Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Is the Dell/Microsoft Alliance Fracturing?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the holiday-speculation dept.

Microsoft 390

An anonymous reader asks: "Dell has historically been the most loyal of all Microsoft's partners. Even today, it is very difficult to avoid paying the Microsoft tax on most of Dell's desktops and notebooks. Recently, two things have made the news where Dell is not toeing the Microsoft line. First, was the announcement that Dell is trialling shipping desktop and notebook PCs in the UK with Firefox as the default browser, instead of IE (announcement confirmed here). Today we have news that Dell is not going to support HD-DVD, despite reported incentives that recently induced HP to do so. So, what are some theories as to why Dell has lately been less of a friend to Microsoft, and what does this mean for the future? Does it mean that it might soon become possible to order Dell's full line of personal systems with Linux installed, or no OS/FreeDOS to save the Microsoft tax?"

cancel ×

390 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Microsoft Tax (3, Insightful)

Andrew Tanenbaum (896883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356186)

With the deals that Dell gets, the "Microsoft tax" is about $6. Hardly worth it for them to break up a uniform production process for that kind of money.

Re:Microsoft Tax (4, Interesting)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356199)

Especially when if you are crafty and willing to spend time/go to small claims court, you can get the entire retail price of XP refunded to you (just think of it like a mail in rebate on top of the price of the dell)

Re:Microsoft Tax (-1, Offtopic)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356330)

Can anyone reccomend the best place to sell off Magic cards?

Assuming eBay wasn't the answer you're looking for, I've heard that individual parents commonly are willing to buy people's whole collections.

Re:Microsoft Tax (1)

Cyberonyx (43610) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356438)

Well I did see this [dealnews.com] from dealnews.com [dealnews.com]

They're no different... (4, Insightful)

hlygrail (700685) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356188)

...than any other manufacturer. They'll follow the money trail. If they can sell more PCs by no allying tightly with Microsoft, so be it. If they can sell more PCs to the home market by appearing to be best buds with Microsoft, well, they'll do that, too.

Nothing to see here.

Re:They're no different... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356225)

Don't be fooled for one second into thinking that Dell is interested in anything else but their own bottom line. And the bottom line here is that Dell is spending a small fortune in tech support trying to help their customers remove spyware and malware problems that are largely the fault of Internet Explorer. So if they can sell computers with Firefox that don't result in their call center being flooded with calls from angry users (thus saving a bundle of cash), that is all the motivation they need to switch. This has nothing to do with Microsoft, and certainly nothing to do with open source.

Re:They're no different... (0, Troll)

hahafaha (844574) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356286)

Might I add that had they installed GNU/Linux, thier tech support would probably have a lot more to deal with than simply those who got a virus.

Just imagine:

Tech support: Dell Tech support. How can I help you?

User: Hi, what is the /usr and /dev directories

Tech support: The former has important commands and libraries. The latter has devices for file systems.

User: Oh, well I just ran rm -r /usr /dev as root. How can I fix that?

Re:They're no different... (2, Informative)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356336)

Suuure.. In Windows, you can't delete system files, especially if they're not in immediate use.

Re:They're no different... (1)

hahafaha (844574) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356369)

True, but most people don't delete them. Maybe it's because Microsoft decided that may of their lusers are idiots, and so they made a nice message informing them that they need not tamper with these files.

Also, with Windows, people are educated not to touch if you don't know what it is. On GNU/Linux, people are taught not to use root, but many do anyways because their used to normal accounts not fully working (as it happens or happened on Windows)

Re:They're no different... (3, Insightful)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356387)

"Maybe it's because Microsoft decided that may of their lusers are idiots"

Maybe since they are. But calling them "idiots" is too harsh.

Reality is you don't need to be electronics expert to operate your TV, so your TV shouldn't require so. Many smart people just don't know/need all those details.

But regarding user friendliness, I'd say distributions like Ubuntu are friendly enough for basic tasks like Office / EMail / Internet work. But Windows is just a much better desktop OS, we all gotta give it that I guess.

Re:They're no different... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356409)

A personal computer is a hell of a lot more complicated than a TV!

Re:They're no different... (3, Interesting)

hahafaha (844574) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356432)

But calling them "idiots" is too harsh.

Your right. Sorry about that.

User-friendlyness not only depends on the interface but also how fool-proof is the software. It is a difficult ballance between keeping people who don't know what their doing away, while allowing those who do to work. In some ways, I think Microsoft has managed to do this (at least they provide a link allowing users to look at the files), but I think that there is still more to be desired. My own personal suggestion would be to make a user that only has certain privilidges like mounting and apt-get'ing (if you are using Debian or something similar). If you installed GNU/Linux for a friend, offer them some technical support, and don't tell them about root. Let them figure it out for themselves. When they do, they will probably be smart enough not to delete the files.

Sure (3, Insightful)

Segway Ninja (777415) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356189)

"Does it mean that it might soon become possible to order Dell's full line of personal systems with Linux installed, or no OS/FreeDOS to save the Microsoft tax?"

