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Lindows.com Nabs New Customer in Japan

San Diego, Calif.-based Lindows.com boasted another customer win Wednesday, announcing an exclusive partnership with Japanese ISP EDGE to sell LindowsOS in Japan for home, work and educational uses.

LindowsOS, based on Linux, is the company's effort to make Linux a more palatable desktop operating system and lure customers away from Microsoft's Windows. Through the deal with EDGE, Lindows.com plans to localize LindowsOS and its Click-N-Run Warehouse, which supplies applications, to serve EDGE customers and their productivity needs.

Lindows.com's customer win comes at a time of great upheaval in the Linux community due to the legal action that SCO Group has brought against IBM for misappropriating trade secrets allegedly including portions of the Unix code illegally into the Linux kernel. In doing so, it also warned more than 15,000 companies that they might be held liable by using Linux.

But in an effort to allay its customer base (and perhaps not to be overshadowed by the ongoing legal fracas), Lindows.com CEO Michael Robertson on Thursday issued a statement explaining that an existing agreement reached with SCO (then known as Caldera) in 2001, under which SCO agreed to provide technology to Lindows.com, shields his company from any litigation.

The statement represents an opportunity for Lindows.com to maintain its PR push because on a conference call Wednesday SCO President and CEO Darl McBride already assured the general public that SCO's lawsuit against IBM is solely focused on contractual matters and not copyright or patent infringement in Linux.

"We're in a unique situation because of our pre-existing relationship with SCO," Robertson said. "Recently, we have fielded some questions concerning LindowsOS and SCO's legal claims. We want to take this opportunity to emphasize there are no issues between SCO and Lindows.com, Inc. SCO has publicly stated they will continue to honor all contractual obligations with existing customers including product updates, service and support. Businesses, educational institutions and home users of LindowsOS can be confident they will not be dragged into a legal battle."

The company added, "until more facts are presented, Lindows.com will not take a position as to the validity of the claims presented by either side."

Meanwhile, it expects to launch the LindowsOS/EDGE product in Tokyo within the next 60 days, adding that LindowsOS will be sold in mass through a variety of outlets in Japan.

EDGE is also the Japanese distributor of Qualcomm's Eudora email client.