RealTime IT News

Lindows.com Forges Ahead with HP Printer Pact

Lindows.com, the anti-Microsoft, alternative operating system startup founded by former MP3.com head Michael Robertson, continued its onslaught of partnerships Tuesday when it said its flagship OS now works with a number of HP's printers.

LindowsOS now includes support for more than 200 of the best selling HP printers, including members of the Business Inkjet, Color Inkjet, LaserJet, DesignJet DeskJet, Mopier, OfficeJet, PaintJet, PhotoSmart & e-printer families.

The addition of HP brings the LindowsOS' printer support from manufacturers such as 3M, Agfa, Apple, Brother, Canon, Epson, IBM, Lexmark, Linotype, MGI, NEC, Okidata, Panasonic, PrePRESS, QMS, Ricoh, Samsung, Sony, Tektronix, TI, and Xerox.

"HP provided us with some of their newest printers and has given us valuable technical assistance," said Michael Robertson, chief executive officer of Lindows.com, Inc. The computer industry is really embracing the big shift of Linux to the desktop."

While Lindows.com's initial purpose was to lure Microsoft customers away from Windows with the promise of a Linux-based OS that runs Windows applications for $99, the San Diego-based firm has looked to pilfer other customers since inking a deal with hardware manufacturer Microtel to make its PC boxes.

Lindows.com is angling to steal market share from major computer manufacturers who have boasted confidently that they sell full desktop PCs for under $1,000 (it made for interesting, cutthroat pricing strategies in 2002). To ensure that its LindowsOS PCs get broad support, Lindows.com agreed to sell them on walmart.com, ranging in price from $199 to $599.

The general release of LindowsOS is expected later this year, but users interested in ordering a CD or downloading LindowsOS now can sign up for the Insiders program. These users may also reap the benefits of the Click-N-Run Warehouse, a software hub filled with such applications as Sun Microsystems' StarOffice.

Lindows.com is peddling its wares at a time when shilling for PCs isn't so lucrative. Just yesterday, market research firm IDC said customers were, by and large, sticking with their current PCs rather than upgrading to new models because their confidence in the economy is shaky.

Shipments will hit 135.5 million, on growth of 1.1 percent this year, with growth of 8.4 percent predicted for next year, according to IDC. In June, IDC believed the market would grow 4.7 percent in 2002 and 11.1 percent in 2003.

"The momentum we saw coming into the second quarter has all but disappeared as businesses continue to postpone PC investments and consumer spending has slowed," said Loren Loverde, director of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.

Loverde said a significant recovery won't occur until both consumer and business demand picks up and it may be "the middle of next year before that happens."