IBM markets Linux to Africa. Why not the U.S?

From the ‘Year of the Linux Desktop‘ files:

IBM today announced a continuation of a deal with Linux vendor Ubuntu that will see Linux netbook software and solutions sold in Africa.

The way I see it, this is just the delivery portion of something IBM has been talking about since at least August of 2008. At that time, IBM announced its ‘Microsoft-Free’ PC effort. The basic idea is to have an Linux OS, with IBM smart client applications called Open Collaboration Client Solution software (OCCS)(Lotus Symphony and Notes) for enterprise apps.

Today’s announcement looks remarkably similar to what IBM and Canonical announced nine months ago. Last December, IBM and Canonical (the lead sponsor behind the Ubuntu project) announced a virtual desktop solution (today it’s called the ‘cloud’).

The new news is that IBM is now calling the solution ‘The IBM Client for Smart Work’ and are marketing the solution across Africa. There are on-premise components as well as cloud (virtual) components. Again, to my eye this is all stuff that IBM and Canonical have already announced. The difference here is about the target market and availability.

In my view, the speed with which the IBM ‘Microsoft-Free PC’ is coming to market is very questionable. Does it really take more than a year to put together a solution from components that already exist in the market?

Why Africa and not the U.S?

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