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Dell Says High Linux Netbook Returns a "Non-Issue"

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the data-trumping-bluster dept.

Microsoft 324

Michiel Roos notes that at this week's OpenSource World, a Dell executive deflated Microsoft's claims that Linux notebooks have return rates four or five times higher than Windows machines. "Todd Finch, Dell senior product marketing manager, said the number of Linux returns are approximately the same as those for Windows netbooks. He categorized the matter of returns as a 'non-issue.' 'They are making something of nothing,' he said of Microsoft's claims."

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324 comments

in your face microsoft! (0, Offtopic)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067043)

talk to the hand...

Re:in your face microsoft! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29067059)

Anyone knows why Linux netbooks have high returns vs. windows netbooks?

Re:in your face microsoft! (5, Informative)

yourexhalekiss (833943) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067121)

According to Dell, and TFA, Linux netbooks don't have high returns vs. windows netbooks.

Re:in your face microsoft! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29067205)

Didn't you see the sign that said "Don't feed the trolls" ?

Re:in your face microsoft! (0, Offtopic)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067571)

according to your reply to my comment you did not have a clue what i meant...

Re:in your face microsoft! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29067201)

The people who return Linux netbooks do so because they can't find the big blue "e" on the desktop. To hell with them, I say.

Linux is fucking king now. Linux shits all over the chests and faces of the MS-loving ignorami and fucks their wives and sisters. The strong survive and run or migrate to Linux, the weak do not live on because they are cuckolded by Linux users.

We, the Linux users, are fucking king...no, GODS. We are the gods who demand sacrifice! Ha. Ha ha. HahahHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAA!

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:in your face microsoft! (5, Funny)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067319)

Me thinks he's been nipping at the ethanol a bit too much and it's not even noon.

Re:in your face microsoft! (4, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067751)

Problem is he was not drinking ethanol.. Methanol.. He's gone raving mad....

Dang it, now he's drinking the salt water from the reef tank in the lobby. STOP THAT! I gotta go and try and catch him before the boss get's back.

Incredible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29067211)

I've grown accustomed to people not reading TFA. I know sometimes they don't even read TFS. But how were you able to post your comment without even reading TFT?!

I have questions (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29067167)

What gasses are they are expecting to see produced? What effects will this have?

In Slashdot Bingo (-1, Troll)

wampus (1932) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067047)

KDawson posting some old, stupid story about Microsoft should be the free space at the center.

Re:In Slashdot Bingo (0, Offtopic)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067149)

KDawson is a pathetic reactionary troll. It would be nice to be able to filter out anything he's touched.

Re:In Slashdot Bingo (1)

wampus (1932) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067263)

Shrug, I use it to learn about Windows security shit I should be aware of. Those are usually the only timely stories that make it here anymore.

IdeaStorm's Top Ideas (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067063)

The end of the article plugs Dell's IdeaStorm [ideastorm.com] which has these as top ideas:

  1. 115170: Pre-Installed OpenOffice | alternative to MS Works & MS Office
  2. 105120: Have Firefox pre-installed as default browser
  3. 103950: No Extra Software Option
  4. 101110: Pre-Installed Linux | Ubuntu | Fedora | OpenSUSE | Multi-Boot
  5. 86980: Provide Linux Drivers for all your Hardware
  6. 72510: No OS Preloaded
  7. 53180: Sell Linux PCs Worldwide - not only the United States
  8. 46690: Stripped down, fast Linux Box
  9. 39970: coreboot (formerly LinuxBIOS) instead of proprietary BIOS

So maybe only open source users know about IdeaStorm? Regardless, Dell is staring down hundreds of thousands of users looking for more options that should honestly be very easy to provide. So if the returns are a "non-issue" and are similar to Windows returns then what's the deal, Dell?

Re:IdeaStorm's Top Ideas (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067215)

I suspect that, while the enthusiasm on ideastorm is real, it isn't wildly representative.

Think about the people who are actually passionate about computer related stuff: You've got the Linux and/or FOSS guys, the hardcore gamers, the Mac-heads, some true Microsofties, and that's about it. Almost everybody else uses them, and wants them to work; but isn't going to spend their leisure time posting on some Dell messageboard about it.

Of those groups, the hardcore gamers and the Mac-heads wouldn't give Dell the time of day if they were on fire(in aggregate, obviously there are gamers with Dells; and the Mini-9 hackintosh crew; but the more passionately you are a member of those groups, the less likely you are to be running a Dell), while the Microsofties can already get all the MS software they want from Dell, so they have no reason to complain. Linux/FOSS enthusiasts are pretty much the only ones I'd expect to show up.