Sure, it might soon be possible.

Re:Sure (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356466)

WTF is insight about this post? An asteroid may fall out of the fucking sky soon too and kill us all. Mod this shit up as insightful too, motherfucker. This reads like a fucking fortune cookie. Fuckers who got mod points waste them on the dumbest shit.

Re:Sure (2, Informative)

morcego (260031) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356562)

You actually can already do it, at least here in Brazil.
Dell offers the n-Series of Desktop computers, without any MS software. It comes with FreeDOS.

Free translation from Dell homepage (originaly in Portuguese):

"The n-Series systems are some of the desktop and workstations selected from the Dell Dimention(TM), Dell OptiPlex(TM) and Dell Precision(TM) series sold without an operation system.

Avaliable for IT professionals wishing to have control over instalation and development of their systems. A copy of the FreeDOS(TM) open source operating system is provided with the n-Series systems, inside its box ready for instalation. Some of the n-Series systems are also avaliable with the Linux operating system".

This comes from this url [dell.com] .

Re:Sure (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356570)

Microsoft tax becomes Dell profit!

1. build a huge base of loyal customers using MS Windows
2. Drop MS Windows
3. Profit?

It's all about... (4, Insightful)

Bin_jammin (684517) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356203)

the money. I'm sure more people than you (collective) or I at Dell are in the know about something. Perhaps they see the opportunity to ship BluRay drives earlier than if they ship HDDVD drives. If they wait for HDDVD, other OEMs will eat their lunch sitting around waiting for an os that makes an appearance in a year or so. And Firefox shipping is likely due to customer complaints about spyware and malware, enough people complain about something, you save money on tech support by moving to something secure.

Theories? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356211)

So, what are some theories as to why Dell has lately been less of a friend to Microsoft, and what does this mean for the future?

I think Dell has a smart management team. They realise that they are a market leader in hardware, and the balance of power is shifting.

Microsoft can't afford to upset Dell. It would be unfortunate for MS if the income stream from Dell dried up, and disastrous if Dell boxes started going out with non-MS software routinely given priority.

Dell, on the other hand, increasingly has viable alternatives to offer and probably an increasing number of customers asking about them, particularly on the Windows vs. $OTHER_OS front. And of course, they can more effectively compete against other workstation and particularly server vendors if they aren't paying the Microsoft tax, and they have more legal shielding than ever against reprisals by MS.

Today, Microsoft is getting a very bad name in some areas, particularly among the techies who probably buy 99% of the Dell servers and a heavy majority of the workstations and support contracts. At a time like that, if you'll forgive the horrible cliches, it pays to know which side your bread's buttered, and not to have all your eggs in one basket.

Re:Theories? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356364)

and don't forget to go where the bacon is.

Re:Theories? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356468)

Yeah! And that way, Dell can crush MS flat as a pancake!

Re:Theories? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356532)

Yeah right. Their core market of home and small-office users are practically begging for a Linux-based desktop system. Dell just *has* to pursue that .2% market share.

ROFL (1, Flamebait)

meatflower (830472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356216)

Quote: "Does it mean that it might soon become possible to order Dell's full line of personal systems with Linux installed, or no OS/FreeDOS to save the Microsoft tax?"

I think if I was drinking milk while I read this I would have had a very dirty keyboard and monitor right now. Maybe this will happen when hell freezes over, or they come out with a distro that is as easy to use as a Mac...whichever comes first. I'd put my money on the former though, not the latter.

Re:ROFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356275)

Welcome to Slashdot, where any REALISTIC opinion about Linux is modded as Flamebait, and any overly optimistic Linux statement is modded Insightful.

Re:ROFL (2, Insightful)

meatflower (830472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356294)

Unfortunatley I forgot to add, if you want to mod this Flamebait you need to go get your head checked. I use Linux (Slackware to be exact). I'm not anti-Linux by any measure. The point though is that Linux is not user friendly by nature, and for something to be shipped in EVERY Dell machine it has to be something that a user of any skill level could use. Linux does not meet this build, fuck, half the people out there can't even install Windows...how are they gonna figure out compiling their own drivers? By the time Linux becomes user friendly enough for it to be shipped on every Dell machine it won't even be called Linux anymore and it shouldn't be, it won't resemble what we know of as Linux.

Re:ROFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356367)

Even though I am sure Dell won't be shipping most of its computers with Linux any time soon, users would not likely have to compile drivers if they did. As an OEM company they would obviously include all the drivers for their hardware, and it would even work well for their business model. What Dell tends to do is ship hardware that is slightly incompatible with generic hardware and if users were unfamiliar with installation of new hardware, that would be good for Dell, because Dell would be able to sell its version of the hardware, and make extra money from installation.

Re:ROFL (1)

masdog (794316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356371)

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Most people aren't technically competent enough to know what do with their machines. There is no way that they will ever become competent enough to know what to do with Linux.

