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Lindows Strikes Deal with Netscape

Sep 24, 2002, 17:30 (22 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Chait)

By Michael Chait

After shutting down Microsoft's appeal against them earlier this year, Lindows.com is teaming up with another of the Redmond software giants adversaries to bring a Web Browser to Lindows' new OS.

The San Diego, Calif.-based maker of the user-friendly version of the Linux OS, announced Tuesday morning that it had signed a pact with AOL Time Warner to license Netscape as the operating systems default browser.

"It's not surprising that Lindows signed up with Netscape," said Stephen O'Grady, an analyst at Illuminata. "Windows and IE are at one end of the spectrum and Lindows is the other, so its certainly a natural fit to sign up with Netscape."

Netscape has been fighting one of the longest ongoing battles with Microsoft for dominance in the browser market, with Microsoft taking huge chunks of Netscape's market share in recent years.

"The browser war at this point, for all intensive purposes, is over, and Internet Explorer has won," said O'Grady. "The Lindows deal is good for them, but I wouldn't say that it is going to have profound implications on their market share."

Lindows has also been taunting Microsoft with their own attempts to lure the company's customer base, by allowing Windows-based programs to run on the OS, while touting Linux's software savings and lack of licensing fees.

Microsoft struck back in December, filing a trademark suit against the firm in the U.S. District Court for Western Washington. While Microsoft said they were not asking the court to stop or prevent the company from making the product, they were saying it couldn't use a name that could be confused with Windows. The case against Lindows was struck down.

Despite the victory in the courts, Lindows has had its own problems, with relatively poor initial reviews of its LindowsOS 2.0 product, released last week.

Critics cited an array of glitches that would limits appeal with for the former Windows user, and problems in the licensing agreement and the "dumbed-down" nature of the system that would prevent traditional Linux users from making the switch.

The new release has, however, gained ground in many areas including the deal inked with AOL Time Warner to provide an improved email client and web browser. Desktop controls have also seen a host of improvements, including the ability to adjust the monitor resolution.

The general release of the operating system, slated to be OS 3.0, is expected to be released later this year.

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