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Fujitsu Offers Free Laptop Upgrades For Life

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the one's-all-you-need dept.

Portables 166

Barence writes "Fujitsu Siemens is offering its customers free laptop upgrades for life with its Lifebook4Life scheme. Customers buying a Fujitsu Siemens Lifebook will be offered a free upgrade three years after their original purchase, and every subsequent three years for the rest of their life — as long as they purchase an extended three-year warranty. Customers will have to hope inflation stays low, though: the value of each new notebook cannot exceed the value of the previous one, adjusted 10% for inflation. Fujitsu says the scheme is profitable, and a raft of small print ensures plenty of people will find they've excluded themselves from the scheme for all sorts of reasons."

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Right... (5, Insightful)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908139)

"Free laptop upgrades for life"... sounds like "unlimited bandwidth" and "Plays4Sure".

No thanks.

Re:Right... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25908239)

A phrase comes to mind. "fucked for life"

I have to agree (4, Insightful)

a302b (585285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908275)

From TFA:

This offer is far from comprehensive, though, as it excludes case cracks, small numbers of dead pixels, broken keys, smashed screens, software issues, virus infections or failed batteries that are older than one year.

Basically, the normal wear and tear of a laptop is excluded. This seems particularly negligent regarding failed batteries, as I've noticed that most laptops become almost unusable after a few years. Even with a RAM upgrade after 3 years, it is unlikely to last much longer than that, especially if broken keys and worn out batteries aren't included. (Are batteries even designed to last that long?

Re:I have to agree (2, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908321)

Most batteries simply loose capacity over time. I have heard a number of 30% per year capacity loss for many rechargeable batteries, even when the battery is not in use. After about three years most batteries simply need replacement.

My four-year-old iBook is still doing about two hours on a battery charge, I'm impressed. Only 60% capacity loss after all those years.

Re:I have to agree (5, Informative)

mmxsaro (187943) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908531)

A lot of people don't understand that it's heat that kills a battery (and not "overcharging", let's talk about Lithium Ion for now). My Dell 700m batteries (2) each hold a charge of 5 hours after 4 years of usage. How's this possible, you may ask? I seldom charge the battery while using the laptop. I usually run it off A/C with the battery removed, and then at night, I put the battery back in and let it charge while the machine is powered off. This method has worked for me and my father very well.

Manufacturer's won't tell you that, especially since a killer profit is to be made for post-sales accessories.

Re:I have to agree (1)

indi0144 (1264518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910135)

I'd mood you UP .. this is the kind of posts that make /. worth the time spent

Re:I have to agree (-1, Flamebait)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910479)

I'd mood you UP .. this is the kind of posts that make /. worth the time spent

Out of X letters the guy only says 5 words of any information "it's heat that kills a battery" [wikipedia.org] . It's got the information to word ratio of a digg post.

Re:I have to agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25908859)

Most batteries simply loose capacity over time.

In that case all you need to do is to tighten them. Or did you mean "lose"?

Re:I have to agree (3, Informative)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908987)

A lot of it depends on temperature

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_battery#Storage_temperature_and_charge [wikipedia.org]

Assuming you keep your laptop plugged in so it is charged 100%

When you use a laptop it warms up so it dies at 35-40% per year, when it is off and at room temperature maybe 20%. A 40% charged battery in the fridge will only lose 2% per year.

Re:I have to agree (5, Interesting)

jg (16880) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908573)

Batteries are a big profit center for companies. One of the things we worked hard on the OLPC to achieve is extended battery life.

You can trade somewhat lower capacity for longevity. Basically, if you are charging the battery, and take it to full charge, you are in fact damaging the battery slightly. So we don't fully charge the battery, so we can get many, many more cycles out of them (we use LiFE, batteries as well, which are much safer than LiIon.

So that extra 10% or so of "run-time" ensures you'll wear out the battery quite quickly, and you'll buy expensive batteries for the life of the laptop.

So you see marketing on how long your laptop will run, but not how long the battery will last.
In our case, the kids may be literally days or weeks from anywhere you might ship replacement batteries to (presuming they aren't stolen on the way), even if they or their school could afford to replace them.

One of the parts of a low power machine such as ours is that our batteries can be much smaller and cheaper as well, if they do need replacement (or you want a spare).

LiFE batteries? (2, Informative)

Comboman (895500) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908867)

we use LiFE, batteries as well, which are much safer than LiIon

I'm assuming you mean lithium iron sulfide (LiFeS) or lithium iron disulfide (LiFeS2)? I had a hell of a time finding any information on them, since Googling "LiFE" & "battery" gets you hundreds of hits about "battery life", even with quotes around "LiFE". Does anyone know a way to force Google to respect mixed upper/lower case search terms?

