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IBM gets back into PCs

'Highly competitive alternative to Microsoft'

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IBM is getting back into the PC game - or at least it is in Eastern Europe.

The company sold its PC business and brands to Chinese hardware maker Lenovo in 2005 and this time round is partnering with an Austrian company to make the actual boxes and with a Polish firm to distribute them.

The Microsoft-free boxes will be made by Austrian firm VDEL, and Warsw-based LX Polska will act as distributor. The computers will be called “Open Referent” and are based on IBM's Lotus Open Collaboration Client Solution marketing initiative with Red Hat.

The machines will run on Red Hat's Enterprise Linux Desktop but will also include IBM's Lotus Notes and Symphony software as well as VDEL's own document management software.

Russia and Eastern Europe are seen as key battlegrounds for Linux because greater pressure on costs makes open source software more attractive to local businesses.

Aside from cost, Linux's reputation for security is also important.

Oleg Churko, director of Research Institute for Information Security, Minsk, Belarus, said in a statement: "OpenReferent is a highly competitive alternative to Microsoft offerings for large organisations... Taking into account the unmatched security offered by the Linux platform, it will set a new standard for document management."

The three companies will also work together to get their machines government certified for information security. The PCs should be available within the month.

There's more on VDEL's website here. ®

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