Is HP developing its own operating system to avoid Windows? According to a recent BusinessWeek article they're at least looking into it. The company has supposedly assembled a group of engineers to quietly work on several different ways to avoid a dependence on Microsoft, such as developing software that will essentially bypass certain elements of Vista or even building a competing OS altogether.

The operating system would reportedly be Linux-based, but be simpler and easier to use than most Linux distributions available today. HP isn't confirming the report, but it certainly wouldn't be the first time a Microsoft partner steps up support for Windows alternatives, as many netbook vendors are now offering Linux as the default OS - albeit they are far less popular that Windows-based options.

All said, I doubt Windows' dominance is in any actual danger of disappearing. But with Vista still drawing a lot of criticism and the recent explosion of the netbook market, odds have never looked better for Linux (and Apple for that matter) to erode Microsoft's dominance of the desktop market.