Linspire Assets Sold To Rival Linux Distributor, Xandros - InformationWeek

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7/2/2008
06:49 PM
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Linspire Assets Sold To Rival Linux Distributor, Xandros

Linspire produced Click'N'Run as a way of finding, reviewing, and downloading a copy of desktop software available on the Internet, including the Linspire Linux distribution.

Linspire chairman Michael Robertson confirmed in a public announcement Wednesday that Linspire assets had been acquired by Xandros.

The news was hinted at earlier this week as the former president of Linspire, Kevin Carmony, aired a company memo Monday in his blog that showed that Linux distributor Linspire would be sold to Xandros. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Xandros has emerged as a leader in the OEM, mobility, desktop, and PC management and application business," Robertson said of his company's purchaser. "I'm excited to see Linspire technology go to a worthy competitor," he said in a prepared statement. He couldn't be reached for further comment.

Linspire produced Click'N'Run, or CNR, as a way of finding, reviewing, and downloading a copy of desktop software available on the Internet, including the Linspire Linux distribution. CNR ensured that the software was loaded onto the recipient's machine, with an icon loaded onto the desktop to enable the user to start it. The consumer-oriented approach simplified frequent updates to a Linux distribution as well.

"Products like CNR will help Xandros makes these [Linux] platforms easy to enhance and maintain, while providing on-demand delivery of a growing number of Linux applications, utilities, games, and content," Xandros CEO Andreas Typaldos said.

Carmony posted a scanned copy of the sell-off memorandum, written by current Linspire president and CEO Larry Kettler, on his June 30 blog. Carmony received the memo as one of about 100 Linspire stockholders. The memo said it was providing notice of an action by the Linspire directors, taken without a board meeting. Linspire was formerly known as Lindows.

Carmony resigned the CEO post a year ago, having previously served six years as president.

The new company will have a new name, Digital Cornerstone. Both companies gained momentary fame in early 2007 with a handful of other small Linux distributors as signers of a patent agreement with Microsoft. Microsoft promised not to sue either company for patent infringement. The companies in turn entered into various technology-sharing agreements with Microsoft. Typaldos told InformationWeek on June 5, 2007, that the agreement allowed his company to work toward Linux-Windows interoperability.

Carmony has engaged in a war of words with his successors at Linspire since leaving the company. He posted the headline "Xandros Acquires Linspire Assets In Secret Backroom Deal" on his blog Monday and called on Robertson today to share the proceeds of the sale with Linspire stockholders. "So, Michael, now that all the assets have been sold, what's my stock worth (again, no worthless Xandros stock please), and what will happen with Linspire's customers?"

Carmony said neither his e-mails to company officials nor his blogging had prompted a response from Linspire officials over the past 10 months. He had been calling for an annual stockholders meeting, saying the required time period for one had been overrun and that he wanted to know what had happened to the "millions" he had left in the company's accounts.

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