Re:LiFE batteries? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909423)

Well I selected "lithium iron sulfide" from your post and right clicked, selected "Search Google for" and got a raft of information on the things.

Doesn't really answer your question, but it gets you there.

Re:LiFE batteries? (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909899)

That's no solution, though. He wanted to find out what LiFE stands for, and your proposal assumes he already knows.

Re:LiFE batteries? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25910441)

How about lithium iron phosphate? (LiFePO4)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_iron_phosphate_battery [wikipedia.org]

See section on Usage: "This type of battery is used on the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project"

Re:I have to agree (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909917)

You can trade somewhat lower capacity for longevity. Basically, if you are charging the battery, and take it to full charge, you are in fact damaging the battery slightly. So we don't fully charge the battery, so we can get many, many more cycles out of them (we use LiFE, batteries as well, which are much safer than LiIon.

Yes, LiFEPO4 looks very nice. While the capacity is still somewhat below that of traditional LiIon batteries, it seems to have much better longevity too.

Another advantage is that it does not need cobalt, which is relatively rare. Long term, I expect LiFEPO4 to be much cheaper than traditional LiIon.

Re:I have to agree (5, Informative)

Crias (1388217) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908693)

From TFA:

This offer is far from comprehensive, though, as it excludes case cracks, small numbers of dead pixels, broken keys, smashed screens, software issues, virus infections or failed batteries that are older than one year.

Basically, the normal wear and tear of a laptop is excluded. This seems particularly negligent regarding failed batteries, as I've noticed that most laptops become almost unusable after a few years. Even with a RAM upgrade after 3 years, it is unlikely to last much longer than that, especially if broken keys and worn out batteries aren't included. (Are batteries even designed to last that long?

Man, you've taken the article out of context. You're implying that what you're describing relates to the Lifebook4Life program - it does not.

For anyone too lazy to read, here's what they -actually- said.

From TFA:

The company is also launching another interesting scheme with its Esprimo range, offering a complete refund of the original sales price if the customer needs to send the notebook back to Fujitsu Siemens for any repairs.

This offer is far from comprehensive, though, as it excludes case cracks, small numbers of dead pixels, broken keys, smashed screens, software issues, virus infections or failed batteries that are older than one year.

They're offering full refund on the -first- sign of trouble. It's only fair that they exclude normal wear and tear. No company can make money by giving you back all your money every 3 years because you cracked the case, come on!

Re:I have to agree (2, Informative)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908753)

Li-ion batteries with cobalt oxide cathode (the most popular type in laptops now) are known for losing their capacity over a few years, even when unused.
But there are some other chemistries the laptop vendors could use, at the expense of somewhat less capacity.

Not all batteries die after 1 year (1)

1800maxim (702377) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908973)

I bought my Dell laptop (Inspiron 5100) in June 2004. I bought an extra battery, and the laptop could last 7-8 hours total, which was perfect for my notetaking and homework doing and internet browsing in school.

Fast forward to now, 4+ years later. Both batteries still last close to the original longevity, 3 hours. They didn't die, they didn't discharge, they don't only last for 30 minutes - they still last 3 hours last time I tested about a couple of months ago.

Re:I have to agree (1)

Jason Pollock (45537) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910425)

I think you should re-read the article.

That paragraph is for the _second_ deal they are offering.

The company is also launching another interesting scheme with its Esprimo range, offering a complete refund of the original sales price if the customer needs to send the notebook back to Fujitsu Siemens for any repairs.

Fujitsu batteries last forever (1)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910433)

I'm typing this on a 6 year old fujitsu laptop, never replaced the main battery, and while it only gets 4 hours instead of 6 it is still quite functional. Their power cords are crap however.

Re:Right... (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908523)

Well, the possible solution is to incorporate some radioactive elements into notebook's casing. They'll keep you warm, glowing and will surely guarantee that this notebook will last through the rest of your life.

Re:Right... (1)

Rubinhood (977039) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909617)

They'll achieve this by killing you, the guy who put a radioactive laptop on his lap, quickly.

Re:Right... (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909637)

Whoosh....

Okay so they admit... (5, Interesting)

x1n933k (966581) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908145)

It's a scam, that's awefully direct:

"Fujitsu says the scheme is profitable, and a raft of small print ensures plenty of people will find they've excluded themselves from the scheme for all sorts of reasons."

Or this a case of another bad summary...