Most people want something that "Just Works." Sure, Linux works. But if you want to upgrade a driver or install a new device, it takes a lot of technical know-how to do so. Until Linux can get to the level of Windows or MacOSX in terms of simplicity, it will remain a server and hobbist OS.

Re:ROFL (1)

gcatullus (810326) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356486)

If you look at all the "Live" cd distros, they do a pretty good job of sniffing out hardware, so I don't know how much of an issue this is. But more to the point, how many average people actually add devices to their system -- Maybe they add a printer and a camera, well, just buy them from Dell, Dell gets the sale and the customer gets workable hardware. But what will make linux less attractive to the average customer, and thus Dell, is that they can't install the PC games they buy from the bargain bin at Walmart. Combine that with the general belief among the average user that the only way to write anything using a PC is to use MicroSoft Word, the only way to work with numbers is to use Excel, etc. Dell does ship systems with Wordperfect, but I am willing to bet that 98% of them have a pirated copy of Office installed on them within a week of arival. The availability of commercial software and teh dominance of Microsoft Office is what keeps windows in front.

Re:ROFL (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356571)

There's nothing stopping Dell from working a deal with Codeweavers and shipping Crossover Office.

Huh? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356598)

Not one of the linux machines in my household required drivers to be compiled. In fact every one of them detected every device with no problem. Besides, since the machines could be coming from Dell with the OS pre-installed (just like windows), all of the drivers would already be installed.

Add to that the fact that most users don't know how to install drivers on windows either, and you have a stale mate.

The real key is that Dell could ship their systems with Synaptic, and the repositories pointed to servers at Dell. This way they could easily push new drivers out to their customers in a way that MS never will. You see, MS doesn't want to loose control of the MS update site, but they also don't want to deal with third party drivers anymore than they absolutly have to, so what you get is minimalist drivers of questionable quality in the MS driver repository. You then have to identify your hardware, go to each manufacturers site, download the specific drivers, and THEN you can update. Linux has been that much of a pain for years.

individual occurrences (4, Informative)

User 956 (568564) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356217)

Today we have news that Dell is not going to support HD-DVD, despite reported incentives that recently induced HP to do so. So, what are some theories as to why Dell has lately been less of a friend to Microsoft,

I don't know about a cohesive theory to tie all of it together, but for the HD-DVD thing, I would suspect Dell's not supporting it because it keeps getting delayed [reuters.com] , because they can't seem to get their shit together finalizing the AACS "content protection".

HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray (2, Interesting)

phriedom (561200) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356317)

I don't think the AACS delay favors either format because it is delaying them both equally.

here we are (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356449)

Then it could be that Dell feels the Blu-Ray format is more commercially viable, as it's more likely to be accepted by content producers as 'secure':

"The only difference being that Blu Ray is adding another two supplementary security elements: ROM Mark and BD+. ROM Mark is a sort of stamp, invisible to the consumer, which can be embedded using special equipment available only to licensed Blu-Ray disc producers. Obviously, these discs will only be compatible with Blu-Ray equipments." (link [softpedia.com] )

With regards to the posted article, I don't see why Dell would be basing decisions on anything other than what's best for Dell (i.e., instead of some non-expressed dislike for Microsoft).

Re:individual occurrences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356377)

Do you mean the "rootkit protection"?

Soon everyone will have A.I.D.s... (3, Interesting)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356221)

Apple-Intel-Dells (I know the OS is Mac, but I couldn't resist) Apple is on the blu-ray foundation and is switching to Intel chipsets, Dell is the largest consumer of Intel chips, Dell has an established 'PC' friendly name that is basically a 'go to' for the direct purchase pc order industry. This has the makings of a win-win-win situation, provided that Apple gets the final veto on all computer/peripheral designs.

What are the odds?

Re:Soon everyone will have A.I.D.s... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356268)

The "odds" of an entire corporation contracting a sexually transmitted disease is minimal at best. However, we'll see how the rates look after the office Christmas parties are over.

Re:Soon everyone will have A.I.D.s... (1)

vought (160908) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356291)



This is an interesting theory.

Possible, but certainly not probable. With Dell's design language, I just can't see them getting a license from Apple.

I think these moves are just Dell doing their level best to eke more money out of each machine sold in a market where the margins are thin and getting thinner.

Re:Soon everyone will have A.I.D.s... (2, Interesting)

suzerain (245705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356303)

What are the odds?

85 to 1.

Now's not yet the time. Apple needs to get their own machines on the market, and get comfortable buildign and selling them before they can repeat the clone situation. They didn't handle direct competition very well last time, so they need to be able to get everything running like a well-oiled machine before they license the OS. I do think it will eventually happen...just not yet.

Dell is, if anything, just going with the market and seeing what happens. As someone else has said here, if they think they can get more market traction by distancing themselves a little bit, then they will. I don't think this confluence of events is necessarily symbolic of much, except that Dell may be preparing for a change in the market by hedging their bets a little.

But I certainly think that when Vista (or whatever it is) comes out, Dell will be all up in that bandwagon with everyone else.

