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VA Research buys IBM's favoured Linux consultancy

Hardware company to use Electric Lichen to bolster marketing efforts

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VA Research, the Linux hardware vendor Intel invested in last month, has bought Linux marketing consultancy Electric Lichen. Details of the deal were not revealed, but it's clearly a sensible move on VA's part. VA's business is based on selling computers specifically designed to run Linux, which it tweaks to support the hardware. That optimisation will be essential now that more and more mainstream PC vendors, most recently Dell, are installing Linux on their machines as an optional extra. However, VA will still need to market that message hard, and that's were Electric Lichen's expertise comes in. The consultancy has already steered the marketing campaigns of various Linux distributors and those of big names like IBM and Informix. Intel's investment in VA was made to help the Linux company's development of a version of the OS for the Great Stan's upcoming 64-bit Merced processor. The undisclosed sum paved the way for VA to double its staff to 60 and almost certainly to make the Electric Lichen purchase. VA VP of marketing Brian Biles told US newswires the company has the lofty goal of offering comparable manufacturing and sales systems to Dell's and matching Sun's skills at customer service. Both will take some effort to accomplish, but the Electric Lichen is an important step toward the achievement of that goal. ®

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