Re:IdeaStorm's Top Ideas (0)

pzs (857406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067423)

You say that, but did you look at the numbers on that page? The OpenOffice recommendation has more than 100,000 upvotes. Why would 100,000 people who don't care show up on Dell's webpage to click on that arrow?

I work in a University where Dell is the main approved supplied for PC kit. I had to buy a work machine with XP even though the first thing I did was to install Linux. I wonder how many other forced-to-buy-Dell or don't-know-anything-but-Dell people there are out there who might buy FOSS if they could and it was cheaper?

Sure, a majority of people may not be interested in Linux or OpenOffice. But a significant minority might take the opportunity to go for an alternative to MS if one was made available.

Re:IdeaStorm's Top Ideas (1, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067555)

The OpenOffice recommendation has more than 100,000 upvotes. Why would 100,000 people who don't care show up on Dell's webpage to click on that arrow?

Because we all know that online ballots are never stuffed and each vote is always from a unique person...

Re:IdeaStorm's Top Ideas (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067613)

Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm part of the significant minority running Linux on Dells. I was just explaining why I was utterly unsurprised that there were absolutely no non-FOSS-related proposals at the top of the list. And, I must say, I am quite surprised that MS Works is the default you-were-too-cheap-for-office pack-in from Dell.

Re:IdeaStorm's Top Ideas (4, Insightful)

operator_error (1363139) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067635)

Why would 100,000 people [with valid Dell site user-registrations] who don't care show up on Dell's webpage to click on that arrow?

100,000 registered folks seems compelling to me, and most anyone listening, Dell. I tried to click the up arrow, but user-registration is required first.

Still, I think M$ forces Dell's & Asus' (etc.) hand by hidden fees & bulk-discounts related to the M$ tax.

Re:IdeaStorm's Top Ideas (5, Informative)

fortyonejb (1116789) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067891)

You say that, but did you look at the numbers on that page? The OpenOffice recommendation has more than 100,000 upvotes. Why would 100,000 people who don't care show up on Dell's webpage to click on that arrow?

Before your misinformation gets too far, a little clarification, Dell's IdeaStorm increments by 10 for each vote, meaning it has received 10,000 upvotes, not 100,000.

Typical. (3, Insightful)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067821)

Being grabbed and screaming to the cold reality that many people out there hate to be constrained to Windows.

People keep trying to explain what has become now pretty obvious: Linux is mainstream.

It is high time companies and people interested in computing wake up to this simple reality.

Re:IdeaStorm's Top Ideas (1)

ivoras (455934) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067711)

IdeaStorm looks completely useless as the top ideas (>100,000 votes) have been summarily discarded - actually any and all good, radical ideas have been discarded and it looks like the most common reason is "we make more money this way".

Re:IdeaStorm's Top Ideas (4, Interesting)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067769)

Dell is staring down hundreds of thousands of users looking for more options that should honestly be very easy to provide.

I can tell you from personal experience, none of those things are 'easy.' Yes, some of them are very easy for you and I. But we're talking about a huge unwieldy corporate machine where every good intention/new idea from the bottom of the org chart is unwelcome and punished.

FYI, for most people at any sufficiently large organization, the customer is at the very bottom of the org chart.

If the CEO drove these changes without endless, mind-numbing discussion and rooms full of people notifying her of the 'dangers' it would be a different story. But that's just not how it works at that level.

Coreboot would be at the very top of my list. From there, the user is free-er to do what they please with the computer. Words cannot describe how important that project is to the future of computing. Please, go help coreboot out.

Re:IdeaStorm's Top Ideas (4, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067829)

you did not put the rest on the list...

They get wierd after #15...

16. Sell it with a free pony.
17. Can I get mine in plaid?
18. I want fur everywhere on it.
19. Get rid of the keyboard and put a mouse in the middle.
20. PONIES!!!!!!!
21. Stop making them so confusing, What it is with having the whole alphabet on the keyboard.
22. Send it via Email instead of FedEx.
23. Make it waterproof, I'm on my third one because of spills.

What's the deal, Dell? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067847)

As a 'softie told me here once, vendors are coin operated. Take three guesses at who's dropping the coin in their slot and punching their buttons.

