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03.13.08

Microsoft’s Patent FUD Not Even a Consideration for Asus miniBook Company (Linux-based Laptops)

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Interview, Microsoft, Xandros at 6:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In the following new interview with the CEO of RM, the patent question comes up. It validates what people like Matt Asay have been saying all alone. Customers, just like distributors in this case, don’t care for Microsoft’s intimidation attempts. They see no need for so-called promises which Microsoft makes to those who shell out (or “sell out”) ‘protection money’.

John Spencer talks to Tim Pearson Chief Executive of RM. RM is the largest most successful supplier of ICT to the UK education market and, for good measure, is British too. Tim has been there from the start and so is really now Mr RM. This autumn he gave the school ICT world a jolt when RM announced its Asus miniBook. It retails to schools for only £169 and runs Open Source software throughout. The miniBook has preceded an avalanche of new products and new thinking.

[...]

JS: The Minibook uses the rather well finished Xandros Linux OS (I have one of my own). Xandros signed a ‘no sue’ agreement with Microsoft last year do you think this will be a necessary trend for other OSS companies?

TP: I suspect not, it was certainly not part of our consideration either way.

A guy from Scalix (Xandros) insisted that the Linux distribution from ASUS is not tied to Xandros. You can find the comment here.

You mention another product that we’re related with, the eeePC. Same story on that side – no impact or royalties to Redmond in this case, most of it open source, the stuff that’s not ours and Asus’ own development, and given the numbers this little thingy leaves the building in, actually one of the most successful end-user products based on open technology, ever.

From a legal perspective (i.e. ‘liability’ to Microsoft), this remains somewhat uncertain and the only company that can reliably answer this question is probably Asustek, which began offering Windows XP options. The strategy of Asustek remains focused on Linux, according to its recent admission. Moreover, the days of Windows XP are numbered.

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