IBM Touts Microsoft-Free Desktop

Two decades after falling out with Microsoft over support for OS/2 and nearly two years after officially killing support for that operating system, IBM Corp. is competing with Microsoft on the desktop again with a new model.

The new effort is a partnership involving IBM, Virtual Bridges Inc. and Canonical Ltd. The key components of the virtualization-heavy product are Ubuntu, the Linux operating system offered by Canonical, and VERDE -- the colorfully named Virtualization Enterprise Remote Desktop Environment -- from Virtual Bridges.

Simply put, the virtual desktop consists of VERDE hosted on a Linux-based server and distributed virtually to multiple client computers. On the desktop, IBM offerings such as Lotus Notes and Lotus Symphony provide a wide range of applications, including classics such as e-mail, collaboration, word processing and spreadsheets.

IBM and its cohorts are claiming that companies can save big money by choosing the virtual option over Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. In a statement, the IBM partnership claims that companies can save $500 to $800 per user by not paying for Windows and Office licenses, $60 to more than $200 per user with reduced power requirements and 90 percent on desk-side PC support.

The three partners argue the Microsoft-free desktop is a low-cost alternative in a tough economy.

About the Author

Lee Pender is the executive features editor of Redmond magazine. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter.

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