IBM plans to ‘unlock the desktop’ from Microsoft monopoly

6 Aug 2008

Technology companies IBM, Novell, Canonical and Red Hat, which offer an alternative to the Microsoft PC, have spotted what they see as its Achilles heel: the current Vista operating system.

“The slow adoption of Vista among businesses and budget-conscious CIOs, coupled with the proven success of a new type of Microsoft-free PC in every region, provides an extraordinary window of opportunity for Linux,” said Kevin Cavanaugh, vice-president for IBM Lotus Software.

IBM said it plans to “unlock the desktop” to save customers money and give them choice.

“Customers are demanding a Microsoft-less PC, and we have responded with our reliable, secure Linux solution through our top channel partners worldwide, building on the success we’ve seen in eastern Europe and other markets,” said Scott Crenshaw, vice-president of the Platform Business Unit at Red Hat.

The four companies are working together to develop a pre-loaded PC that will carry IBM software, as well as the Linux operating system from Canonical (Ununtu), Novell (Suse) and Red Hat.

The IBM open collaboration client solution (OCCS) will provide the ‘middleware’ by carrying several products for both the desktop and server, including IBM Lotus Notes which is an email and calendar programme much like Outlook from Microsoft Office, as well as an embedded browser in the form of Mozilla’s open source Firefox.

Roger Levy, senior vice-president and general manager of Open Platform Solutions at Novell, claims the combination of IBM’s OCCS and Novell’s SUSE Linux enterprise desktop leads to “dramatically lower costs compared to Vista”.

Whereas these tools and operating systems were already available for businesses, they were never bundled together like this before. Lou Esposito, president and chief information officer of Stradasoft, which distributes IBM middleware, told InfoWorld that this integration is what it is all about.

By Marie Boran

Pictured:IBM headquarters in Brussels, Belgium