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IBM Ups Linux Ante In Brazil

Big Blue will invest $2.2 million on a Linux R&D center in Brazil -- South America's largest economy and a key overseas battlefield against Microsoft Windows.

IBM is once again turning its attention to a key emerging market for Linux and enterprise open-source software, investing $2.2 million in a joint Linux R&D project with one of Brazil's leading research universities.

According to an IBM news release, the company will establish a "Linux Technology Center" as a joint venture with Brazil's State University of Campinas. The center, to be located in Brazil's Sao Paulo state, will employ 45 developers and staff; according to IBM, the center will focus on Linux smartphone, virtualization, and PC power-management technology.

"The Linux market is on the brink of booming and since IBM has been at this since 1999 we believe we have a seven-year head start in the race to help customers benefit from tested, secure and cost effective Linux solutions," said an IBM executive quoted in the release.

Big Blue launched its first Linux Technology Center in 1999, as part of the company's overall embrace of Linux and open-source enterprise software. Today, the company sponsors 40 similar centers in the United States and abroad, including developing nations such as China and India, employing more than 600 developers.

Brazil continues to be a key battleground for Linux and for Windows. IBM has launched several Linux marketing initiatives in recent years, including joint efforts with Novell and Red Hat. Microsoft has also stepped up its marketing efforts; in April 2005, it rolled out a localized version of its bare-bones, lower-cost Windows XP Starter Edition.

Brazil's government has repeatedly stated its preference for Linux and open-source software on several occasions, among them a program last year that sold 500,000 government-subsidized Linux PCs to low-income Brazilians.

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