Summary (5, Informative)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067069)

Essentially most of the initial high return rate was due to unclear advertising leading people to believe they were buying a window machine and getting linux. Dell has cleared up the advertising to make sure people know what they are buying and the high return rate has stopped.

Re:Summary (5, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067221)

So in other words, now we should pay attention to sales rates of Windows vs. Linux, not just return rates?

Re:Summary (3, Insightful)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067401)

The rates of sales are not relevant in that Microsoft is a monopoly, one convicted of criminal predatory practices, which forced hardware manufacturers into illegal contracts to exclude. That gave them the monopoly, and in case you don't know what a monopoly is and how hard it is to compete with a monopoly you might want to check up on that.

The only relevant statistic that I can see is one that tracks the rate of behavioral change as it relates to buying an alternative. Not in the number of sales but in the increase of sales of the alternative non-monopolistic products.

Re:Summary (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067591)

one convicted of criminal predatory practices

If they were convicted of criminal predatory practices who exactly went to jail?

Re:Summary (4, Insightful)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067845)

A few billion of MS's profits. Well they went somewhere, just not to M$. And whether MS fanboys want to admit it or not what MS did is criminal.

Re:Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29067867)

The corporation went to jail. It's still there now. It's also in a prison within the EU for bundling IE.
I know it sounds silly but it points out how giving a fictional entity personal rights (corporation)
without personal liability is equally silly.

Playing with words (4, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067075)

Microsoft's Turner said that Linux netbooks are being returned at a rate 4 to 5 times higher than Windows netbooks. Dell hasn't disputed this fact at all. Linux netbooks *are* being returned at a very high rate, and Dell's Finch says so right in the article:

Where consumers have returned machines, Finch said, it wasn't because of technical problems but because they'd bought a low-priced machine expecting Windows and opened it to find a different interface.

The difference is that people are returning the Windows netbooks because of technical reasons (broken hardware) and Linux netbooks because they don't want Linux.

That's a win for Microsoft, no matter how you spin it.

Re:Playing with words (5, Insightful)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067235)

I think you are missing the point. Dell says they are not receiving returns except at the same rate. He means that linux netbooks are being returned at the same rate as windows netbook returns. Now, Dell is the company that sells and accepts the returns. Microsoft has nothing to do with it. Microsoft has no first hand knowledge. Since they can't count Linux returns, as it has nothing to do with Windows returns, Microsoft would be clueless except maybe by receiving information from Microsoft funded reports.

Bottom line is that Dell is giving facts whereas Microsoft is giving conjecture.

Re:Playing with words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29067307)

Actually. Technically. The article says the same amount of returns for each... and I bet they sell a lot more windows machines, still...

Re:Playing with words (4, Informative)

DrJimbo (594231) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067583)

Actually. Technically. The article says the same amount of returns for each... and I bet they sell a lot more windows machines, still...

From TFA:

... we don't see a significant difference between the return rate for Windows versus the rate for Linux.

So technically the article says return rate. Earlier the (very short) FA talked about the number of returns being the same but I believe that the explicit mention of rate clears up any possible ambiguity. A marketing manager might easily use the word number when he meant numbers or rate but his use of return rate seems completely unambiguous.

Re:Playing with words (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067793)

While we're quote mining, let's look at the full quote:

"We are not seeing any technical reasons for why they are returning Linux machines so...we don't see a significant difference between the return rate for Windows versus the rate for Linux. We've been quite pleased with the stability and technical soundness of the Linux machines."

Why would Finch be talking about technical reasons for returns at all? It doesn't make any sense in context except to somehow prop up the claim that there is not a significant difference between the return rates of each OS. But there's no reason to hedge here if there is really no difference. The biggest question is what those ellipses gloss over.

Naturally, given that the same hardware is running both Windows and Linux, you would not expect to see very different return rates based on hardware problems alone. But why the conditional answer?

Re:Playing with words (0)

jmpeax (936370) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067545)

No you're missing the point. The point is this: Linux netbooks are being returned at a higher rate than Windows netbooks. All the Dell guy is saying is that the reason for these returns is not that Linux doesn't work, but that people bought the netbooks wanting/expecting Windows, only to find an unfamiliar interface. They then proceeded to return the netbooks.

Look at it this way:

Good News For Linux: Linux is performing well on the netbooks and Dell is happy with them (in the article Finch says "We've been quite pleased with the stability and technical soundness of the Linux machines.").

