Dell considering offering Linux as alternative to Windows

Apple Store“Dell Inc. is considering offering the Linux operating system as an alternative to Microsoft Corp.’s Windows on its personal computers, a Dell spokesman said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports.

“The PC maker said it received more than 100,000 customer requests for Linux in a ‘suggestion box’ posted on Dell’s Web site less than three weeks ago,” Reuters reports.

Reuters reports, “The only operating system that Dell currently offers on its PCs is Windows, with one exception, Dell spokesman David Lord said. It sells high-end Linux desktops designed specifically for use in oil and gas exploration, he said.”

“The second most popular request was that Dell offer another popular free software title, OpenOffice, which competes with Microsoft Office programs including Word, Excel and PowerPoint,” Reuters reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If Dell’s goal is to astronomically increase support costs (unless they plan to sell Linux boxes without support), then this is the perfect plan. This reeks of ballot stuffing by the Linux crowd, but would the typical Linux user be satisfied having Dell dictate which Linux distro they will get? Okay, suppose Dell offers choices of Linux distros: for every one they add, they increase support costs that much more. Linux users we know would want Dell to sell “naked” boxes sans OS for them to do with what they please (that is the 5th most-popular idea on Dell’s site, with about half the votes, 46,980 vs. 102,646 for pre-installed Linux).

Realistically, does anyone really think that Joe “The Blue ‘e’ is the Internet” Sixpack wants Linux or a naked box? Of course not. Apple has a hard enough time selling non-Windows, but fully-Windows-and Linux-capable hardware with Mac OS X — an OS that actually has drivers, runs major applications that Linux doesn’t, and is much better-suited than Windows or Linux for the vast majority of personal computer users. Choice is good, but Mac OS X, not Linux and certainly not Windows, is the best choice for the vast majority of people. Remember last month’s 6.38% share (Net Applications) for Apple Mac? Linux had 0.42% in that same report. 0.42%. Linux on the desktop for the masses is a pipe dream.

To us, it looks like Dell is:
• Grasping at straws (because Steve isn’t licensing Mac OS X to Dell – or anybody)
• Trying to get a better deal from Microsoft
• Providing a distraction for Wall Street
• Just trying to placate a handful of users who’ve stormed their IdeaStorm website and caused it to backfire.
• One, some, or all of the above

Add in the fact that Dells’ Windows boxes will probably cost LESS than any Linux machine they might offer (all of that pre-installed Windows crapware subsidizes the cost of the hardware to the end user) and you can see that this idea will fly like a lead balloon.

We have an “IdeaStorm” for Dell: instead of wasting a lot of time, effort, and capital, shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.

Related articles:
Fortune: Michael Dell reiterates he’d love to sell Apple’s Mac OS X if only Jobs would license – January 22, 2007
PC box assemblers like Dell and others wish Apple would license Mac OS X – August 31, 2006
Michael Dell say’s he’d be happy to sell Apple’s Mac OS X if Steve Jobs decides to license – June 16, 2005
Fortune: PC makers realize Mac OS X is superior to Windows, they’re wooing Steve Jobs for licenses – May 26, 2005