Re:Soon everyone will have A.I.D.s... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356305)

MAID. Awesome.

Extremely unlikely (3, Insightful)

phriedom (561200) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356347)

Apple uses software to sell hardware. If Apple licenses it, they give away their reason to exist. I don't think you'll ever see that.

Jobs already killed off Mac clones before (1)

I'm Don Giovanni (598558) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356446)

There once was a Mac clone market but the clones out-competed Apple buy delivering better functionality at lower price. Rather than compete, Jobs killed of the market (refusing the internal OS/PPC specs of future systems to the clone makers). Dell would also out compete Apple when it came to selling hardware. Why would Apple go down this road again, having already failed?

Re:Soon everyone will... (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356622)

Apple-Intel-Dells (I know the OS is Mac, but I couldn't resist) Apple is on the blu-ray foundation and is switching to Intel chipsets,

Or, as I like to call 'em, "Apple-Intel-Desktop-Systems". A.I.D.S.

Dell has been on the phone.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356222)

.... with Steve Jobs.

Wait and see. ;)

Re:Dell ... If Jobs can't be God he don't want to (1)

skeptictank (841287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356273)

play.

as much as I would like to see a Apple-Dell alliance, don't hold your breathe. In the current world Job's ego is as much of a weakness as it is an asset.

Shifting power and influence (1, Redundant)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356233)

According to the article, Dell chose Blu-Ray because of its greater capacity and long list of industry backers. Dell now realizes that it is not necessarily as advantageous as it once was to partner with MS on everything. With the rise of online companies such as Google, the MS stranglehold is loosening. Dell probably sees that and now wants to break out of its old marketing habits.

I still think that Dell will do whatever it can to sell the most PCs in volume, so if that means further customization without Microsoft products/partners, so be it.
Linux will be offered when enough people are demanding it as a viable alternative to Windows.

Re:Shifting power and influence (2, Informative)

brain defrag (940949) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356249)

Pioneer just released a Blu-ray DVD drive for PC's: http://today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?typ e=te... [reuters.com]

Re:Shifting power and influence (3, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356256)

"Pioneer just released a Blu-ray DVD drive for PC's"

Living up to their name I see.

Re:Shifting power and influence (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356423)

"Dell now realizes that it is not necessarily as advantageous as it once was to partner with MS on everything. With the rise of online companies such as Google, the MS stranglehold is loosening."

Do you think that Dell plans to switch to Google's PC operating system or Google's microprocessors or Google's motherboards? Otherwise it's hard to see how Google would be relevent in any way to Dell's PC business.

Re:Shifting power and influence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356462)

Otherwise it's hard to see how Google would be relevent in any way to Dell's PC business.

I don't know how google's relevant to Dell's PC biz, but oddly enough, a shipment of Optiplex desktops arrived at work yesterday and google desktop was pre-installed. The last shipment of what were supposed to be identically spec'd PC's (arrived two weeks earlier) didn't have the software.

Dell's Dimension E510n ships with FreeDOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356236)

As reported in the January 2006 Linux Journal. Details at http://www.dell.com/nseriesE510 [dell.com]

Well... (0, Redundant)

NotFamous (827147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356241)

Does it mean that it might soon become possible to order Dell's full line of personal systems with Linux installed, or no OS/FreeDOS to save the Microsoft tax?

No

Re:Well... (2, Informative)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356391)

Actually, you can order anything from Dell if you need a large number of machines, with large starting somewhere around five and preferably running into the hundreds or thousands over a few years. All you need to do, is talk to them and if your needs are totally custom, send them a pre-installed disk drive. Dell is far more accommodating than any other PC manufacturer.

A lot of hoopla over nothing, (5, Insightful)

black hole sun (850775) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356250)

I'm reminded of Carl Sagan's famous quote from Cosmos: "Observation: You couldn't see a thing. Conclusion: Dinosaurs."

Call me a cynic, but only on /. do we see "Dell not supporting HD-DVD" --> "DELL MIGHT SPORT LINUX!!!" The economic realities of this situation just won't allow Dell to NOT use Windows. Nobody's going to know what this linux thing is (or, as my sister calls it, "that weird thing"), nor how to use it, and they'll be quite upset when they discover they can't play their games and applications on it.

It's a nice thought, but this is little more than daydreaming.

Re:A lot of hoopla over nothing, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356346)

Good post. I'm sorry it will be viewed either negatively or ignored entirely by the Slashdot plebs.

Re:A lot of hoopla over nothing, (1)

presidentbeef (779674) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356363)

Not so fast...Dell already does Linux [dell.com] .

Besides, don't just think personal computers. If the boss says, "We're going to use Linux on all our workstations" that will be it. And someone like Dell wouldn't mind supplying it.

Mods should read the articles (4, Insightful)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356260)

Today we have news that Dell is not going to support HD-DVD, despite reported incentives that recently induced HP to do so.