[J]

Re:Okay so they admit... (4, Informative)

Ksempac (934247) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908169)

Bad summary indeed : Exact quote from TFA :

A Fujitsu Siemens spokesperson assured PC Pro today that the scheme is a profitable venture, once the sale of future warranties and upgrades is taken into account. Only Fujitsu Siemens modifications are allowed, so upgrading with cheap third-party RAM is out of the question.

I can understand that overpriced hardware upgrades can make up for the lack of sales. And they wouldn't be the first ones to offer these kind of upgrades.

Re:Okay so they admit... (5, Insightful)

Kent Recal (714863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908311)

What stops me from running my notebook with third-party RAM for 3 years and swapping the original RAM back in only on the day that I return the lappy for "upgrade"?

No, I think the real kicker is this:

Customers will have to hope that the UK manages to avoid high levels of inflation, though; the value of each new notebook cannot exceed the value of the previous one, adjusted 10% for inflation.

The "value"? You mean the price? Hmm. Who sets the price? Oh, right, Fujitsu Siemens. So I suspect 3 years down the road you'll be offered an upgrade laptop that is complete crap, but at the same they'll offer you to upgrade to something worthwhile for "a small additional fee".

3rd-party RAM (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908433)

What stops me from running my notebook with third-party RAM for 3 years and swapping the original RAM back in only on the day that I return the lappy for upgrade?

Hmm, it wouldn't be all that hard to code something into the BIOS that would log hardware changes in a special place.

Alternately perhaps they could just have it reject non-permitted RAM. My last HP refused to boot when I replaced the cruddy broadcomm 802.11b miniPCI card with an Intel, but it didn't mind when I used a slightly-less cruddy HP broadcomm 802.11g card...

Re:Okay so they admit... (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909403)

Or maybe they're simply banking on making such crappy hardware no-one will want another of their laptops three years down the line.

Re:Okay so they admit... (1)

mehtajr (718558) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909817)

Or banking on no longer being in the consumer laptop business, and using this as a scheme to extra a bit more money before they exit.

Re:Okay so they admit... (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910167)

You want to pay for a $100 laptop now and get a $200 laptop in 3 years?

Re:Okay so they admit... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910465)

Those clever little intrusion stickers inside the case.

Sir, it appears you've made some unauthorized upgrades....

Frist Post (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25908157)

Now I'm gonna have to RTFA.

This is a winner for Fujitsu Siemens! (2, Informative)

Mr Reaney (544642) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908161)

Because in my experience, Fujitsu won't honour their warranties anyway.

Fujitsu actually makes laptops? (2, Insightful)

rimcrazy (146022) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908165)

OK, so am I the only one surprised at this, and given their HUGE market share, who in their right mind would want one?

Re:Fujitsu actually makes laptops? (4, Informative)

nstrom (152310) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908177)

Fujitsu Siemens [wikipedia.org] as a collaboration sells only to Europe/Middle East/Africa, not the US. I don't think this laptop or offer is available in the US.

Re:Fujitsu actually makes laptops? (0, Troll)

bami (1376931) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908215)

Even if they came to the US, stay away from them. They're like the European equivalent of Packard Bell.

Re:Fujitsu actually makes laptops? (1)

pisto_grih (1165105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908453)

No, unfortunately, we have Packard Bell over here in the UK as well.

To be fair, my family's first PC was a Packard Bell (450mb hard drive ftw!)

Re:Fujitsu actually makes laptops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25908579)

Fujitsu sell desktops, laptops and servers in the US, Far East and Australasia I believe. Fujitsu-Siemens essentially re-brands them and sells them in Europe, Middle East and Africa. However when Fujitsu buys out Siemens' stake of FSC in April 09, I believe all the product lines will be re-branded and sold as Fujitsu.

Re:Fujitsu actually makes laptops? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25908645)

"Even if they came to the US, stay away from them. They're like the European equivalent of Packard Bell."

Except they are half Japanese and this type of "support" is common practice in their Japanese server market. They simply don't "grok" the western way of doing IT but they must be doing something right in Japan if they can afford to walk away from a billion pound government contract in the UK without the mass redundancies you would expect to see in a western company.

AC and terribly biased because I work for Fujitsu. Unlike EDS and IBM (who I have also worked for), Fujitsu still have this quaint cultural thing whereby they respect ALL their employees, not just the high-flyers but also the guy who scrubs their toilet.

Re:Fujitsu actually makes laptops? (2, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910069)

Interesting, i knew several people who worked for Fujitsu and they never mentioned this, they seemed quite unhappy there (hence why they left).

