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Linuxcare opens support services for customer rebranding

Move should dissuade Linuxcares customers from competing with it

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Linux services specialist Linuxcare today opened its support offerings to allow customers to rebrand them as their own, and said it had already signed up Hewlett-Packard, VA Linux Systems, Informix and ThinkFree.com for the Custom Solution Service (CSS). CSS, of course, marks the company's latest scheme to attract customers for its services and support offerings. The trouble is, With almost every Linux company other than hardware specialists like the aforementioned VA Linux Systems looking to services as a key revenue generator, the market is becoming increasingly crowded. Linuxcare's upcoming IPO filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission reveals that Linuxcare handled 15,000 support calls in Q4 1999, up from a mere 140 in Q3. At that rate of growth (10,700 per cent), there should soon be plenty of business to go round. The problem is that that level of growth will attract the attention of the major commercial service and support companies. Most of them have already hopped on the Linux bandwagon, largely by working with the likes of Linuxcare and Red Hat. The question is, how long are they likely to operate at a partnership level, or will the likes of IBM Global Services soon prefer to bring it all in house? Linuxcare's scheme is a canny one in that it allows the services majors to appear to be offering their own services without actually doing so, and should encouraging them to stick with the partnership strategy -- on which all of Linuxcare's hopes for future growth and profitability are based. ®

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