"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


The business press was abuzz yesterday with the story of the Linspire-manufactured laptops that Wal-Mart will be selling for less than $500. The machines are a bit wimpy, of course - equipped with only 128 megs of RAM - but fully loaded with an operating system and complete office suite. And therein lies the real story: The operating system is Linux, while the office suite is apparently fully compatible with MS Office file types.

Linux has been the would-be giant killer for so long now that all but the most evangelical have given up. Sure, Linux is a superior OS in any number of ways, but waiting for Linux to make a dent in Redmond's market share is kind of like waiting for professional soccer to gain American fans - an idea whose time has come, and gone.

Wal-Mart's involvement, however, could change everything. How hard will it be for America's retailing behemoth to sell a buttload of these boxes at $500 a pop? Especially when they can advertise that all documents created on the Linspire machines are compatible with those created on much pricier WinTel computers?

My hunch is that Chairman Bill didn't sleep quite as soundly as usual last night. Stay tuned.




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