First off, this is because Dell is in on the advisory staff that came up with the Blu-ray spec. They have never said "No we are going to sell it", they have only taken the safe road in saying they will stick with their design until the market says otherwise. This probably won't take long since you won't be paying for the patent license at $30 a unit like you will with the Blu-ray product. Not to mention, media will end up costing less for the Microsoft product based upon the same premise.

Yes, Microsoft is trying to get in quick with the incentives, but that is only because they don't have quite the advantage of having Sony on their side. Sony/Dell/and company are going to end up losing out in the long-run for the excessive patent fees. Pair that with Sony being the biggest single contributor to our RIAA pains, and you don't have a great deal of support for the company.

I'm not saying Microsoft is great, just saying they'll be less likely to sue folks for utilizing methods to backup/copy their discs.

What do you buy a burner for? (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356348)

First off, this is because Dell is in on the advisory staff that came up with the Blu-ray spec. They have never said "No we are going to sell it", they have only taken the safe road in saying they will stick with their design until the market says otherwise. This probably won't take long since you won't be paying for the patent license at $30 a unit like you will with the Blu-ray product. Not to mention, media will end up costing less for the Microsoft product based upon the same premise.

So why do so many people have DVD burners now when CD burners are so cheap? The players cost more, so does the media.

While not quite the same order of magnitude as the difference between DVD and CD storage, Blu-Ray simply offers more storage space than HD-DVD and that makes it much more practical to use as a third-tied backup for things like 400GB drives. That's why I plan to get a Blu-Ray burner soon after they come out. Even if the media and the drives are more expensive, being able to use half the number of discs and half the time (especialy half the time) to do the same backup is a huge draw for computer users.

Now come at it from the media angle. Consumers are not going to buy movies because the PC supports playing that format. When they will do is buy movies when they have a dedicated device, like a DVD player, that will support them. Who is almost guaranteed to have millions on millions of said devices in homes that are not even all early adopters? Sony, with the PS3.

On Microsoft could possibly have the hubris to think they could stop or even slow what is coming, which is a slam-dunk for Sony and Blu-Ray. And they could have done it to if they had delayed the 360 release to include HD-DVD drives in more expensive bundles.

Still a symbiotic relationship (1)

Saint37 (932002) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356272)

While Dell may be gaining leverage with the increasing popularity of non-MS products, I think its a bit hasty to imply that Dell has an advantage. The way I see it, Dell and MS still need each other. As time progrsses and MS goes into the internet market and Dell continues to increase its use of non-MS products. The relationship may become strained. Also, with Dell reporting declining earnings per share this past quarter, dell's move to linux and FF might be expidited.

http://www.stockmarketgarden.com/ [stockmarketgarden.com]

XBox 360 is the reason (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356274)

The reason is that MS is starting to make "computers" for the home that are starting to compete with Dell directly. In the long run, if Dell doesn't switch to another OS such as Linux or OSX, Dell will be literally in hell!

Re:XBox 360 is the reason (3, Interesting)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356441)

It's more than that -- in the long term, Microsoft doesn't want the general-purpose personal computer to exist at all. They want to replace everything with locked-down, XBox 360-like "appliances" running everything as software-as-a-service with a recurring (monthly, pay-per-use, etc.) fee. Most importantly, they don't want it to be able to run anything they don't approve of (AKA "Trust"), such as Free Software.

Good for Dell... (1)

ROFLMAObot (891386) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356280)

Dell is gaining a bigger piece of the general computer "pie" everyday. Perhaps they're finally getting wise and understanding they don't need the wing of Microsoft for protection.

Re:Good for Dell... (1)

masdog (794316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356345)

If anything, Microsoft needs Dell more than Dell needs Microsoft.

Re:Good for Dell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356559)

Dell is gaining a bigger piece of the general computer "pie" everyday. Perhaps they're finally getting wise and understanding they don't need the wing of Microsoft for protection.

And you honestly don't think they'd suddenly go down in a big way if they stopped shipping windows boxes? get real. It doesn't matter how many machines they can produce for what price if the public isn't going to know the OS. Once word gets around that they're non-MS the public will look elsewhere.

The Inquirer gets it wrong (3, Informative)

deaddrunk (443038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356285)

Dell is under no obligation to ship IE with their machines

Unless IE has been decoupled with Windows recently without anyone being told, Dell, like everyone else, has no choice in the matter.

Re:The Inquirer gets it wrong (2, Interesting)

SpinJaunt (847897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356375)

Also, you still need IE for Windows Update, and probably always will. Only that Dell is installing Firefox and setting it as the Default browser, and probably removing the shortcuts to iexplore.exe

Re:The Inquirer gets it wrong (1)

nukem996 (624036) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356421)

Even if it was IE would have to be installed. Many applications use IE as a backend for their apps, infact I think even explorer(the program to look through your files) is basicly explorer.

Misnomer. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356316)

"Even today, it is very difficult to avoid paying the Microsoft tax on most of Dell's desktops and notebooks."

