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Name Change

Last week Judge Coughenour denied our request to block Microsoft's international legal barrage against Lindows.com. Two years ago Microsoft tried to stop Lindows in a U.S. court, but they were denied. Recently, they started piling on lawsuits from around the world attempting to achieve the same result. At the same time, Microsoft is publicly demanding that the EU respect the U.S. court actions concerning their monopolistic behavior and not impose their own rulings. Microsoft hypocritically has no such respect for the U.S. court decision which determined we can operate under the term Lindows pending a final resolution of the litigation.

Some people may be puzzled about why Microsoft is attacking Lindows and not doing the same for Red Hat - a leading Linux server company. Microsoft has their targets set on Lindows because we are a desktop company. Microsoft has used that desktop dominance to move into other areas and to fund campaigns to wipe out potential competitors (Netscape, Be, Lotus, etc.). Microsoft will attack anything that it believes challenges its desktop monopoly, since it is their life blood. I'm confident that when we get to trial in the U.S., Microsoft employee testimony and internal communications will reveal their true motivations. However it's going to take some time to get resolution due to Microsoft's delay tactics. In the interim, Lindows is unable to fully respond to demand for desktop Linux from countries around the world due to name uncertainty.

To assure that we can do business globally, we are in the process of selecting a different name for our web presence and product name. I believe it's the only way to respond to an onslaught from such a rich company, since we need to be able to continue to grow our business. (Only one of the richest companies in the world would launch 8 identical lawsuits from different countries.) Our US corporate name will remain Lindows Inc. since we have meaningful name recognition and product distribution.

Outside the US we will go by a different name until we can battle for the right to use Lindows internationally. The US case will probably take a year to go through the 9th circuit court of appeals and perhaps another year for possible Supreme Court review. Our plan is to go to trial in the US as soon as possible, at which time we hope to get windows declared a generic word. If we win, we plan to approach the State Department and ask them to petition foreign governments to invalidate the windows trademark as they have done for other generic computing terms like "database," "operating system" and "pascal," which companies have tried to register as trademarks in foreign countries.

Selecting a new name is more complex then you might think. A few weeks ago we asked for suggestions, and we were flooded with some creative ideas. My favorite was one user writing in to say our name should be "lindos" and our new slogan should be "because it's the W that is causing all the problems." :-) Finding a unique name for which domain names and trademarks are available takes real searching. We're now reviewing candidates and we will identify our new international name on April 14th. Once we identify a name, then we'll start the migration. Since we have thousands of web pages and more than 100 servers it will take considerable time to completely transition. The functionality in our product won't change, but outside the US people will know our products by a different name.

We're not taking this change lightly. We need to keep our business from being held back by legal uncertainty. So visit the website next week, April 14th after 1:00 p.m. PST for the unveiling of our new name.

-- Michael

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