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The Register: Intel Linux devices challenge MS – but at the server end

“Intel’s shiny new web appliances do indeed shun Windows in
favour of Linux, but a closer examination of Intel’s strategy makes
it clear that this is the least of the headaches Chipzilla is
presenting its ‘ally’ Microsoft with. Aside from building a
range of cheap, Intel-branded access devices the company is
proposing to challenge Microsoft in a whole range of key areas, and
the battlefield is going to be software, not chips.

“Intel describes its “Web appliance strategy” as consisting of
three components. First of all there are the appliances themselves,
intended to be used “to bring the Internet to new devices in the
home,” according to Claude Leglise, general manager of the Intel
Home Products Group. These will indeed run Linux on Celeron
processors, but considering their nature that’s neither here nor
there; they’re intended to be dependent on remote applications and
management capabilities (maybe they’re really, ahem, NCs…) so
it’s perfectly possible to plug in kit based on other hardware and
other software. Intel itself has produced appliances using VXWorks,
for example, while even Microsoft has started to sound more
agnostic about client operating systems – really, as both companies
understand, the money’s going to be upstream of this, at the server
end.”

“The red light must have started flashing and the klaxon
sounding at Fort Redmond when they got to the next part of the
Intel strategy: Intel will be providing “appliance management
capabilities.” This is of course server software stuff, and doesn’t
have anything to do with chips per se. More alarm signals will have
been generated by component three, “services packages building
blocks.” Intel is proposing to put together solutions that do
pretty much what Microsoft has been proposing to do; “work with
other companies that…will provide applications and content for
the Intel Web appliance,” and to “assist service providers in
developing service offerings.”

Complete
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