It's not a "tax". Unlike a government (backed by armed force), I can buy a computer from many sources, up to building one from parts.* I have always been able to do this, even when Microsoft was in full swing. The main thing that drove the need for the OS wasn't the hardware but (remind me if you have heard this) "It's the apps, stupid!". Also unlike a "tax". I can "opt out" by simply not buying.

The "MS tax" argument basically is made by those who want the world to conform to their desires while ignore any form of reality, including economic. It's cute (like M$ cute), but the majority are more inclined to put it down as the rantings of the minority.

Re:Misnomer. (2, Funny)

Oliver Defacszio (550941) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356365)

Hey man, I agree with you, but look at the rest of the snippet -- if you believe what you read at Slashdot, Dell is ten minutes away from dumping Microsoft products entirely in favour of linux. So is IBM. And HP. And probably Apple.

Reality has no precedent around this place, or in much of the OSS community.

Dell is all about cost-cutting. (3, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356321)

Of course they want to use firefox! It will save them a fortune in support calls.

-jcr

To OS or not to OS (2, Interesting)

Kuxman (876286) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356327)

I highly doubt Dell will sell their computers without an operating system preinstalled. That would completely alienate the whole, "plug it in and it works" idea of Dells. I would venture to guess that the majority of their sales come from home/small business field, and to not be able to plug it in and have it work would really hurt Dell's reputation as a people-friendly PC.

So if Dell has to package an OS with their system, what will it be?

1) Windows: The status quo. Plug it in and it works (albeit not for long if it's not patched and updated). Extra cost for Dell? Probably a couple bucks per computer, which they gladly pass onto the consumer. Incentives? Coupons/Benefits from Microsoft for $??? total gain.

2) Enterprise type *nix: Dell would probably look at a major commercial player such as Red Hat or SUSE as their distro of choice. SUSE and Red Hat both have standard technical support already in place (for a fee - buying their Enterprise OS). This technical support is very important to Dell because they don't want to have to deal with Q&A about the OS of choice. It's not their field of expertise. However, I could see a deal between Dell and one of them to provide a desktop version of the OS with technical support. In addition, the business models of Red Hat and SUSE are similar to that of the closed system world, which is one less (major) adjustment Dell would have to make to their own system. The catch? There would be a *nix tax as well. Which puts us back at square one (with the exception of one less [troll] evil corporation in the mix [/troll].

3) Free *nix/BSD: Which one to choose? There's so many distros out there. Most of them don't have the status quo technical support available. Instead they have mailing-lists and Wikis. Do the majority of computer users know what those things are or are able to use them (especially if X won't load for some reason!). The majority of users need the technical support over the phone that most of us dread.

Until there's a solution made for the technical support that joe-schmoe user needs is made available for *nix distros, I don't see Windows being replaced as the default OS on consumer grade PCs.

Re:To OS or not to OS (1)

Yehooti (816574) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356379)

Not only the operating system, but Intel. They have a very stable set of options to sell now, so to deviate from their formula might not be desirable. I'd like to see AMD 64 X2 options as well.

Does Firefox preinstalled hurt MS a whole lot? (1)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356334)

Lower marketshare for browsers.
Higher satisfaction towards Windows in general.

So many everyday computer users end up with crippled Windows systems because of IE. I think this will make people happier with Windows even if it does make them less likely to use IE.

Logic (0)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356357)

Both HD DVD/BluRay are redundant and will bomb. So why should Dell start considering supporting either yet.

If they are smart they'll decline to take either side, ship CD/DVD machines meanwhile, and when things play out in favor of either format, and consumers start demanding either, they'll ship it.

As for Firefox, it's less support and infected systems for them. I seriously doubt they just have some l33t haXX0r Linux geek there who wants to screw MS by replacing their browser with the open source favorite.

Again, it just makes sense, since most sites now acknowledge Firefox, and it works better security-wise (and yup I doubt Dell cares if it has better CSS or whatever).

Same reason is why Dell will keep shipping the huge majority of its machines with Windows. Like it or not: it's useful and you use it, and need it, and your software requires it.

And calling it Microsoft tax is retarded, btw.

Re:Logic (1)

brain defrag (940949) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356373)

Both HD DVD/BluRay are redundant and will bomb. So why should Dell start considering supporting either yet.

If Dell doesn't side with one technology and start including it in new PC's, customers will complain. I'm sure Dell would prefer to have half of their customers complaining about not having HD-DVD rather than all of their customers complaining about having neither technology.

Re:Logic (1)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356406)

"If Dell doesn't side with one technology and start including it in new PC's, customers will complain"

Will they? I for sure won't.

I hope we all realize that those drivers will be EXPENSIVE. Especially the first 2 years.

If Dell starts randomly including new cutting edge tech on the bare assumption their clients might complain, nothing good awaits them.

So in this light, it's smarter for Dell to use what making sense right now in terms of adoption and price/value ratio and wait and see how the Mighty Format War plays out.

I mean, if Dell takes side prematurely and then manifacturer X in China starts making cheap combo drives, Dell would look stupid won't it?

