I'm also unsure about OIN.
They do some good work. Buying Microsoft's OpenGL patents probably did save us from a troll attack, and I'm glad that the members have agreed not to attack the list of approved programs.
As for helping TomTom, I haven't found a good explanation of how OIN helped. MS asked TomTom to pay. TomTom joined OIN. TomTom payed MS. I don't think OIN's patent pool can be used to threaten MS. Some or most of the members already have patent non-aggression pacts with MS, and even if these didn't exist, the members would rightly be reluctant to let their patent be used in a first strike against MS.
As for defensive publication, that's a double edged sword. For one, it tells trolls what innovative areas we're working in, thus increasing patent risk, and it helps patent drafters to draft sturdy patents that won't get thrown out later.
Overall, I think they're clearly a force for good, but I think they're overestimated by the media.
...but there are surely things I've missed. I haven't looked too deeply into them.
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