Lineo to drop hardware line, refocus on embedded roots

Embedded Linux vendor Lineo Inc. is reshaping itself by spinning off its hardware lines and refocusing entirely on the embedded systems market.

In an announcement yesterday, the Lindon, Utah-based company said it plans to spin off several hardware lines while continuing to develop tools and technologies for embedded operating systems.

The company is "getting back to its bread and butter," said a spokesman. "The economic environment has pretty much pushed most technology companies to do what they do best. It just makes sense for Lineo."

Under the changes, Lineo will spin off its Availix high-availability servers, uCdimm microcontroller hardware line and SnapGear residential gateway line, according to the company.

Analyst Paul Zorfass at IDC/First Technology Inc. in Framingham, Mass., said the reorganization makes sense for Lineo because it centers on the company's expertise. Other embedded systems vendors, such as Wind River Systems Inc. in Alameda, Calif., and Green Hills Software Inc. in Santa Barbara, Calif., continue to sell hardware as well as embedded software, he said. "It depends a little bit more on how a company views its product line," Zorfass said.

Analyst Bill Claybrook at Boston-based Aberdeen Group Inc. said Lineo at one time was "getting so diversified that they were almost out of the realm" of their original focus on embedded systems.

The move back to its core offerings is a smart one, he said. The change follows several diversions aimed at increasing revenue that failed to work out.

"I think they're back on track now," Claybrook said.

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