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By 25 September 2009 | Categories: news

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IBM announced earlier this week that it has partnered up with Canonical Ubuntu, billionaire Mark Shuttleworth’s company, to provide emerging market users with open-source-based software on the more affordable netbook platform.

As part of IBM’s Smart Work initiative, the company has invested $120 million in expanding its Work Client project this year. “Businesses, public organisations and governments in emerging markets, particularly in Sub Saharan Africa, are looking to gain the freedom and flexibility afforded by open standards,” said Oliver Fortuin, General Manager, IBM Sub- Saharan Africa. The initiative is consequently designed to move emerging markets away from the adoption of proprietary platforms, in particular Microsoft’s Windows.

IBM points to industry trends that will fuel its intuitive, stating that, “according to AIB Research, netbook computer sales are expected to quadruple from 35 million in 2009 to 139 million by 2013.  AIB Research predicts that Linux will outgrow Windows on Netbooks by 2012.” We can only assume that they are referencing an ABI research report released earlier this year.

“Starting with Africa, we see that IBM’s Smart Work Client can help realise our vision of eliminating barriers to computer access for emerging markets,” said Mark Shuttleworth. IBM estimates that it delivers up to 50% savings per seat versus a Microsoft-based desktop, and has said that the price of the clients will vary depending on configuration and support requirements.

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