Intel Takes Aim at Microsoft with Linux Push

By | November 24, 2004

Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor and Microprocessor Company, is officially helping China and other Asian countries adopt Linux over Microsoft’s popular Windows platform.

Intel is providing customers with software drivers, documentation and resources to “more easily design, build and sell Intel-based desktops with the Linux operating system,” the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said in a statement.

Linux is quickly gaining traction is southern Asian countries where the often high cost of Microsoft licensing is seen as prohibitive, and where the security of Linux is seen as above average.

Intel spokesman Robert Manetta said his company began to provide the software tools “to meet demand.” The tools are being given to companies that make unbranded PCs, he said.

Linux will account for about 6 percent of desktop-operating-system shipments by 2007, up from 2.8 percent in 2002, according to forecasts from researcher IDC. Windows will decline to 92 percent, according to the researcher.

More and more Asian companies and governments are adopting Linux, pumping capital and ideas into the nascent OS, which could signal a long term global shift away from Microsoft’s dominant OS.

To attract users in Asia, Microsoft said in September that it would sell a cheaper version of Windows. The software, known as Windows XP Starter Edition, will start selling in India by early next year.

A year ago, Microsoft said it would work with six universities in Japan to develop better security for Windows-based software. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates met with officials in February 2003 to assure the Japanese government that his company´s Windows operating system is secure.

Last Thursday in a speech in Singapore, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer warned Asian governments that they could face patent lawsuits for using the Linux operating system instead of its Windows software, noting that Linux violates more than 228 patents, according to a recent report from a research group.

“Someday, for all countries that are entering the WTO [World Trade Organization], somebody will come and look for money owing to the rights for that intellectual property,” Ballmer said.

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