Acer likes Linux for laptops

Taiwanese PC maker says it will develop the Linux market for laptops because of the cost of Windows.

Yahoo and Microsoft used the press to negotiate for several months regarding a potential merger. Now it appears Acer and Microsoft are having a public spat. Or, if they aren't yet, Acer's comments Wednesday will likely start one.

In an interview with, Acer Vice President of Marketing Gianpiero Morbello said his Taiwanese PC maker has big plans to develop the market for Linux, not only on its low-cost ultraportable, but on the company's laptops as well.

Acer Aspire One with Linux
The Acer Aspire One is just the beginning of Acer's foray into the Linux world, according to a company exec. Acer

The reason is because of the cost and operation of Microsoft's operating system over open-source Linux.

"We have shifted towards Linux because of Microsoft," said Morbello. "Microsoft has a lot of power and it is going to be difficult, but we will be working hard to develop the Linux market."

Acer officially unveiled its entry into the low-cost mini-laptop market, the Aspire One , on Tuesday. It will come in both Linux and Windows XP flavors.

It makes sense to try to cut as much cost as possible out of building a device like the Aspire One, which will start at $379. The attraction to such a device is mainly price, and expectations of a full set of features can be relatively low. Plus, as Acer points out, Linux has a quicker boot time and can extend the battery life of tiny Netbooks like the Aspire One.

But will mainstream PC shoppers go for Linux when they're used to buying a Windows notebook? It's unclear if Acer, currently the No. 2 notebook seller in the world, will be foisting Linux on reluctant consumers or just looking harder for places and markets that have yet to fully embrace Windows.

About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.


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