Re:Fujitsu actually makes laptops? (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909065)

They've impressed with their service, though. An acquaintance had his laptop break down while in training somewhere, and Fujitsu-Siemens sent a guy over to pick up the laptop. It was fixed pretty quickly and returned in days. This was a TravelMate, a fairly rugged model.

I haven't seen any hardware problems with the latest cheaper models, or Packard Bell laptops. I'd get my ten foot pole for any of their desktop systems, though.

Re:Fujitsu actually makes laptops? (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909087)

Argh, replace that instance of TravelMate with LifeBook. I am on an Indian spice high.

Re:Fujitsu actually makes laptops? (1)

nhytefall (1415959) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910741)

"The spice must flow." Obligatory Herbert reference, my apologies to the /. crowd.

Re:Fujitsu actually makes laptops? (1)

nbert (785663) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908417)

Since Siemens is leaving the joint venture I guess that Fujitsu will unify their product lines. So this offer will either be very short-lived or they'll bring it to all countries soon (third option is that they will only offer it in EMEA regions, which wouldn't make much sense IMO).

BTW: Siemens should get rid of the remaining IT-related divisions and focus on things they are good at (like steam turbines).

Re:Fujitsu actually makes laptops? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908211)

OK, so am I the only one surprised at this

I have one from the late 90's. P133, massive 2gb drive. Bought at CompUSA.
It still runs, mostly.

Re:Fujitsu actually makes laptops? (1)

Medieval_Thinker (592748) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908557)

I bought one in 1997 maybe that was a demo model at Office Max or someplace. It was a P133 and had a 1.6gb hard drive. I maxed the memory out at 80mb.

I'll have to say, it was a very sturdy laptop, and it ran quite well all considered. I sold it in 2002 or so for $200.

Re:Fujitsu actually makes laptops? (2, Interesting)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909399)

I have a Stylistic 3500 slate. It's only a 500 Celeron but it's a stonker of a machine for what it is. Given that I purchased it secondhand four years ago, Fujitsu weren't hesitant to replace the panel when the touch sensor expired for no charge save shipping. Nice one, FS!

Re:Fujitsu actually makes laptops? (1)

IAN (30) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908379)

OK, so am I the only one surprised at this, and given their HUGE market share, who in their right mind would want one?

Not only that, the Fujitsu-Siemens joint venture is reportedly breaking apart [channelregister.co.uk] . What that means for the future of FS laptops remains to be seen. I for one would be wary of that kind of deal.

Re:Fujitsu actually makes laptops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25909633)

OK, so am I the only one surprised at this, and given their HUGE market share, who in their right mind would want one?

I've owned about a dozen or more laptops over the years, and after researching the market, I bought one of their convertible Tablets PCs. It was an impressive machine: extremely well designed, rugged, and had a feature set that put it far and above the competition. It even held it's resale value well when it came time to upgrade.

The small print (5, Informative)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908181)

Hit any of these, and you'll get excluded permanently.

  • fail to register within 21 days of purchase
  • lost receipt
  • fail to take an upgrade

From TFA:

If customers fail to register their notebook within 21 days of purchase, they lose out, and if the initial sales receipt is lost then they will not be able to claim a replacement notebook. If at any point a customer fails to take an upgrade, then they will also be ineligible for any future laptops.

Re:The small print (0, Redundant)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908213)

That last one is probably the worst. If you buy the laptop, you aren't even free to install whichever software you like. You must keep the original software intact, so that any upgrades can be applied.

Re:The small print (5, Insightful)

Laughing Pigeon (1166013) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908265)

As far as I can see it is not about software upgrades but about the upgrade of the entire machine after 3 years.

Re:The small print (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910107)

As far as I can see it is not about software upgrades but about the upgrade of the entire machine after 3 years.

Thats how I read the article as well. In other words if you take a laptop for life then don't take the new laptop offered after three years, you can't then come back to them after 6 years and say 'new laptop please'

Re:The small print (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25908469)

The Fujitsu-Siemens laptop I'm writing this from had no pre-installed OS and came with a Knoppix CD. It is an Esprimo though, not a Lifebook.

Hmm (2, Interesting)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908183)

While it sounds good in theory: how much can you possibly upgrade a laptop? From the article you cannot say exactly what is considered to be an upgrade. Memory: you can only upgrade up to the limit the current motherboard supports, 4 Gb or whatever. After that, a new main board is needed and I really doubt that will be considered an upgrade.

Laptops have integrated graphic cards, sound cards and NICs, so no upgrade is possible here, other than changing the whole main board...

The screen, sure can be changed, but not upgraded to a new size easily...

