BOSTON Lenovo Group Ltd. (0992.HK), the world's
No. 3 PC maker, said on Monday it would start selling laptop
computers preloaded with Linux software from Novell Inc.
NOVL.O instead of Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT.O) Windows
The laptops are slated to go on sale in the fourth quarter
of this year and will be sold to Lenovo's business customers as
well as to consumers.
Lenovo announced its plans at the start of LinuxWorld, an
annual conference for information-technology managers being
held in San Francisco this week.
The Linux operating system has been one of the
fastest-growing types of software on servers and other types of
powerful business computers over the past decade.
Last year, Microsoft entered into a business partnership
with Novell that includes joint product development on server
software. Microsoft also sells Novell products and both
companies agreed to provide patent protections for each other's
PC makers have been reluctant to embrace Linux, but that
view is starting to change.
In May, No. 2 PC maker Dell Inc. DELL.O began selling
three models to U.S. consumers that come preloaded with another
version of Linux, from a nonprofit group known as Ubuntu.
It introduced them after Chief Executive Michael Dell asked
customers to post suggestions for new products on the company's
Web site. Linux PCs were overwhelming the most-requested item.
Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth, who runs privately held
Canonical Inc. which sells service contracts to maintain Ubuntu
software, said in an interview last month that he expects Dell
to expand its Linux PC program.
He also said that he is in negotiations with other large PC
makers that want to introduce models preloaded with Ubuntu.