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Dell Drops Ubuntu PCs From Its Website 473

Barence writes "Dell has stopped selling consumer PCs preloaded with Ubuntu from its website, and doesn't know when they're coming back. A search for Ubuntu on the Dell UK website returns only one laptop — the Dell Latitude 2100 from the company's business range. Dell insists that it's continuing to sell Ubuntu systems, but only over the phone, and has no idea when — or even if — the Ubuntu PCs will return online. 'We've recently made an effort to simplify our offerings online, by focusing on our most popular bundles and configuration options, based on customer feedback for reduced complexity and a simple, easy purchase experience,' Dell told PC Pro. 'We're also making some changes to our Ubuntu pages, and as a result, they are currently available through our phone-based sales only.' The move comes after Dell put a page on its website advising customers only to go for Ubuntu if they were interested in open-source programming."
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Dell Drops Ubuntu PCs From Its Website

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  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @08:28AM (#33012718) Journal

    I have been on a recent job hunt. Granted, as a LAMP developer. At each interview I asked, is it possible to use a non-windows desktop. Answer: Yes. Mac or Ubuntu didn't matter as long as you could do your job.

    These weren't small companies either although they weren't the type to run IE6 either.

    There is a slow but steady march towards opensource and for the really old, it is the same march that made Microsoft a household name.

    There was a time when if you asked for a DOS machine at work, you would have had to be working in the technological vanguard to get it. Because HERE we use mainframes kid, not this new fangled dos/windows 1.0 stuff. that is kid stuff, for hobbyists.

    Dell? Missing the boat. But then, they are being surpassed on every front. I can understand why Dell doesn't want to do Ubuntu, they aren't about giving away free customizations. Sure your dell laptop can be pink, that will be 50 euro's thank you very much. All for a different colored piece of plastic. But when you are at the absolute bottom price wise your are just asking to be picked off by the next guy who can go even cheaper.

    I predict that before to long, there will be a chinese company, currently supplying the big names in the west, who starts selling direct. And then Dell will be left with overpriced hardware that doesn't offer anything different.

  • by happymellon ( 927696 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @08:35AM (#33012752)
    I would like to say that I appreciated at least the attempt, but when I went to replace my laptop earlier this year there wasn't a single Ubuntu laptop that didn't suck. They just picked out the bottom spec couple of PC's and stuck it on them, I would be not surprised if they come back saying that there was lack of interest because they didn't have a computer worth buying.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2010 @08:39AM (#33012774)
    This really isn't that difficult to understand. In order to make purchasing for less technical people easier, they've streamlined the offerings that are shown on the web page (instead of seeing like 6 variations of a single machine on the page, you'll see one or two). For those who want to customize, go with Ubuntu, etc, YOU STILL CAN. You just need to phone your order in. Ideally, they'll just make a little link at the bottom of the page or something for "advanced configurations".
  • Re:Follow the money (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2010 @08:51AM (#33012806)

    In other news.. Dell has signed a new deal with Microsoft saving them a few $ per copy of Windows.

    Dell will continue to install Office 2010 30-day nagware and now Microsoft's 'Itunes killer #31704'.

  • simplify? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:17AM (#33012910)

    'We've recently made an effort to simplify our offerings online, by focusing on our most popular bundles and configuration options, based on customer feedback for reduced complexity and a simple, easy purchase experience,'

    Funny. I still see different websites based on whether I select "home", "small and medium business" (I love that- who says "I work for a medium-sized ____ company"?), or "large enterprise" or "public sector" (of which there are SIX subcategories!)

    There are 11 laptops in the "home" section. There are 10 Lattitude "E" series laptops and 8 more in the "Specialty" section for enterprise users. 2 "precision" workstation laptops offered to higher education.

    Hang on, I'll just quote from the side of the product selector when I selected "higher education":

    Narrow Your Selection
    Product Category
    Latitude Laptops (18)
    Inspiron (4)
    Dell Precision Mobile Workstations (2)
    Studio Laptops (2)
    Vostro Laptops (7)

    33 different laptops, ladies and gentlemen. 33.

    How many does Apple sell? 3 Macbook Pros, 1 Macbook, 1 Macbook Air? Granted they come in a few flavors (different screen resolutions, for example)...but the basic laptop chassis itself is the same and a 15" macbook pro has always been a 15" macbook pro. Not a Macbook Pro 2310 and then a Macbook Pro 2340 etc.

    Dell is like GM; you can buy the same car with 4 different hood emblems and slightly different trim/headlights/taillights.