Independant of movies, Blu-Ray will succeed (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356576)

Both HD DVD/BluRay are redundant and will bomb. So why should Dell start considering supporting either yet.

How about because I have multiple 400GB hard drives I would like to be able to back up to optical media in my lifetime?

I currently use extra hard drives for backup, but with just aorund 10 Blu-Ray discs you could have a form of backup easier to ship to multiple offsite backup locations.

Dell wants to include Blu-Ray I think not because they care who wins on the media front, but purley because it offers more storage and consumers want that storage to store things onto. From the standpoint of data alone there is a compelling reason to move to Blu-Ray.

It doesn't hurt that people will be able to put home movies on them and play them on the PS3.

Re:Independant of movies, Blu-Ray will succeed (3, Interesting)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356615)

I'm waiting for the optical discs [theregister.co.uk] that are schedule for around 2007. The jump from 700 MB CDs to 4.7 GB DVDs was nice, but going to 1 TB will be oh so sweet.

Looking forward as well... (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356665)

I read about that earlier also, but the existence of that even within five years is a lot more iffy in my mind. These holographic things are always so tantalizingly close but never seem to arrive when they are predicted to...

So I'll buy a Blu-Ray burner and hope the holographic thing is reality this time and comes in at an affordable price.

I do wonder how long it will be before we see a holographic movie format emerge!

Wishful thinking (3, Funny)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356360)

Does it mean that it might soon become possible to order Dell's full line of personal systems with Linux installed, or no OS/FreeDOS to save the Microsoft tax?

    Yes. Soon. They will also come with a life supply of candy covered chocolate bunnies that will cure cancer and make you smile!

 

Re:Wishful thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356419)

Isn't it great that anytime any manufacturer of anything does something slightly "anti microsoft" we hear that Linux is going to be mainstream next week and MS will be a distant memory in exactly 28 days? Man, the slashdot crowd needs to stop being such a bunch of fucking lemmings and accept these announcements for what they are.

I swear to god, if this is the way you fucktards run your life you probably max out your credit cards anytime you buy a lottery ticket because you think there is no way you can't win.

No wonder most people still think that linsux is still strictly for fags.

Re:Wishful thinking (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356422)

OH MY GOD! Really?! That's amazing!

Excuse me while I buy stock in Dell.

Re:Wishful thinking (1)

LoraxLorax (812936) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356661)

You can use the money you've made by selling Google.

Dell is hedging their bets (1)

netglen (253539) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356361)

Dell is doing everything in their power to protect themselves from lawsuits. All of a sudden, Dell is now selling AMD processors and now offering FireFox? Looks like Dell is starting to get nervous.

Obvious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356366)

There is an obvious answer to this question. The average joe trying to buy a new computer will not buy a computer unless it has Windows on it. If Dell were to start selling all of their computers with Linux preloaded, nobody would buy them. Dell would go bankrupt. Dell knows that and they will stick with Microsoft until the day that Linux becomes the OS preferred by the average joe.

Firefox is not treason to Microsoft (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356385)

Hell, I think BillG and/or Microsoft themselves have advocated not using IE, and specifically recommended Firefox for more secure web browsing on a Windows PC. Wasn't there some big hoopla over this in the past year?

Michael Dell once said... (1)

RoadWarriorX (522317) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356399)

The interesting thing is when we design and architect a server, we don't design it for Windows or Linux, we design it for both. We don't really care, as long as we're selling the one the customer wants.


Aren't PC's are any different, Mr. Dell? Maybe it's about time Dell start thinking more about what their PC customers want rather than what a single software vendor needs continue to control the market. No matter what technological initiative other vendors are trying to push (TC, DRM, HD-DVD, BlueRay, etc), ultimately it would be the customer to choose whether your crippled (or other restictive) hardware is acceptable to them. If not, the customers will find other vendors that will do what the customer wants.

Fractured alliance? Nah. It's just business as usual.

Re:Michael Dell once said... (1)

MoneyT (548795) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356593)

Aren't PC's are any different, Mr. Dell?

Ignoring the complete failure of english that sentence was, yes, PCs are fundamentaly different from servers. Servers are generaly bought and run by (in theory) trained professionals who know their software and their hardware, know how to make it work and know how to deal with contingencies and failures. PCs on the otherhand, are not.

Dell support (1)

Vonotar82 (859920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356420)

Well, I don't know much about the future, but I do work as a Dell OnCall Helpdesk Tech. As of right now, we support Firefox on any system. The way things look, our Scope of Support could change at the drop of a hat and we'll all have to learn Non-Windows OS's.

I don't think it matters (1)

IntelliAdmin (941633) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356431)

Dell is happy with the current situation. Why would they stray? They get windows for the lowest price possible, and it kills their competitors. Look at the mom and pop pc stores - They have to pay full price for Microsoft products. This can directly mean $100 difference between their products, and Dell. What do you think most customers will do? Buy Dell of course. Dell probably is shipping FireFox in the UK becuase they get a buck for every machine from Google -

Bullcrap (1)

LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356434)

Once Dell makes it easy to buy a non-Microsoft os preloaded sans price of Windows (actually cheaper), I might believe it. Don't mislead yourselves into thinking Dell is going to shift away from the OS that has over 90% market share.