The catch is that a laptop cannot be easily "upgraded" as a desktop computer.

Re:Hmm (2, Insightful)

olivervaga (1332677) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908541)

If you'd read the summary more carefully, you'd understand that the upgrade is an actual new laptop, is in an upgrade from your old laptop.

Classic "90% will lose their receipts" scheme (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908191)

This is designed to get money up front on the basis that most purchasers will be ineligible to benefit from it. Thus it takes money from the lazy and stupid which can be used to benefit smarter people. I have no problem with you^W them subsidising me^W us.

Re:Classic "90% will lose their receipts" scheme (0)

aywwts4 (610966) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909223)

You are so smart your batteries never die on you and your hinges never crack?

I wish I had your IQ.

Edit: Nevermind. (2, Informative)

aywwts4 (610966) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909259)

Edit: Sorry for the snarkyness. Apparently "a302b" was full of crap, and after I RTFA it looks like those exclusions he listed are for a different program.

My mistake, wish there was an edit button.

And this is why... (1)

XTrollX (1398725) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908221)

Fujitsu's market share is so astronomically large.

Re:And this is why... (3, Informative)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908341)

What do you mean? Here in Europe, many consumers do have Fujitsu-Siemens computers. It seems to be one of the most popular brands. At my local supermarket they sell many models of that brand. Even here at the office (where all laptops are HP), the workstations are Fujitsu-Siemens. Heck, we just got a new VM server and it was Fujitsu-Siemens.

Fujitsu-Siemens is huge.

Re:And this is why... (1)

BKX (5066) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908389)

Yes, but in the US nobody even knows about Fujitsu Siemens. Hell, I wasn't even aware that they made laptops. Furthermore, the brand name would just turn people off. I mean, it sounds like a camera just got done bukkakeing on somebody.

Re:And this is why... (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908415)

it sounds like a camera just got done bukkakeing on somebody.

How does Konica-Minolta sound to you then?

Siemens is a well known European brand, Fujitsu is a well known Japanese brand... It's simply a combination of both....

Re:And this is why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25909237)

They probably aren't too worried about their market share in the US, as they don't sell there.

FSI not wery much longer (1)

Savage650 (654684) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908721)

Fujitsu-Siemens is huge.

"Hugeness" notwithstanding, the entity named "Fujitsu-Siemens" (a joint venture founded in 1999) wont last much longer: Siemens is selling their share to Fujitsu.

That doesn't necessarily mean that the company or its brands will vanish, but a change of management could likely result in a decision to get rid of "this kind of contracts".

Free (5, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908241)

"Customers ... will be offered a free upgrade ... as long as they purchase"

      The complete ignorance of the majority of people where money is concerned is what has us in this whole financial crisis. It's NOT FREE IF YOU HAVE TO PAY SOMETHING, DAMMIT. At best this is a "membership" or "subscription" deal that has lots of strings attached to make sure it's very easy for you NOT to get your upgrades (like say losing the original receipt or not registering within 21 days (from TFA)), and forces you to pay an undetermined amount for the rest of your life to the manufacturer.

      Reading the fine print you will probably find out that they can change the price or cancel the plan whenever they want without notice. And of course what guarantee do you have that your "replacement" will be a competitive model?

Re:Free (4, Insightful)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908383)

Reading the fine print you will probably find out that they can change the price or cancel the plan whenever they want without notice. And of course what guarantee do you have that your "replacement" will be a competitive model?

Fujitsu did state that they calculated that their plan would be profitable. That should have been the first clue right there.

Re:Free (2, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908671)

Fujitsu did state that they calculated that their plan would be profitable. That should have been the first clue right there.

Newsflash - Selling computers is profitable. I this gets a few more sales that would have otherwise gone to HP or Dell, then profitable it may be. So what?
Or is 'profit' a bad word nowadays?

Re:Free (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910089)

No one says they can't try to make a buck, and there's nothing really dishonest here.

Of course, expect your "replacement" to be the bottom of the barrel, and expect your fees to go up. I'm sure it's all in that fine print somewhere.

Then again, you could keep your money and do something with it in the meantime. It's your choice.

Re:Free (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909095)

Fujitsu did state that they calculated that their plan would be profitable. That should have been the first clue right there.

If companies do something that loses money, there's usually something even worse at work. Long story short, it's a loyalty program which pretty much ensures that if you buy this, your next laptop will also be a Fujitsu. Since it's a use it or lose it scheme you'd be a fool not to use if you got it, you can almost call it a guaranteed sale three years from now which they get paid today. If you look at it from the company's perspective, that's good even if the margins are the same as they get paid ahead of product, predictable delivery quantities and if they'd done it sooner they could have gotten people to commit money they wouldn't have spent three years down the line during a recession. All of that without any evil plans to scam people out of it through ineligibility.