Beleaguered Dell: Shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders – March 02, 2007
Beleaguered Dell’s earnings drop 33% – March 01, 2007
Beleaguered one-trick pony Dell faces unclear future – February 14, 2007
Biting words on Apple come back to haunt Dell – February 10, 2007
Dell faces investor lawsuit over ‘illegal Intel kickbacks’ – February 02, 2007
Michael Dell is no Steve Jobs – February 02, 2007
BusinessWeek: Welcome back, Michael Dell – don’t get too comfortable – February 01, 2007
Rollins out as beleaguered Dell’s CEO, replaced by Michael Dell immediately – January 31, 2007
Total eclipse of Michael Dell goes off as predicted – January 10, 2007
SEC starts formal probe of beleaguered Dell – November 16, 2006
Apple does it again: New Macbook Pros much cheaper than Dell – October 25, 2006
Dell feels the heat from Apple – October 04, 2006
The Motley Fool: ‘Intel to Dell: you guys stink’ – September 28, 2006
Beleaguered Dell’s OS-limited PC sales ‘declining rapidly below expectations’ – analyst – September 21, 2006
Fortune compares Mac vs. Dell: ‘you’ll get more for your money with Apple’ – September 11, 2006
AP: Time to think different, Apple Mac beats Dell on price, software compatibility, and more – August 23, 2006
Dell profit falls almost in half; announces informal SEC probe – August 18, 2006
Dell cannot compete with Apple’s new Mac Pro price or feature set – August 15, 2006
Bear Stearns: Apple’s new Mac Pro, Xserve pricing well below comparable Dell systems – August 09, 2006
Dell warns of earnings miss; shares plunge 15% – July 21, 2006
Survey shows big jump in consumer interest in buying Apple Mac; Dell takes steep slide – July 06, 2006
Dell warns 1Q earnings will miss mark; shares tumble – May 08, 2006
Apple passes Dell in market value – May 02, 2006
InformationWeek: Apple Mac run Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux; Dell and HP should be concerned – May 01, 2006
Dude, you got a Dell? What are you, stupid? Only Apple Macs run both Mac OS X and Windows! – April 05, 2006
Apple Mac is #1 in European education market, pushes Dell down into second place – February 03, 2006
Steve Jobs emails Apple team: Michael Dell not the best prognosticator, Apple worth more than Dell – January 16, 2006
Dell CEO: Apple can’t just have one product and then say they’re the innovative leader of the world – February 22, 2005
Dismissive Dell CEO not impressed with Apple Mac mini, calls iPod a ‘one-product wonder’ and a ‘fad’ – January 17, 2005

Dude, you got a Dell? What are you, stupid? Only Apple Macs run both Mac OS X and Windows! – April 05, 2006
Why buy a Dell when Apple’s Intel-based computers will run both Mac OS X and Windows? – June 08, 2005

38 Comments

  1. Dude, have you read the Vista reviews? Dell is the single-largest purchaser of Windows licenses in the world. The threat of pre-loading Linux is a threat designed to prod Billmer™ to get his shit together.

  2. I do think that Dell is grasping at straws, but if they can’t license OSX, then I support them trying Linux. ANYTHING is better than pimping Vista. And obviously with MS trying to tie hardware to the OS, and DRM, and Product Activation, and other anti-competitive measures, then perhaps there’s a market out there large enough for both Apple and Dell. Ok, so their the Wallmart of box makers.

  3. Ubuntu is pretty good. If Dell put in some support, I would imagine it would get better. Just not having to deal with spyware and viruses would help some. However, as MDN suggests, I’m sure there would be large (very) support issues.

  4. 100,000 WOW Yea right,
    That box was the complaints box that Dell sucks. remember he just cut their people money. Dell try Linux before and it didn’t work, so why now. Because Dell is dying and they have no answers for the man.
    they are trying to think of ways to stop the bleeding. Think about it, watch next couple of months Dell will try products that they copy from other companys you know new printers with different colors WOW, new computers with different colors WOW, new displays with different colors WOW, they will have big rebates with nice colors to it WOW to bring in new customers. They would even ask Steve jobs again for the licenses.That what got them there in the first place by copying. BUT you can only fool the people once, not twice well maybe some people
    Now days I go past the Palmer projects as we ex employees call it, we look and laugh at the place and all the sucks who still grinding out for this bottomfeeder. What a bunch of Aholes

    Hey Mikey are you starting to sweat, momma starting yell at you home cause you losing money. I can’t when this company hit bottom

  5. I like the idea. Anything that isnt windows is a vote for choice. Linux has come along way in the past 12 months I was a Windows guy for 20 years the tried Linux for an alternative.. eventually I tried OSX and found it was the perfect version of Linux for me. So for me Linux was a stepping stone. Linux is actually quite a good alternative these days. It is stable and virus free.. Just lacks some of the apps but it is getting there.

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