Dell: Microsoft warnings haven't hurt Linux uptake

Dell: Microsoft warnings haven't hurt Linux uptake

Summary: The PC manufacturer says that Microsoft's patent-infringement claims have not affected sales of its Linux servers

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Claims made by Microsoft that Linux violates its software patent have not affected sales of Linux-based hardware, according to Michael Dell.

Speaking to ZDNet.co.uk at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando on Thursday, Dell's chief executive officer said his company has seen Linux uptake for servers increase faster than Windows server products, despite Microsoft's claims.

"On the server side Linux continues to grow nicely, a bit faster than Windows," said Dell. "We're seeing a move to Linux in critical applications, and Linux migration has not slowed down."

However, for those customers who might be concerned about whether Microsoft's claims of patent violation could result in legal action, the Dell chief added that there were "certainly mechanisms if customers are concerned about patents".

In May Microsoft claimed that free and open-source software violated more than 230 of its patents, but hasn't provided more much detailed information following the statement.

Dell's chief marketing officer, Mark Jarvis, claimed that although the two vendors have had a close relationship in the past, Microsoft had not given Dell any more information about the issue of patent infingement, despite Dell supporting Linux on its server range and more recently on its desktops and notebooks.

"When we announced the Linux notebook we didn't get a call from Microsoft — whatever rumblings have been heard, they haven't been heard in Austin, Texas [where Dell is based]," Jarvis told ZDnet.co.uk.

On 24 May, Dell launched its first PCs based on Linux in the US: a basic model, Inspiron E1505n, with few frills, for $539 (£271); a more powerful Dimension E520n, for $599 (£301); and a top-of-the-range XPS 410n for $849 (£427).

Jarvis added that Dell did not expect its Linux PCs to sell in large amounts, reiterating that Linux growth was with servers.

"Are they [Linux PCs] going to sell a lot? Absolutely not. But on the server side we've seen continued growth," said Jarvis.

Topics: Apps, Software Development

Tom Espiner

About Tom Espiner

Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com. He covers the security beat, writing about everything from hacking and cybercrime to threats and mitigation. He also focuses on open source and emerging technologies, all the while trying to cut through greenwash.

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2 comments
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  • Software patents are used to enforce monopolies

    "...Microsoft had not given Dell any more information about the issue of patent infringement."

    Why? Because its all a load of nonsense designed to control purchasing decisions through fear.

    In the context of software, copyright gives a person rights over something they've actually got working at least once. Fair enough.

    But software patents enable a person (normally a large corporate with deep pockets) to claim rights to *the idea* of something that they haven't even implemented.

    Patents are legal tools used to enforce monopolies. Nothing else.
    dogStar100
  • Linux growth was with servers.

    With Linux having a proven track record on security, it is a no brainer to prefer a Linux server over a "swiss cheese" server. Look for the use of Linux servers to keep growing and windoze servers to keep dropping.
    ator1940