'

IBM, Canonical partner to target Africa netbook market; Upend Microsoft

IBM and Canonical, the outfit behind Ubuntu Linux, are partnering to target Africa's netbook market. Target: Microsoft.

IBM and Canonical, the outfit behind Ubuntu Linux, are partnering to target Africa's netbook market.

Under a partnership announced Wednesday, IBM and Canonical will offer a software bundle for netbooks and PCs. The software package aims to meld the desktop and cloud computing offerings.

Among the parts (statement, Techmeme):

  • IBM Client for SmartWork is available across Africa. The suite includes email, word processing, spreadsheets, communication and social networking software designed for netbooks, laptops and mobile devices.
  • SmartWork runs on Ubuntu Linux.
  • There is an option to run collaboration tools via cloud computing and virtualization via LotusLive.com.
  • The package uses open standards such as the Open Document Format (ODF).

The target for these tools is clear. IBM said that it can save up to 50 percent per seat relative to Microsoft desktops. Emerging markets are among the more interesting Linux-Microsoft battlefronts. What makes the IBM-Canonical partnership notable is the distribution heft that Big Blue brings to the table relative other early players such as the One Laptop Per Child initiative.

IBM said it will distribute the SmartWork client through Africa via local service providers such as Inkululeko and ZSL Inc. The aim is to spread the IBM/Canonical software through government and educational institutions and businesses.