very negative, emotional and not based on logic way of looking at the situation. It could just as well mean the parent company is going for different markets, aims for longterm profit on these, etc. And thse are just a few aspects to think about. Also, its questionable why QSSL wanted to be bought in the first place. 2004-10-28 7:34 am for me harman kardon, jbl, etc. are known by producing high quality sound systems. when i was young i always wanted to have harman kardon. jbl produces high quality speakers for music studios, for home cinemas and others. they are famous of that. maybe they want to make complete, powerful, inteligent home audio, video system. 2004-10-28 8:03 am Farewell QNX 🙁 (I really hope I’m wrong, since QNX is the best OS I know of) 2004-10-28 1:10 pm >>If they were thinking about developing navigators, control panels or whatever, the move would make a lot of sense. Harman already has a qnx-based telematics systems in the market. http://www.harmaninfotainment.com/ 2004-10-28 1:14 pm > Why would one invest money, then kill the profitable product line? Because it will be profitable for awhile and not profitable after that, and profitable again in awhile. Cycles, remember? As soon as QSS becomes unprofitable, beancounters at Harman (as at any big company) will not hesitate a second to chop them: nothing personal, it’s business. QSS survived because they had diversified: when WindRiver went down the hill with all telco folks, QSS was ok ’cause they did not gamble with niether industry, they paid equal attention to medical, industrial automation, transportation, telco, automotive etc. I fail to recognize why QSS as Harman’s subsidery would invest into telco or industrial automation. 2004-10-28 1:32 pm It depends on how you look at things. QNX2 was introduced in the early 80’s. QNX4 was introduced in the early 90’s. QNX6 was introduced in the early 2000’s. Also most of the hard work (i.e. POSIX conformance certification for QNX6, switching tools to eclipse-based software) are nearly finished. Once QNX6 is POSIX certified in the next few months, there will be not much changes on QNX6 anyway. We know that Cisco based their IOS on QNX — so kernel development will continue (whether or not the greater QNX system is moving forward, that’s another matter). You won’t see QNX8 until the next decade, regardless of whether QNX stays independent. It’s QNX8 that is uncertain post Harman buy-out. 2004-10-28 1:59 pm It’s been a while since I used it, but it was amazing. On one 1.4mb floppy, you had the basic OS, a tcp/ip stack, drivers for modems or nics, web-browser. and more. Not sure what it’s good for, but to me it was just amazing. 2004-10-28 6:20 pm So that’s why Chris and Bill have left… Heh. These corporate management things are funny. 2004-10-28 6:25 pm And just by the way, isn’t it the right time to start recreating QNX from scratch in open-source form? 2004-10-28 6:44 pm oh please keep developing QNX RTOS and Photon 2004-10-28 9:02 pm > QNX is a good product from talented people, but the company > is *tiny* by auto industry standards. Harmon’s investment > means that QNX will be around for the future. The same way that MIPS is “around” ? Ie: sucessfull in the embedded market but dead in the general computing market. Goodbye QNX. It was nice knowing you. Shame that you are going to be running car audio systems and washing machines in the future… 2004-10-28 10:55 pm QNX was never a very serious desktop OS anyway although it had potential to be so.It never had the fan base of say BeOS,and there was no QNX bits.com where you could download tons of easy to install apps,no QNX share file sharing client,or no real sense of a user community to swap tales with about getting it to run on that old Acer Aspire or whatever,and the Photon GUI while being very nice to look at lacked many of the simple little ammenties that BeOS ,Windows And mac users take for granted. ?It remains just a test and development platform for the imbedded sytstems. I once had a 3com Audrey that ran a form of QNX for it’s Imbedded OS and it was a great little device(at least till the rural elecrical gremlins out here in the perimitter smoked it)It sat there unobtrusive in my kitchen and several times a day it would dial up my isp and check my email and if i had a message it would be blinking at me,never had a virus problem with my win box the whole time that little sucker was on the job,I could screen my email there and i didnt have to remember to do it ,it did it for me! Now just think of the possibilities of a reliable little OS like that in the audio business!Yes,BeOS may have been arguably better but it’s basically in the past tense ATM 2004-10-29 12:19 am Harman paid $138,000,000 for QSSL. 2004-10-29 12:58 pm Israel Thomas writes: “Shame that you are going to be running car audio systems and washing machines in the future…” You do know what embedded operating systems are for, right? 😉 We run in that sort of thing now, and in other interesting things (traffic light controllers, medical devices, Cisco’s biggest and most powerful router, factory automation systems). – chrish 2004-10-29 6:40 pm they also make numerous digital effects, high-end and mid level recording boards, other types of outboard studio effects, etc. They own Amek, Studer (tape machines/digital consoles), AKG (microphones), DoD (guitar effects), etc. they could certainly use QNX in many of their existing products. Maybe QNX is a way to sell speakers, and other music/sound related hardware into other markets as well. It does seem a bit unusual. Another point is that Harman makes a habit of buying under capitalized firms with strong products which need help on the marketing side. Most of their current portfolio of firms were once independent firms. they might be following the same model in a new market. 2004-10-29 6:54 pm Well, its seems the Harman Network buyout of QNX will definitely kill any potential it had for a desktop OS. I just download the newest version and now when u download, they email you a key code that u type and you can fully use QNX 6.3.3 for one month. After that certain parts of the software will be unavailable to the user, unless u cough up some $$$$. Plus the install is the longest I have ever since for a QNX desktop product. It used to be a quick install, but its taking forever. To be honest, I only tinkered with it a little bit, but it’s still a shame to see it go the OS graveyard like BeOS and Amiga0S. That Open QNX sounds like a great idea, more than ever. 2004-10-30 3:07 pm That’s the way it’s been for awhile now. Nothing to do with Harman. You get what was called PE (pro edition) on a 30 day trial basis, then it downgrades to NC (Non-commercial) which is what you would get before (same components as 6.2 NC but the 6.3 versions). You’ve actually got more than you ever did for 30 days (tools like the Pro bits in the IDE), then without paying you get what you used to.