April 14, 2004 8:14 AM PDT

Looking for Lindows? Try Linspire

Lindows, bowing to legal pressure from Microsoft, has renamed its operating system.

The company announced on Wednesday that its Linux operating system will now be called Linspire and that a similarly named Web site will be the primary online destination for consumers who want to purchase the company's products or who need support for previously purchased software.

The name change had been expected, following recent court rulings in Europe. The company last week acknowledged that lawsuits by Microsoft challenging the Lindows name would force it to adopt a new moniker for Europe and other foreign markets.

But in the United States, where Lindows has had more interim success in its legal battles with Microsoft, the name Lindows will still be used in certain instances and as the corporate name.

"Despite our victories in the United States and overseas, a name change is still necessary to counter Microsoft's strategy to sue us in courts around the world. We're hoping that this puts a halt on the international lawsuits," Michael Robertson, CEO of Lindows, said in a statement.

The San Diego-based company is locked in a 2-year-old legal battle with Microsoft, which says that the Lindows name is an infringement of its trademark for the Windows operating system. Lindows argues that the trademark is invalid, because "windows" is a generic computing term.

The U.S. case, already delayed several times, is likely to go trial later this year. The judge overseeing that case has denied Microsoft's requests for an injunction that would bar Lindows from using the name. But the software giant has been more successful overseas, where judges in Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands all have granted such injunctions.


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Linspire is similar in features and capabilities to the original open-source Lindows operating system and customers will not need to upgrade, the company said. All Lindows software products will carry the Linspire brand within two weeks, it said.

As of Wednesday, the Lindows.com site carries a prominent notice that "pending Lindows' appeal, visitors from the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg are not permitted to access the Lindows.com website or purchase Lindows products." The identical Linspire site carries the same message.

 

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