TurboLinux Funding Sets Stage for IPO

In a move to escalate its challenge to Linux vendors Caldera Systems and Red Hat, TurboLinux announced this week that it has pulled in close to $57 million (US$) in a second round of funding.

Computer manufacturers Compaq (NYSE: CPQ) and Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) topped a list of investors that are looking to back the provider of Linux-based business and desktop software solutions. Other backers include Applix, BEA Systems, Fujitsu, Inprise/Borland, Novell, SCO (Santa Cruz Operation) and Toshiba.

“TurboLinux has established itself in high performance Linux clustering and platform interoperability, building business solutions on open-source software that integrate into the enterprise,” commented Cliff Miller, TurboLinux CEO.

Linux Funding Frenzy

Initial investors August Capital, Broadview International LLC and Intel — which collectively supplied some $5.5 million in funding this past October — also participated in the latest round that could serve, according to some analysts, as a preview of an upcoming TurboLinux initial public offering (IPO).

Linux-related stocks have grabbed attention and headlines in recent months. After the dramatic Red Hat IPO, VA Linux Systems’ offering hit the record books with a rise of almost 800 percent in its first day of trading. Caldera Systems, a Linux company that has been called “another Red Hat” by some investors, recently announced its own IPO for 2000.

Partnering With NEC

TurboLinux recently announced a technical and support partnership program with Japanese server titan NEC Corporation. Under the terms of the agreement, NEC will provide first level support to its Linux customers and TurboLinux will provide backend support for NEC computer hardware systems.

The support agreement covers all of NEC’s Linux-based computer hardware products. Additionally, the two companies will also collaborate on application software development programs along with marketing and sales initiatives to push Linux adoption in Japan.

About TurboLinux

San Francisco, California-based TurboLinux — formerly known as Pacific HiTech — has made significant advances in the Asia/Pacific Linux market. According to Business Computer News, the TurboLinux workstation product holds a 50 percent Japanese market share.

Originally from Japan, TurboLinux has been aggressively pursuing open-source software market opportunities in China. According to Chinese retail giant Federal Software, the company has led its competitors in operating system sales since August.

Inprise UK Buys Into E-Commerce

In other Linux-related news, Inprise UK recently launched an e-commerce site that will allow existing Inprise customers in the United Kingdom to purchase development tool upgrades and order other new company products online.

“This service comes as a direct response to customer requests to speed up the process of getting access to products,” said Nigel Brown, managing director of Inprise UK. “Given that most of our customers are technologists who are accustomed to using the Web daily, they expect to be able to buy products over the Internet.”

Scotts Valley, California-based Inprise/Borland manufactures and promotes a line of Linux-based Internet-enabling software products and services that it claims are designed for ease-of-use.

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