Bad News For Linux: People still want Windows instead and it appears that Windows is also performing well on the netbooks.

Re:Playing with words (4, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067927)

Which exact part of

we don't see a significant difference between the return rate for Windows versus the rate for Linux

is it that you have difficulty reading. What he's saying is that Windows machines return at the approximately same rate for technical problems as Linux machines return due to both technical problems and misunderstandings. This implies that if they can improve their communication then the return rate of Linux machines will be significantly lower than the return rate for Windows machines. To be honest I have difficulty working out why. Surely the hardware should be pretty much the same? Is it possible that the rate of malware infection at the beginning of a modern, up to date, Windows system's life is really high enough to account for the extra Windows returns?

Re:Playing with words (0)

Desler (1608317) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067645)

Dell says they are not receiving returns except at the same rate.

No, that's not what they are saying. If they both have the same amount of returns and because Linux sales are smaller, the Linux sales return rate would be larger. This is basic mathematics. Let's work out a simple example to show this by comparing return figures of the same amount between 2 products that sell different amounts of total product:

1 return per 100 total sales = 1% return rate. 1 return per 10 total sales = 10% return rate.

Re:Playing with words (2, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067951)

you are majorly missing the point.

It's a bunch of people that are ordering a Duck dinner at a resturant and returning it because it has duck in it.

The returns are from people too dumb to read what they are ordering, clicking blindly and then sending it back because they did not pay attention.

I bet a large number of them say "Oh, I though when it said it runs linux it means some new game on the internet...."

This is the way of the consumer, People that wanted linux and ordered linux are happy with their linux. Any linux returns are due to low IQ consumers not paying attention.

Re:Playing with words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29067255)

It's not a win for Microsoft when the customer is to stupid to read the box.

Re:Playing with words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29067341)

It's not a win for Microsoft when the customer is to stupid to read the box.

Really? I always figured they loved customers like that. They're probably their most loyal userbase since they don't know any better and certainly aren't going to try alternative OSes because that would involve too much "complicated computer stuff".

Giving People What They Want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29067283)

It's not a win for Microsoft, nor is it a loss for Linux. People bought low-cost machines thinking they shipped with Windows out of blatant complacency, when they stated up front in multiple places it shipped with Linux. That's the consumers being ignorant, and partially Dell's fault for not making it clear enough. "Now we are trying to be a little more explicit in our advertising," Finch said.

This is no different than consumers going to McDonalds and ordering a cheeseburger forgetting the fact that they include cheese, and then returning it for a hamburger. And yes, this does happen.

Re:Playing with words (1, Troll)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067351)

It doesn't mean what Dell or Microsoft wants it to mean.

High initial returns on Linux netbooks is most likely due to inaccurate advertising. The market for Linux netbooks is primarily for people who already know what Linux is and desire it. Selling Linux netbooks to people seeking Windows isn't a good business plan. Dell thought it would be profitable and it wasn't.

It doesn't mean Linux sucks either, just that people prefer to stick with Windows because it's familiar-and we already knew that.

Re:Playing with words (1)

CGameProgrammer (650971) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067549)

Not sure why this was modded 'funny' since it's correct. Furthermore, if the same number of Linux machines are being returned as Windows machines, then that means a significantly higher *percentage* of Linux machines are being returned. Also remember that most people don't know what Linux is and certainly not what Ubuntu is. So even if Dell says it has Ubuntu on it, they assume it's a Windows machine with some mysterious additional software on it.

Re:Playing with words (5, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067581)

That's a win for Microsoft, no matter how you spin it.

Well, maybe. The open source ecosystem has long since become large enough to be self-sustaining, so it's questionable how much it matters that Microsoft still has a majority of the market share. If MS went bankrupt tomorrow, it would be a minor win for Linux but mostly a huge win for Apple, and Apple's behavior as a company suggests strongly that they would be no less unpleasant as a near-monopoly than Microsoft currently is.

The important thing to me is that I have multiple free (in both senses) alternatives to MS and that those are not likely to go away in the foreseeable future. Would I like to buy a laptop without the Microsoft tax. Sure, but then, I pretty much already can, since I usually buy year-old off-lease corporate laptops at a steep discount -- being neither a hardcore gamer nor a videographer, most machines have been more than fast enough for everything else for several years now.

If the whole Free/Open Source Software movement was a battle for our freedom, we already won, and won decisively. The battle against Microsoft's very existence? Who cares? Odds are, Microsoft will be around for a long time to come, and waiting for it to die is like waiting for Apple or one of the *BSDs or any other stable niche offering to die: time better spent having actual fun and getting real work done.