I really don't see how it's compelling to the customer though.
1. It commits you to replacing in three years, even though you might not want to (use it until it breaks)
2. It commits you to a Fujitsu, even if others have more compelling offers / feature sets
3. It locks you to a price range, even though computers grow cheaper and your needs/income change

Three years... if I think intervals that'd be like: high school - early student - grad student - just employed - regular worker, so over the last 12 years I'd say my needs and financial status have changed massively. If I take the scary option and add "unemployed" as the next one (though I don't fear for my job at the moment) then that's another 3+3 years (reemployed) with big changes. There'd better be a damn good reason for me to commit to anything three years from now.

What about the environment? (5, Insightful)

gapagos (1264716) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908365)

How many of us really need to buy a new laptop every 3 years?
I had my macbook for 3 years, and I plan to use it for at least 3 more years, if not more.
Granted, I upgraded the HD, but even I could have lived without that upgrade.

I find it sad that we encourage a society of constant consumption and constant waste of perfectly good computer equipment.
Ok, a 3-year old laptop may not be able to play Crysis in Extreme Graphics Quality, but most people do not use a laptop for those purposes, and most people who play games use a desktop anyway.

Computers are extremely difficult to recycle, because they mix so many kind of parts (metal, plastic...) and can contain toxic elements. (such as batteries)

I find it outrageous that still to this day we are trying to find new reasons for people to throw away their computers instead of actually encouraging them to KEEP THEM.

And yes you can always donate your computer to charity. But I don't see anywhere in TFA that the company prepared any step to help its customers into doing that.

Re:What about the environment? (1)

pisto_grih (1165105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908507)

Exactly. What companies should be doing is rewarding customers for not dumping their old computers in landfill.

How about a free RAM upgrade when you recycle your old computer at the same time as purchasing your new one?

Re:What about the environment? (4, Interesting)

jc42 (318812) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908817)

I find it outrageous that still to this day we are trying to find new reasons for people to throw away their computers instead of actually encouraging them to KEEP THEM.

But what else could you possibly get from a system that judges a company solely on its sales? Our economic system provides strong incentives to build products that break in as short a time as possible, and can't be repaired, so you must buy a new one. Complain all you like (and we all do), but unless you're doing something to reward a company for durability, you're not solving the problem.

And yes you can always donate your computer to charity.

Doesn't this machine come with MS windows? We've already discussed the fact that, if you donate a Windows machine, the license for the software probably doesn't transfer along with it. Yes, I know the MS PR people claim that they have a way to transfer licenses. But I have a number of friends working for charitable organizations who will tell you about the grief and wasted time from trying to get permission to legally run the software. Mostly, they failed at this, and either paid the retail price for a license, or more often they just trashed the hardware. If you go to the web site for MS's Microsoft Open License for Charities [microsoft.com] , you'll see that they don't actually talk about transferring the original license. The site tells you how to purchase licenses at a special price.

So if you donate your computer to charity, you may be sticking that charity with the expense of a software license.

Re:What about the environment? (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909947)

So if you donate your computer to charity, you may be sticking that charity with the expense of a software license.

God forbid a charity case should be forced to run Linux!

Re:What about the environment? (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910851)

But what else could you possibly get from a system that judges a company solely on its sales? Our economic system provides strong incentives to build products that break in as short a time as possible, and can't be repaired, so you must buy a new one. Complain all you like (and we all do), but unless you're doing something to reward a company for durability, you're not solving the problem.

My parents had their old washing machine for ~25 years with minor repairs. When it was time to get a new one of course the old company didn't exist, the were probably long gone and dead because they had no resales. It doesn't really fit well into either personal compensation plans nor executive bonuses, since it's the guys 25 years ago that did the work which leads to the new sale. Most "extended warranty" plans today are scams at worst and an insurance against lemons at best, and doesn't really say anything about a product's real durability like whether it'll wear out in 5 or 25 years. Trying to charge me a bundle up front on an alledged durability is a snake oil salesman trick, by the time it breaks down the salesman and the CEO both will have cashed out their options and fled the scene. At best the company is still around to honor the warranty but it's still risky.

If a company wants to claim durability, then show me a warranty plan that makes me think you really believe it. Provide long and cheap warranty, and instead of trying to charge some absurd upfront cost at once commit to extension options payable at end of regular support. Throw it a good sales pitch so people are thinking sale + warranty extension vs sale + next sale. Try to really show that by dollars/year this machine will cost them less that buying junk they'll have to throw out every few years. It's not really the consumer's ball on this one as long as the offerings are such as they are. Sell it in a way that makes me think you believe it yourself and I'll buy, not before.

