angry tapir writes "Mobile carriers may start giving away netbooks for free, and Linux-based application stores could help them profit by doing so, the Linux Foundation's Jim Zemlin argued at a recent forum in Beijing. 'Selling discounted netbooks to users who buy a mobile data subscription would extend a sales strategy widely used for mobile phones. Carriers often sell phones for below retail price and let a user's subscription fees make up for the loss. AT&T already sells subsidized 3G netbooks in the US, and China Mobile has announced similar plans. Carriers worldwide are likely considering the option, which lets them charge for added services like downloads of music, videos and software, said [analyst Jack Gold]. Those downloads could come from platforms like the iPhone App Store that target mainly mobile phones today. Competition could push netbook prices down as more carriers subsidize them, which would make putting Linux on the laptops an attractive way to cut costs, said Zemlin.'"