IBM left the mainstream PC market in 2005 by selling its division to Lenovo for $3.5bn (£1.79bn). Slow Vista sales are behind the move to Linux.
“The slow adoption of Vista among businesses and budget-conscious CIOs, coupled with the proven success of a new type of Microsoft-free PC provides an extraordinary window of opportunity for Linux,” said Kevin Cavanaugh, vice president for IBM Lotus Software.
But Eszter Morvay, senior PC market research analyst at IDC, said the move had nothing to do with Vista and that Linux PCs have traditionally had a price advantage but had not replaced Microsoft.
“The slow take-up of Vista has resulted in the extension of XP’s life, with Microsoft selling it half price to PC makers. Microsoft does not have a great product in Vista but it will not be muscled out.
“It has such dominance that even the Linux PC makers have no intention of overtaking Microsoft, they just want a little bit of market share,” she said.
Meanwhile, rumours of the breakup of Europe’s largest PC maker surfaced last week. Fujitsu Siemens Computers (FSC) is a nine-year-old joint venture but the company has struggled to succeed beyond its German and Nordic base.
“Rumours have been fuelled by FSC doing badly. It does not have strong branding across Europe. It cannot compete with HP, Acer or new entrants such as Samsung,” said Morvay.