Re:What about the environment? (1)

GregNorc (801858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909171)

Agreed. I currently have one of the first intel macbooks. It's got two 2ghz processors and 2GB of RAM (unfortunately I can't put in more, or I would.) I can browse the internet, watch movies, and type up papers just fine. Parallels takes up a huge chunk of processor power and ram, but if I close most of my other programs it runs fine. The battery will eventually go, but I just got my first battery replaced under applecare, so I've probably got another two years until it needs replaced again. I'm happy with it, and I think it'll last me at least another two or three years, barring some sort of catastrophic parts failure, for a grand total of between four and five years use.

Re:What about the environment? (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909933)

I'm a dumpster diver... I love it when people throw away their computers. :-)

Re:What about the environment? (1)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910405)

How many of us really need to buy a new laptop every 3 years?

Well personally, my HP laptop has major problems with usb over current detect (3 year old) My mates dual core acer lasted maybe 2 years before blowing all its ports.

3 years of working life seems realistic to me. Battery life would be practically non-existent after 3 years.

Are Apples really that much better?

Adjusting for inflation (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908457)

Actually, this might work out fairly well for the consumer, if they allow for laptops of up to 110% of the current price. My last laptop was around the $2000+ mark. In its time it was a real workhorse, and even today it's fairly solid and usable but the technology is unfortunately just plain outdated.

My current laptop cost around $1000. The physical design seems to be a bit less resilient, but the CPU (dual-core), video-card, and other features vastly exceed my previous machine.

Laptops are one of those things that have come down in price over time, so it may be a decent deal if you get to pick by price and not from pre-selected models, etc.

Whenever you see "free" and "for life" (1)

sizzzzlerz (714878) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908539)

in the same advertisement, run away. What ever it is being offered will be neither.

Re:Whenever you see "free" and "for life" (1)

Peet42 (904274) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908819)

It's like the wristwatch with the "lifetime guarantee", which slashes your wrist with the mainspring when it breaks.

My experience of Fujitsu Siemens products (1)

Peet42 (904274) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908801)

...is that they die days outside the statutory 12 month warranty period. Thus, the three year warranty is a no-brainer, and its price should be taken into account when pricing the product.

But as all their warranties are "return-to-base", "exchange unit only" they're worthless unless you keep very thorough backups.

have I got a vacation condo for you (3, Interesting)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 5 years ago | (#25908945)

Yep, this offer is great for folks that subscribe to record clubs, 10-year gym contracts, "free" tire rotations, vacation time-shares, tenth-cone-free punch cards, and all that.

The rest of us value lack of lock-in.

Making money (2, Informative)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909261)

Deals like this are designed to make money. Fujitsu is banking on warranty sales to make their additional profit; essentially tuning this into a laptop lease deal. If you decide to go off lease you keep the laptop you bought; if you stay on you get 100% of your payment down on the next model. It's like a lease with a 0 buyout; plus they get cash upfront instead of over 3 years. If you turn it in they get the resale / scrap value plus a new warranty - want to bet it won't be cheap and probably a significant percentage of the laptop's cost?

Look at dell - an $820 laptop 3 year warranty is $190 - about 25%. After 3 years you get $820 towards a laptop; but that $820 laptop retailed for about $1100 - Dell had an $320 special deal going. So, if they don't offer a similar deal you could wind up getting $820 off of a full priced machine (assuming the 10% fine print will let you), plus paying for a new warranty. As a result, that new machine would cost you $560. (190 plus 190 plus 1000 minus 820)

This has been done... Not a scam. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25909265)

It's not a scam when the business presents it's intentions up front.

You purchase a laptop for X amount of dollars. Your receipt for that laptop sets the value. It does not depreciate. 3 years later, about the time most regular laptop users are ready for a new laptop, Fujitsu will give you a brand new laptop for free. Yes, free. You do not have to pay for it. It's FREE.

HOWEVER, if you would like ANOTHER free laptop in 3 years time, you will need to purchase ANOTHER 3 year warranty for the new laptop.

How much more straightforward do you need? It's a great plan. The company locks in loyal customers who will then need to spend more money on the products the company profits off of, accessories. Selling the laptop at a fraction of the retail value, the cost of the new 3 year warranty, in order to sell more accessories is not only NOT unheard of but business as usual. You get a free laptop, they sell more accessories to potentially lifetime customers.

