IBM and Linux distributors Canonical/Ubuntu, Novell and Red Hat will join forces globally with their hardware partners to deliver Microsoft-free PC choices with Lotus Notes and Lotus Symphony in the one-billion-unit desktop market.
Citing shifting market forces and the growing demand for economical alternatives to costly Windows and Office-based computers, the four leaders sense an ideal set of circumstances allowing Linux-based desktops to proliferate in the coming year. Linux is far more profitable for a PC vendor and the operating system is better equipped to work with lower cost hardware than new Microsoft technology.
"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," says Kevin Cavanaugh, vice-president for IBM Lotus Software. "We'll work to unlock the desktop to save our customers money and give freedom of choice by offering this industry-leading solution."
The four leaders are working with their local business partners in markets around the world to build and distribute a pre-loaded PC offering that features IBM's Open Collaboration Client Solution (OCCS) including Lotus Notes, Lotus Symphony and Lotus Sametime; the Linux operating system of each distributor; and software applications and installation services from the local partners in each market.
The final product will be branded by the local IT firms that bring it to market. In addition, customers, independent software vendors (ISVs) and systems integrators have the choice of developing applications using Lotus Expeditor based on the open source Eclipse programming model.
These solutions would be tailored to the needs of customers in specific industries and sectors. For example, one type of solution for government buyers may support key ISV applications for document/case management, crisis management, and citizen services. Another version for banks would account for support for virtual thin clients that bring together the infrastructure and applications along with Lotus social software for branch bank front office and contact center transformation.
The emphasis for use in schools would be giving students and faculty a low cost open platform that can capitalize on the strengths of Lotus collaboration and social software. Understanding of such distinct customer preferences has been accumulated from customized, local engagements around the world.