    And people wonder why Apple is raking in money hand over fist. Perhaps it's because they have a clear product lineup? Sometimes you have to stop trying to sell to every person on the planet.

  • A cryin shame. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:25AM (#33012954)

    A lose-lose situation. At least it reduces (however marginally) the Dell proprietary hardware in circulation...

  • by dominux ( 731134 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:49AM (#33013082) Homepage
    I blogged about it here:

    16:27:12        Alan    Initial Question/Comment: I can't find your laptops with Ubuntu installed
    16:27:23        System    You are now being connected to an agent. Thank you for using Dell Chat
    16:27:23        System    Connected with Makrand_Karante
    16:27:23        Makrand_Karante    Thank you for contacting Dell sales chat. This is Makrand Karante,your Sales Advisor. In order to Help you better can you provide me with your email address and Telephone number incase we get Disconnected I can either come back to you by phone or email.
    16:27:39        Alan    hello
    16:27:50        Alan    I am looking for laptops running Ubuntu
    16:27:53        Makrand_Karante    Hi Alan
    16:28:03        Makrand_Karante    we do not have that option available yet
    16:28:15        Alan    oh :-(
    16:28:32        Alan    when will they be available, I don't want Windows at all
    16:28:53        Makrand_Karante    we do not have the related information here
    16:29:36        Alan    that is a bit of a shame, I will have to go somewhere else to get a laptop then
    16:29:53        Makrand_Karante    is there any thing else that I may assist you with today?
    16:30:07        Alan    well not really. I just wanted a laptop running Ubuntu.
    16:30:19        Alan    Do you have any without an operating system at all?
    16:30:28        Makrand_Karante    I am afraid no
    16:30:36        Alan    oh
    16:31:23        Alan    so if I want a laptop from Dell I have to buy windows
    16:31:58        Makrand_Karante    Yes
    16:32:12        Alan    ok, thanks for your help
    16:32:29        Makrand_Karante    Thank you for contacting Dell Sales Chat and allowing me the opportunity to assist you. Have a wonderful Day ahead.
    16:33:25        System    The session has ended!

    Couple of updates. I am in the UK, so that was through the site, I don't want one from the US because it would have the wrong keyboard and I would be stung with customs charges and it would take a long time to get here and I like instant overnight consumer gratification.

    If you are tempted to go ask similar questions of the Dell online chat thing then go right ahead with the following conditions:
    1) You must take a credit card out of your purse/wallet, rest it on your keyboard and be totally prepared to use it, if they find you a suitable laptop.
    2) Do it once, don't repeatedly bother them.
    3) Be polite and respectful, the Code of Conduct applies.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:24AM (#33013232)

    Ubuntu is pretty restrictive in some things. Try running KDE in Ubuntu. You can't (you can install the libraries and get the apps running though), that's why there's Kubuntu.

    Having said that, if he's talking about his own personal computer, why should he have to run Ubuntu and make it act/feel like his chosen version of linux? Why not just run his chosen version of linux? It's not like he can't use ubuntu.

  • by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) <> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:32AM (#33013278) Homepage Journal

    I guarantee you that the information won't make its way back to Dell, because I can also guarantee you that the online chat service is 100% outsourced. The flow of information in those arrangements is often mostly one way.

  • by kriston ( 7886 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:49AM (#33013402) Homepage Journal

    As long as a canonical driver list is provided so we can get Ubuntu to work properly, who cares if they don't sell them with Ubuntu. I haven't seen enough of these Window-less computers that were any cheaper than the Windows Home versions were.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:51AM (#33013414)

    I'm writing this on a Latitude E6400 I bought in april in Germany. I could have got it without OS, but it was cheaper with Win7 Home whatever. Have booted into Windows about 5 times since then out of curiosity. Windows will be totally gone the second I need the harddisk space. So as long as Micro-Dell is effectivly paying me a disposal charge for wiping Windows-Bit-Waste from the disk, I'm a big Windows fan.

  • by RobertM1968 ( 951074 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @11:20AM (#33013624) Homepage Journal

    From what I understand, Microsoft also offers "rebates" to hardware computer vendors that are primarily or entirely Windows only. It's the loophole in their consent decree (rebates instead of discounts).

    It is conceivable that the public exposure Dell's Ubuntu pages made caused one of two scenarios (or a combination of both):
    (1) Someone at Microsoft pointed out to Dell that their Ubuntu efforts (especially with Linux becoming more widely known) was flying in the face of Microsoft's rebate terms.
    (2) Someone at Dell feared that the news exposure their Ubuntu offerings were gaining would cause backlash with Microsoft, and thus minimize or eliminate what "rebates" they were getting on Windows preloaded systems.