Besides, it's not like Dell's products or their customer support are very good to begin with. When I can buy generic, standard laptop parts to build my own laptop as well as I can build my own desktop boxes, then I'll get excited. Until then, the token gestures of companies selling proprietary, closed hardware are really nothing to become overly concerned about.

Driver issues? (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067611)

The difference is that people are returning the Windows netbooks because of technical reasons (broken hardware) and Linux netbooks because they don't want Linux.

I don't know if it applies to the Netbooks, but from experience I found that Dell would put Linux on a computer, neglecting to ensure all the hardware in the device has associated drivers. If Dell still hasn't fixed this issue, then this is a Dell issue and not a Linux issue.

What would be more enlightening, is why the computers are getting returned. If it is simply a fact that people were expecting to have MS-Windows and got something else, then it is is a fair reason. Had they given Linux a chance they might have stuck with it, but in certain cases the 'know' what they wanted and didn't get it.

Re:Playing with words (2, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067631)

Microsoft's Turner said that Linux netbooks are being returned at a rate 4 to 5 times higher than Windows netbooks. Dell hasn't disputed this fact at all. Linux netbooks *are* being returned at a very high rate, and Dell's Finch says so right in the article:

Where consumers have returned machines, Finch said, it wasn't because of technical problems but because they'd bought a low-priced machine expecting Windows and opened it to find a different interface.

The difference is that people are returning the Windows netbooks because of technical reasons (broken hardware) and Linux netbooks because they don't want Linux.

That's a win for Microsoft, no matter how you spin it.

From TFA: "we don't see a significant difference between the return rate for Windows versus the rate for Linux." So, yes Dell has disputed Microsoft's assertion. A return rate 4 to 5 times higher would be a significant difference.
So, it is not a win for Microsoft, no matter how you spin it.

Re:Playing with words (1)

Sandbags (964742) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067661)

No, its ignorant users not checking the specs before they click "order" is all. They find the cheapest machine on Dell.com and buy it without care, and when that machine arrives and doesn't run Windows, they send it back, and pay a restocking fee.

Many of these people also return their cheap windows boxes when they find out it can't run the games even their old computer could, but unfortunately most of them find out too late, as they'll have had the machine more than 14 days before they get too far into using it.

Here's another fact. (5, Insightful)

iCantSpell (1162581) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067091)

That fact that a multi-billion dollar corporation is making up lies about free software on a daily basis is just another sign of true weakness.

Re:Here's another fact. (1, Insightful)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067481)

I would not mark the parent as flamebait because he's essentially telling the truth.

Re:Here's another fact. (0, Redundant)

Desler (1608317) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067667)

Actually there is no lie here. Finch has stated that the number of returns, not the rate of returns, for Linux and Windows are about the same. Considering that Windows boxes constitute many more sales, it is just basic mathematics to show that the rate of return will be higher for the product that has a lower volume of total sales.

Not Surprised.. (5, Informative)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067107)

ASUS said the same thing about the EeePC return rates [laptopmag.com].

As far as I can tell, the "higher return rates" source is MSI, who shipped a borked distro. Everyone else seems to be doing swimmingly.

Not surprised (5, Insightful)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067145)

People buying these machines know they ship with Ubuntu. It says so right on the website, and the button you click, and repeats it when you checkout. People aren't returning these machines more because they have Ubuntu, they're buying them more because they have Ubuntu.

Now, if only this would rub off on the rest of the business sectors. I'd love to buy a new Studio 15 laptop with the option for Ubuntu. It'd save me 45 minutes formatting, reinstalling Ubuntu and reconfiguring the system the way I like. But unfortunately their selection for machines with Ubuntu only includes the crap Inspiron line (the Ford Fiesta of laptops).

Re:Not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29067533)

There are high quality lap top options for linux. Check out system76.com for example..

Re:Not surprised (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067551)

I've got Jackalope running on my old Inspiron 9300...everything runs, and quickly. I do have an issue with the screen brighness from time to time, and the volume control is iffy. To stick with your analogy, I turned my Fiesta into a Mustang with a shot washer fluid pump and a hole in the muffler.

Troll? or data... you decide. (3, Funny)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067179)

I wonder what the return rate is of Macs is? Esp from Best Buy?