Re:This has been done... Not a scam. (1)

hey (83763) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909675)

I am using a Lifebook now. And I like it.
I have had it for 2 years and it looks like it will
last a few more.

Re:This has been done... Not a scam. (1)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910371)

That is so close to being a haiku, how about:
I use the Lifebook
For two years and it seems it
Will last a few more

Or if you want it to be more like a real haiku, we change the last line to incorporate a season:
I use the Lifebook
For two years and it seems it
Will last through the spring

"Free upgrades for life!"? (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909335)

Sure. Just send us your firstborn and write us in as the sole beneficiary to your estate.

Thanks but no thanks. I'll just take the free Parker pen for enquiring.

3 years? (1)

dread (3500) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909437)

Who uses a laptop for more than 18 months? What are you people - masochists?

Re:3 years? (1)

crimson30 (172250) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909697)

I bought the laptop I'm using right now, a Lifebook P2120, in late 2002.

It works great for common tasks... checking e-mail with outlook, web browsing with k-meleon, movies with windvd, torrenting with utorrent; all on top of win2k. I occasionally use it for website work (building, not hosting): apache, php and mysql work great, of course, and photoshop works fine. The big downside would be that all the linux distros I've tried (about 7 or 8 on this machine) are quirky or slow, so I've stuck with windows... which means I have to bother with typical windows annoyances and reinstalls every year or two.

For games (mtgo client), video editing (premiere) or watching downloaded movies that don't play well on the P2120, I reach over and grab my Lifebook P1620. I don't use the P1620 primarily because I prefer the ergonomics of the P2120 (to any laptop).

I'm still waiting for ANYBODY to make another laptop like the Lifebook P2120.

Re:3 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25909799)

It's called buying only what you need.

Go back swimming in your money banks.

Troll.

Just like forever stamps (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909457)

Remember those? When the price of stamps kept going up every 6 months and they offered stamps that you could buy that would be good forever. No more inconvenience of buying penny stamps, or getting returned mail because they did a stealth price change. I posited that they would stop selling those in only a few months or perhaps even declare them invalid. Looks like I was half right as I can't find them at any of my nearby postal facilities.

Re:Just like forever stamps (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909641)

Remember those? When the price of stamps kept going up every 6 months and they offered stamps that you could buy that would be good forever. No more inconvenience of buying penny stamps, or getting returned mail because they did a stealth price change. I posited that they would stop selling those in only a few months or perhaps even declare them invalid. Looks like I was half right as I can't find them at any of my nearby postal facilities.

They're still around - the beauty for the USPS is they simply can raise the price to the new one on remaining stock. I would not be surprised if they sell forever stamps forever; in addition to commemoratives. That actually makes some sense since you don't have a large stock of fixed postal value stamps that all of a sudden need an additional 2 cents to be used; lowering your inventory costs.

Re:Just like forever stamps (1)

Kibblet (754565) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909647)

Plenty of forever stamps here. No idea why you can't find them. They even sell them online. [usps.com]

Re:Just like forever stamps (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25909955)

I can only assume that the OP, like so many clueless Slashbots, is so enamored with conspiracies that he can't even see the reality directly in front of his face.

Re:Just like forever stamps (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910553)

Looks like I was half right as I can't find them at any of my nearby postal facilities.

Maybe you are looking in the wrong place.

When I bought some stamps at an ATM, the stamps were forever stamps. It makes inventory easier, since there is only one kind of "first class stamp", they can remotely change the price, and are quite convenient.

Fujitsu... Siemens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25909735)

I've been using this Fujitsu laptop I got from Japan for about 6 years now with no problems (excluding the hard disk upgrade and very quite dead battery), so I'm pretty intrigued with the offer - provided they make available all the fine print for hours of mind boggling reading/amusement.

What's the difference between Fujitsu and Fujitsu Siemens anyways? I don't believe I've seen a Fujitsu-Siements product around before in the East Asian region.

Keep the receipt? Some sort of joke? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910197)

Well, that excludes anyone buying these in a bricks & mortar retail shop.

The shitty thermal paper used on most receipt printers is usually completely unreadable inside 18 months, and after 3 years I doubt anyone could say with any degree of certainty that it had ever even been a receipt.

They're planning ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25910525)

If you know you'll be out of business tomorrow, sell updates "for life" today. Why do you think Siemens wants out?

Who needs vendor lockin for life anyway? Oh, right. Apple should offer this, fits their customer base.

"cavetemptor"? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#25910583)

Whoever used that tag obviously needs to brush up his Latin subjunctives...
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