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September 15, 2006
From its small but growing offices in Manhattan, Xandros is taking aim at Microsoft. The upstart Linux provider tells The VAR Guy that its channel program, launched in June, has attracted hundreds of VARs. Xandros VP Todd Kanfer expects “thousands” of partners to promote the company’s Linux offering as a reliable, secure alternative to Microsoft on the server … and even the desktop.
Those are lofty goals, but Xandros is piecing together an interesting strategy. The company plans to aggressively promote APIs and a software development kit for partners that want to add value to Xandros’s Linux services. The firm is also working closely with open source application providers such as MySQL and Sugar CRM. As Microsoft taught us, APIs + ISVs = victory in the software market.
Xandros’s current sweet spot is the SMB sector and verticals like K-12 education. But the company has enterprise aspirations as well. Kanfer and newly promoted VP of Global Channels Stephen Gamble describe an enterprise world where Xandros runs on departmental servers and desktops, leaving Red Hat and Novell to battle against each other in the data center. (At least that’s the short-term spin. Xandros is working on virtualization and other enterprise enhancements operating system. Stay tuned.)
And what about Microsoft? Kanfer tried his hardest not to take any shots at the software giant. But The VAR Guy pressed him and Kanfer finally launched into a colorful commentary about late, buggy operating systems. “We’ve all seen the same pattern of disappointments since Windows 3.0,” he quipped before quickly moving back to the Linux discussion.
The VAR Guy left the meeting impressed with Xandros. And then he reminded himself that Microsoft, Red Hat and Novell together command about 65 to 75 percent of the server market. Even struggling Novell is still a $1 billion company. But Xandros is a scrappy upstart that should keep them all on their toes.
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