Re:Troll? or data... you decide. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29067275)

'is of Macs is'?

Someone is typing to[sic] fast. The Grammartroopers are going to get you...

"These aren't the grammars for which you are looking."

Re:Troll? or data... you decide. (4, Funny)

Scragglykat (1185337) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067501)

I didn't think you could return a Mac without first signing a legal document binding you to not speak of the return to anyone for the rest of your life... guess we'll never know. :o)

Re:Troll? or data... you decide. (1)

beegeegee (1336603) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067965)

>>I wonder what the return rate is of Macs is?

That would be, like, totally uncool.

Not quite so clear cut (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29067183)

Where consumers have returned machines, Finch said, it wasn't because of technical problems but because they'd bought a low-priced machine expecting Windows and opened it to find a different interface....We are not seeing any technical reasons for why they are returning Linux machines

So really he's saying that Linux doesn't bork the machines any more than Windows, but consumers are still not always keen on it. That still puts Microsoft ahead in terms of consumer preference, even if only slightly.

Same Number or Same percentage? (2, Funny)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067213)

Incredibly vague wording there that means his quote can be interpreted either way. Windows machines outsell Linux ones so if they're experiencing the same number of returns, it indicates people are less happy with the Windows one. Did he really mean same percentage or same number?

Also, given that this was a Dell rep at an Open Source show, he wasn't exactly going to go "yeah, Linux hasn't really been working for us, it sucks, we'll be switching to Windows".

Re:Same Number or Same percentage? (1)

Povno (1460131) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067371)

But, to be the devils advocate here, a Dell rep is in fact at an Open Source show. Defending a product that isn't exactly even a cash cow for them and I don't exactly see Linux pre-installed on any HP's or Gateway's. They are making an effort to put it out there for those that want it. Given that they a) didn't have to offer it in the first place to remain a leader in the industry and b) didn't have to show up to give their support; I think that the fact that they did both of those things at least says something about their commitment to at Linux.

Re:Same Number or Same percentage? (1)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067595)

Your argument is strawman. It has no point. It's meant just to get people to chase a feather in the wind.

One would not have to question say the return rates of a Ferrari to that of a Ford Taurus.

In other words, we all know what it means when they say return rates.

Re:Same Number or Same percentage? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067683)

Later in the article he says, "we don't see a significant difference between the return rate for Windows versus the rate for Linux. " Return rate has a very specific meaning in the retail industry, it means a percentage of units sold.

So they creatively interpreted the numbers? (4, Insightful)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067223)

Oh noes, how could they!

This will put a serious dent in their excellent credibility track record..

But do I believe this (maybe)? (1)

Fallen Andy (795676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067333)

Seriously. Get real. If you were about to start shipping Windows 7 and haggling for a better price per copy you *would* say that Linux returns aren't bad wouldn't you? The whole idea is to try to get the best possible deal out of MS.

Andy

Re:But do I believe this (maybe)? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29067775)

MS already has access to this information through their re-issued activation records.

Microsoft is fighting back (3, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067335)

if anyone hasn't noticed, Apple and Microsoft have been playing very nice together since last year.

  Apple has licensed ActiveSync for the iphone and MobileMe
there is Exchange 2007 integration into Snow Leopard
New MS Office for the Mac will have an Outlook client for the first time with full Exchange integration

I think MS is playing nice with Apple to get back at Dell and HP for the netbook linux thing. If HP and Dell want to ship linux PC's, then MS is going to help Apple poach Dell's most profitable customers

Re:Microsoft is fighting back (4, Insightful)

Hyppy (74366) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067449)

That must be exactly why Microsoft has the astoundingly successful "You find it, you keep it" ad campaign going, with Dell and HP laptops prominently featured.

Re:Microsoft is fighting back (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067671)

I think MS is playing nice with Apple to get back at Dell and HP for the netbook linux thing. If HP and Dell want to ship linux PC's, then MS is going to help Apple poach Dell's most profitable customers

How does doing that help Microsoft in any way? So they can laugh at Dell when they both end up like GM? Microsoft is seeing reductions in sales hand over fist [betanews.com] in all divisions and is trying to increase their profit margin and maintain their monopoly any way they can. If that means licensing their stuff to Apple, so be it. As far as I know, Dell is MS' biggest customer, they want to help them sell more windows computers.

Re:Microsoft is fighting back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29067823)

What kind of theory is that?

