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Hewlett-Packard to Sell Linux PCs in Asian Markets

March 17, 2004|From Dow Jones / Associated Press

Hewlett-Packard Co. plans to be the first company to trumpet personal computers that run the freely distributed Linux operating system in Asia, HP's Japanese unit said Tuesday.

Other details, such as when the sales will begin, haven't been set.

The move by Palo Alto-based HP, which sells about 17% of the world's PCs, could be a threat to Microsoft Corp., maker of the dominant Windows operating system.

For its Linux PCs, HP "will target emerging markets, where Windows PCs are not used so widely," an HP spokesman said. The company has not decided whether it will sell Linux PCs in Japan, he said.

Linux is an open-source operating system, meaning its code is freely distributed and shared by programmers.

The HP computers will use an operating system made by Tokyo's Turbolinux, and will include the company's OpenOffice.org 1.1 suite of software. OpenOffice is designed to be compatible with Microsoft Office.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper reported Tuesday that shipments could reach 1 million units in the first year.

HP's move may prompt other PC makers to follow suit, since prices of Linux PCs are expected to be lower than those of Windows-based PCs. That would further fuel already-intense price competition in the global PC market.

Hewlett-Packard shares increased 8 cents to $21.79 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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