Could this be a sign of an exodus away from Windows-based environments? The cost of having to upgrade many machines to Windows 7 or Windows 8, not to mention support and licensing, or the premium support cost required to continue supporting Windows XP would not go down well at any sensible company’s finance/accounting department.
Linux is free, open-sourced (see this link for a video explanation of what the term “open-sourced” means), and if a user doesn’t like how it works, they can add/remove or tweak it completely to their liking. They can even build their own kernel to handle bespoke hardware if they wished.
It should be noted that HP teamed up with Bell Labs in the past (who developed the original UNIX OS, on which Linux was inspired from), and built HP-UX (source here), so it isn’t like HP haven’t got some *nix-like environment already under the hood. In fact, WebOS (now looked after by LG, but originally developed by Palm, which was then acquired by HP, then sold to LG) was Linux-based (source here).
HP, which was actually one of Microsoft’s key partners in the last decade, is trying to move away from Windows in a move that would clearly turn the company into a direct competitor for the Redmond-based software giant.