Microsoft is trying to punish the companies that are responsible for all their profit in the desktop by attempting to increase the sales of the one company who has a slight chance of threatening their lucrative monopoly.

Dell Doesn't Push Linux Though (1)

popo (107611) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067337)

While this may be a non-issue in terms of returns... I still find it extremely difficult to actually "find" Linux machines on the Dell.com site.

Re:Dell Doesn't Push Linux Though (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067901)

heu, it is not... On their search engine you can search by operating system which features ubuntu or freedos/linux. There can not be this choice in all categories, but it was present in the first 3 I just tried.

Surprised? (2, Insightful)

FreonTrip (694097) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067349)

And here we see Microsoft making messy and untenable assertions to the detriment of its ostensibly valuable business partners. My charitable side is prone to thinking that these moves are just oblivious on Microsoft's part, but the side that's been reading Slashdot for a decade suggests that they still think they're too big to be affected by their own irked customers... and it's happy to see that notion countered more and more these days. Next slide.

News flash! (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067357)

Return rates for a new, less familiar product are higher than those for an older product which customers had 15 years to evaluate and decide if they want. This doesn't mean the new product is bad. On the contrary, people who are returning it - and those who are not - bought it because they were not completely satisfied with the old product (on price or other reasons) and wanted to evaluate other solutions.

How Dare He Say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29067367)

' 'They are making something of nothing,' about linux

It does not matter (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067419)

You know why? Because for most folks, perception *is* reality. Once Microsoft succeeds in "planting" the notion that netbooks based on Linux are somewhat inferior, only the geeks will buy them.

This works for Microsoft. What we should do, is to focus our efforts on make Linix and OSS technologies relevant to the average human being.

What is going on now with MS Office coming to Nokia's hardware is a case in point. It does not work for OSS in general.

Firefox, OpenOffice.org and multimedia on Linux continue to suck big time. Lets work on these so that if one takes the Linux plunge, that person gets pleasantly surprised.

Re:It does not matter (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067757)

Firefox, OpenOffice.org and multimedia on Linux continue to suck big time. Lets work on these so that if one takes the Linux plunge, that person gets pleasantly surprised.

Well... that is your PERCEPTION of Firefox, OOo and Linux Multimedia, isn't it. Actually I think Firefox on Linux works great, multimedia is pretty good (though Balkanized across several programs, and that OOo is perfect for the "office" tasks I have to do. I also have to say that Ubuntu is the only distribution of any OS (Windows and MacOS included in this statement) that has impressed me with EVERY new version I install. A lot of the perception is just simply because a lot of people haven't used it. People using it (for more than 5 minutes when it comes out of the box) is what is going to change opinions.

Re:It does not matter (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067955)

> Firefox, OpenOffice.org and multimedia on Linux continue to suck big time.

No they don't. You're just trying to add to the mindless anti-Linux hysteria.

All of these are quite suitable for the average user and in many cases FAR
SUPERIOR to the default Lemming option. Linux multimedia software in
particular is used to bail out both Windows and MacOS from usability and
functionality issues.

Time to find a new FUD talking point. "Linux multi-media" is over in this respect.

Re:It does not matter (1)

bravo_2_0 (892901) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067971)

You know why? Because for most folks, perception *is* reality. Once Microsoft succeeds in "planting" the notion that netbooks based on Linux are somewhat inferior, only the geeks will buy them.

Apart from geeks and maybe a few of their family members who else do you think is buying the Linux machines? No one that I know wants anything to do with Linux no matter how much I explain its virtues. I get the standard reply of does it run office? Well open office is better because and that's when they usually cut me off.

So yes MS is planting the notion that the Linux boxes are inferrior but frankly no one is listening. The geeks already know it's FUD and it seems hardly anyone else wants Linux anyway.

Breaking News: MS thinks their OS ist the best! (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067421)

Possibly the reason for thiese claims and why they are still way behind on technical merits compared to the competition...

They are making something of nothing (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067457)

Who? Microsoft?? Seriously?? Amazing. Noone would ever think of that,...unless take a watch of Microsoft's history of claims since, well, ever (yes, ever, probably they got in the future a time machine and said Eve that glass is the safest food in the history, but she was smart and picked Apple)

just think (2, Insightful)

flahwho (1243110) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067487)

People who use Linux use it because they CHOOSE to. On the contrary most people who use Windows do so because they're forced to.

Re:just think (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29067615)

People who use Linux use it because they CHOOSE to. On the contrary most people who use Windows do so because they're forced to.

