IBM, Linux Doing Well
An unexpected finding in the POS report, Holman said, involved IBM. The company has taken a lot of heat recently for its declining PC and laptop sales, a move that has culminated in IBM selling much of that business to Chinas Lenovo Group Ltd. The potential IBM-Lenovo deal raised some concern with a U.S. national security committee. To read more, click here. Part of that PC group includes IBMs retail store systems group, which includes POS sales. Those retail sales "have been going in the opposite direction from the rest of the PC business," Holman said. When the sale to Lenovo completes, IBM "is going to have a chance to focus even more on POS" issues.Another finding in the report is that Linux is continuing to grow in retail, increasing about 34 percent in 2004 compared with 2003, account for some 6 percent of the overall market. "Its not a significant piece of the pie yet, as youre still talking about small numbers," Holman said. Linux isnt for everyone yet. The lower software licensing cost is proving to be a major lure, though. To read more, click here. Linux in retail "is expected to rise dramatically in coming years," said a statement issued by IHL. Holman said he expects specifically to see continued growth for Linux retail, especially with convenience stores, specialty retailers and the hospitality industry. Holman saw 2004 Linux retail activity as having been helped by IBMs decision to embrace SuSE Linux as the preferred operating system for its POS units. "Thats a big deal for somebody that has historically had this proprietary operating system," he said, adding that IBM support "is going to be a bright spot for any retailer who is thinking about Linux." Shipments of Windows 2000/XP-based terminals represented 56 percent of the overall market. Windows 9x/CE represented another 15 percent of the shipments for a total of 71 percent of the market. Retail Center Editor Evan Schuman can be reached at Evan_Schuman@ziffdavis.com. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on technologys impact on retail.
Although IBM received a lot of publicity for losing the Publix POS account last year to HP, it received less attention when it won significant new retail accounts, including Circuit City, Sears and Pep Boys, Holman said.