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My, How Times Change; Lindows to Drop Netscape

My, How Times Change; Lindows to Drop Netscape

In late September, after selecting Netscape 7.0 to be the default Internet suite in LindowsOS 2.0, Lindows.com CEO Michael Robertson couldn't stop raving about it and its parent AOL. "To millions of people," he said, "AOL IS the Internet."

Robertson got so excited at the thought of reaching out to AOL's 35 million subscribers with his $199 system that he even dreamed up an "AOL Computer" powered by Netscape and LindowsOS.

AOL promptly responded that there was no such things as an AOL Computer and that Lindows was misleading people into thinking Lindows had a relationship with AOL.

The snub notwithstanding, Lindows continued to talk up LindowsOS' support of AOL and Netscape.

Fast forward to May - Robertson now says Lindows.com is dropping the Netscape browser, e-mail and instant messenger from the upcoming 4.0 rev of LindowsOS. "Any good company reassesses their progress and strategy periodically," he says.

Defending the decision to drop Netscape from the Lindows Internet suite, Robertson claims, "Netscape's development has slowed and necessitated a change."

An AOL/Netscape spokesman categorically denied that Netscape's development had slowed. According to him, Netscape 7.0, released last fall, has been downloaded 20 million times.

Since the launch of 7.0, Netscape has released two updates to the browser and added several new features including a "pop-up" blocker.

Anyway, Lindows says it will put a new browser, e-mail and instant messenger in LindowsOS, but it's unclear where it's all coming from.

Robertson appears frustrated that Lindows has been unable to convince AOL to embrace desktop Linux.

"Our expectation was they would enjoy the opportunity to move out from under Microsoft's OS which clearly is partial to their own service MSN. Unfortunately, that's not been the way it has played out, so sadly we'll be losing the ability to check AOL e-mail from within our new mail client."

Interesting explanation from a company whose Web site recently said, "Lindows.com fully appreciates the popularity of AOL and doesn't want to leave the millions of satisfied AOL users out of the LindowsOS phenomena."


So, is AOL the Internet or not?

Meanwhile, Lindows.com is changing the tagline under its logo. Gone is "Bringing Choice to the Desktop." The new one is "The World's Most Affordable Software."

Robertson argues that having accomplished the goal of bringing choice to the desktop market, Lindows.com now wants to emphasize the affordability of its software over Microsoft's.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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