Bullshit. Consumers are not forced to use Windows, they make the choice. There are alturnatives, and nobody is holding a gun to their head. Statements like yours, obviously fanboyish, serve only to convince people that Linux geeks are out of touch fanatics.

Re:just think (2, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067699)

You're probably correct in pointing out that they make a choice. Whether they make an informed choice is another matter. I doubt there are many non-techies that truly make an informed choice about what OS they intend to use. I doubt that usage percentage has anything to do with what system is actually better and more to do with what they use at work or school or what their neighbor who is "good with computers" thinks.

Re:just think (1)

wampus (1932) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067731)

Yes, knowing how to use the damn thing is important. So is being able to get support and applications. Both of those trump some nebulous "better."

Re:just think (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067791)

So is being able to get support and applications.

This argument AGAIN? This is the same one used against MacOS for 20 years now. There's plenty of support and aps, just not at Wal-Mart.

Re:just think (1)

wampus (1932) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067923)

You just said 'I doubt that usage percentage has anything to do with what system is actually better and more to do with what they use at work or school or what their neighbor who is "good with computers" thinks.'

Sounds like you just said they go with Windows because they know how to use it and can get support. I threw in applications because they are more fun to use than an OS.

20 years, eh? Given 20 years of "better," I'd expect everything I own to be running MacOS, but alas, it's Windows for desktops, Linux for my frankenbox server and phone, and some embedded mess in my DVR.

Re:just think (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29068003)

There is also the possibility that people make a choice based on fear mongering
or the perception that they don't really have any other option. The DOS platform
has long sold itself on the fact that it is the most widely used and is effectively
"compatable" with anything.

The fear that there is some remote chance that they might be marginalized by not being
a part of the Microsoft hegemony is a considerable fear factor. Often the choice to use
or stay with Microsoft products is essentially coerced.

This even keeps people away from Apple despite their long standing good reputation and
very effective recent advertising campaigns.

This notion has been embedded in consumer computing for over 20 years now.

Todd, this isn't good for your career (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067657)

Kudos to Todd for laying what may be the truth out there.

If Todd's march to the top of the cubicle farm dung heap doesn't end over this one, then Dell gets my next notebook order.

To all the Linux warriors, "Pax Vobiscum" ! (1)

ByzantineAlex (1327353) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067681)

Okay, got it. Yours is bigger. You the man. I get it. Satisfied now ? Oh boy... I will never understand these "religious" wars... Who gives a &*&@ on what you or me use on the desktop ? It's a tool ! To each his own. It's like "I drive a Mercedes - See ? I'm smarter then you !" PS. Personally, I have tried Ubuntu once. It failed miserably at the first (minor) HW change (the display died completely). Sorry, I have NO TIME TO SPEND on babysitting an OS - I have lost three whole afternoons trying to make it work again - when Windows found the new graphic card and installed it automatically in less than a minute. You use what suits you - fine, I'm happy for you - why to you need to start a crusade with each occasion ?

They are making something of nothing..... (1)

shadowen1977 (903138) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067835)

"They are making something of nothing" Well that is the Microsoft business model isn't it?

It depends on your marketing (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067875)

If you market Linux computers to people who are looking for "a computer" that will "run software they buy or already have" you'll get high return rates. Same as if you market a Mac to those people without also selling them a Windows license and teaching them how to use dual-boot or a dual-os system like Parallels.

If you market Linux computers to people who know what they are getting you won't get any OS-specific return problems.

why some linux netbooks have high return rate (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067909)

the os plane and simple. many netbooks where shipped with weak distros like gos and the outdated and space hoging xandros. if all netbooks shipped with ubuntu i do not think the rates would have been high. also i agree to the fact with it having linux as the os should be clearly advertised. and dell does both of these right..

Dell has dropped most Linux models (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29067973)

It's really hard to get a Dell netbook delivered with Linux. At the moment, the Latitude 2100 [dell.com] is one of the very few machines to come with Linux. It's $30 cheaper than with a Microsoft OS. Dell's search page has a "FreeDOS and Linux" option, and if you check that, you get "No configurations are valid for the selected options." There's a Linux option for the Mini 10v [dell.com], but the Windows versions has an "instant discount" to bring its price down to match the Linux version. (Also, the Windows version comes with a hard drive, while the Linux version only has 8GB of flash memory)

There are, as far as I know, no Linux-only netbooks left on the market.

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