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Dell: Microsoft warnings haven't hurt Linux uptake

CEO Michael Dell says Microsoft's patent-infringement claims have not affected sales of its Linux servers.

Claims made by Microsoft that Linux violates its software patent have not affected sales of Linux-based hardware, according to Michael Dell.

Speaking to CNET News.com sister site ZDNet UK at a conference Thursday, Dell's chief executive said his company has seen Linux uptake for servers increase faster than Windows server products, despite Microsoft's claims.

Michael Dell Michael Dell

"On the server side Linux continues to grow nicely, a bit faster than Windows," said Dell in an interview during the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando. "We're seeing a move to Linux in critical applications, and Linux migration has not slowed down."

However, for those customers who might be concerned about whether Microsoft's claims of patent violation could result in legal action, Dell added that there were "certainly mechanisms if customers are concerned about patents."

In May, Microsoft claimed that free and open-source software violated more than 230 of its patents, but hasn't provided more detailed information following the statement.

Dell's chief marketing officer, Mark Jarvis, claimed that though the two vendors have had a close relationship in the past, Microsoft had not given Dell any more information about the issue of patent infringement, despite Dell supporting Linux on its server range and more recently on its desktops and notebooks.

"When we announced the Linux notebook, we didn't get a call from Microsoft--whatever rumblings have been heard, they haven't been heard in Austin, Texas (near where Dell is based)," Jarvis said.

On May 24, Dell launched its first PCs based on Linux in the U.S.: a basic model, Inspiron E1505n, a more powerful Dimension E520n and a top-of-the-range XPS 410n.

Jarvis added that Dell did not expect its Linux PCs to sell in large numbers, reiterating that Linux growth was with servers.

"Are they (Linux PCs) going to sell a lot? Absolutely not. But on the server side we've seen continued growth," said Jarvis.

Tom Espiner of ZDNet UK reported from London.