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Smart Money: Is Intel Doing an End-Run Around Microsoft?

Feb 21, 2000, 03:31 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Danny Hakim)

"Wintel? How about Lintel. Count the ways Intel has embraced Linux: First, follow the money. Intel Capital, the company's lucrative investment arm, has substantial positions in four leading Linux companies. Two of the four companies have gone public, and Intel's combined stake in the pair added up to $870 million as of Thursday's close. And since Intel uses its venture capital not so much to earn big returns as to pursue strategic goals, those Linux investments are telling. Second, Intel is teaming up with Linux developers in a number of projects. Analysts and investors say Intel aims to use Linux as a Trojan horse to get its processors into more machines in non-desktop markets, where Microsoft is considerably less potent.

We'll start with the last point. The best opportunities for Linux come both at the high end of the market, in powerful servers and workstations, and the low end, where many analysts believe a new generation of low-cost, low-power computing devices are poised to redefine how society-at-large connects to the Internet.

Already, Intel and Linux are teaming up in these areas. First, the high end. Intel software developers have been collaborating with a consortium of Linux companies on the Trillian Project, an open-source programming endeavor aimed at creating Linux software applications compatible with Intel's next generation of high-powered Itanium processors. ... At the low end, Intel's first foray into branding its own computing device will be the Intel Web Appliance, a stripped-down terminal that will be used for easy Web surfing. ... The operating system for the Web Appliance? Yup. Linux."

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