    More information (with appropriate login) can be found on Microsoft's pages located here: Microsoft OEM pages [] where such wording as "This campaign is designed to help you communicate the value of Windows 7 Professional ... OEM Software Rebates Accelerate your OEM Sales and earn rebates!" (direct and full quote (from the rotating text at the top), including the use of ellipses) can be found.

    "Help you communicate," has been determined by others to mean "Dont offer competing operating systems such as Linux so you dont "confuse" buyers with any option other than Windows" - such statements (and such a definition of the meaning) can be found by searching the web - often attributed to Microsoft themselves. Makes Dell's statement kinda suspicious in who actually came up with it.

  • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @11:31AM (#33013686)
    does this sound familiar or what?

    Microsoft strikes back at Linux netbook push []

    just as this article was about netbooks, the new buzz word to kill off in the name of Windows is tablet and to some extent smartphone. They'll have a very tough time with the smartphone but the tablet sector is just getting started and Android isn't even out of the gate on that platform yet.

    I smell lots of marketing deals forcing exclusivity with Microsoft once again.


  • by Kijori ( 897770 ) <ward,jake&gmail,com> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @11:39AM (#33013738)

    As for Dell's claim of reducing complexity... it's a single link on the side of the page! At the risk of sounding cliche, I think it's more reasonable to assume that there is some supplier exclusivity contract in play from Microsoft.

    I'm not so sure. It would take very few people ordering Ubuntu because they hadn't understood the difference for the support costs to outweigh the extra sales; this would explain their move to sell Ubuntu only over then phone, since it allows people to buy Ubuntu PCs if they really want to while preventing any possible misunderstandings.

  • by cyberthanasis12 ( 926691 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @03:40PM (#33015514)
    You do not give a reason why Windoze is easier. I will give you one why Linux is easier. My 8 years old son, has installed SuSE 11.3 in 3 computers today. Complete with all the applications. And connected to the internet. And 2 of the computers are laptops. In half an hour (for each computer). So, please. At least in slashdot, people have a clue.
  • by cronius ( 813431 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @04:09PM (#33015766)

    The other weekend I was staying at a hotel on work related business. When I was checking out the hotel guy asked me what kind of work I did and I said I was a computer programmer. He started asking me about a windows server problem they were having, and I said I only know Linux and that the company I work for specializes in it.

    At this point he told me that he had just switched permanently to Ubuntu, and that he was really enjoying the experience. He made the switch after his pirated copy of Windows stopped functioning due to an "anti-piracy" update. It was the final straw he said, because he was sick of all the troubles with Windows and sick of things not working (granted it was his own fault that he used a pirated copy of Windows, but honestly how many home users actually use a legal copy of Windows that didn't come preloaded with their computer?).

    We had a long talk and it was really encouraging to hear how this Windows user had taken the step on his own to switch to Linux. He said the last time he tried out Linux he was forced to mess around with the command line and was positively surprised that he didn't need to touch the command line with Ubuntu, everything was either GUI-based or Just Worked. The only thing lacking was proper support for games, but he said he just used the x-box or playstation for gaming anyway, so it wasn't really a concern for him. In other words, he was happy with the transition.

    Success stories like that makes me think Canonical has done a lot of things right, and are bringing Linux ever so closer to the final frontier: The average Joe. It's a confirmation that Linux is on the right track. And I find that very exciting.

  • by dotnetfreak666 ( 1863524 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:20PM (#33017992)
    "Microsoft to destroy it with windows"? Lol thats hillarious. Guess that nothing more could be expected from a limited brain. The netbook market got dominated by Microsoft simply because it works. Personally I have 4 netbooks, I bought one with linux but it was a hell to make things to work. From incompatibilities on opening documents to Flash crashing, etc. I just installed windows and voila! I dont want to spend hours surfing the web researching how to fix things or make things work, I just want to turn it on and start using it, thats all. And Im not a novice computer user, Im a software developer and Im not amused to get dirty, but I simply decided to have a life. Sources: [] []
  • by TheABomb ( 180342 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @01:55PM (#33022170)

    Bullshit. Have you bought a new computer with Windows pre-installed in the last decade? You don't get an actual Windows disc, you get a "system restore disc" that wipes everything to the factory-default state. All they have to do is offer to sell those "very few" upset consumers one of those for whatever the price differential was, and suddenly Dell gets its bloatware commissions, too. Win-win for everyone except technology!

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"