Dell, Schmell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356436)

Dell has gone down the tubes so badly it's not even funny. It's obvious that it's no longer the company that it once was that quality of product was the main concern. Now it's all about the bottom line. That should be all that needs to be said. After all, they are actually denying warranty requests [scronline.com] .

IT'S NOT A TAX! It's a discount. (4, Insightful)

poptones (653660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356437)

Dell has their own brand in the fire with Sony so it's not at all a surprise they may be bucking MS on this. Because Dell is already probably selling more systems than any other competitor and has more deals with third party makers they aren't going to miss that added "incentive" the IP royalties would mean more to them in the long term than the discount coupons from MS.

But more than that I think it stupid to keep going on about this "Microsoft tax." You can buy a pretty ripping machine from Dell or Gateway or emachines (I mean Gateway) at a very, very good price. These prices are possible because of the huge volume these makers sell, and that volume is possible because everyone knows, no matter how much it may or may not suck, when they get the machine home it will be "familiar" to them and they can go to the gazillion warez and spyware repositories and install whatever crap floats their boat.

Bot more improtantly it's that volume that beckons other OEMs. Third party makers like Adobe and Epson and Norton and others offer Dell and Gateway juicy licensing deals because they know the distribution of their "demos" and their cheapass printers with the ridiculously overpriced ink and paper supplies will benefit them in the long run. So while MS gets paid by Dell, Dell gets paid by Adobe and Epson and Norton. Whether it's money that directly offsets the cost of licensing windows or the cut rate hardware that allows them to make "special deals" that help them blow out thousands of machines at a whack, in the end it's Windows that is driving down the cost of the hardware.

Until there are third party OEMs like Norton and Adobe offering well recognized linux tools that will help sell even more machines, Dell would make LESS on each system by NOT including windows. Twice the support costs (now they have to field both linux and windows calls) but LESS PROFIT. They would have to charge MORE FOR LESS, which is exactly what you see now.

It makes zero sense for Dell to sell bundled linux systems and that isn't going to change until linux has evolved into a "killer brand" in its own right. And that's not going to happen because fo Dell, it's only going to happen because someone, somewhere, develops a desktop that offers something more than windows and does so in a way that is tangible to someone who doesn't spend their life working on this stuff.

Amen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356647)

4 or 5 months ago, Dell had one of those 5 day sale or such (in Canada), where you could buy a low end Dell Poweredge server (something like a Celeron 2.4 with 256MB of RAM) for 350$CDN, including Windows 2003 Server Standard Edition (and whatever CALs it usually comes with). Makes for a 2/3 discounted Windows license, with a bonus server for free! Throw more RAM at it and it'll make a cheap but decent [redundant] application server...

Also, I bought a HP computer lately. I was going to build a Athlon64 3000+ system myself, but using similar parts, it would have costed me hundreds more than buying that HP, not counting a Windows license would have been an extra couple hundreds after that... Save a few hundreds and get windows bundled with it? TYVM!

If that's what the Microsoft tax is, I'd like a triple order of it!

So much for Windows' 'monopoly' status (1)

I'm Don Giovanni (598558) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356465)

So now Microsoft goes to a court, gets the monopoly status officially terminated, and the gloves come off. ;-)
(Actually, the gloves don't come off, it's just that Microsoft gets to act like every other company that doesn't have a "monopoly" again.)

Re:So much for Windows' 'monopoly' status (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356530)

You mean, spin off your research division, get clobbered by competition on pricing, stay stagnant and eventually get bought out by your competitor?

You know, Ma Bell.

Not too hard to get Dell W/O M$ (1)

flakier (177415) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356476)

I just got 2 servers and a presision workstation delivered at work. No OS installed on any of the three. One just has to shop carefully and not automatically go to the cheapest systems available.

Dell Linux Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14356553)

Yeah as far as I know dell has supported a large number of both workstations and servers with linux on them for quite a while, check out here [dell.com] for more details.

Arrrgh! (0)

Erchie (103202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356479)

Don't you guys realize? Dell and Microsoft are birds of a feather. Their tactic is "Two steps forward, one step back." That's how they think they are going to win. They won't.

Dell's predicting the future (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356544)

Dell shows they know what their customer base wants. Their latest decisions reflect what happens to business partnerships: a mutual short-term agreement among companies such that from vendor to consumer a win-win situation is created. Unfortunately the market evolves and those partnerships do become obsolete over time, hence the current situation.

Dell, being the market leader in PCs is reflecting the change in consumer tastes. Where Microsoft diversified into different industries [to dominate and eventually get "caught up"], Dell has learned that lesson--when Dell diversified into consumer products a couple of years ago, they found they couldn't keep up growth (as Microsoft thought when they diversified), product quality went down (as well as service), so now it's back to the core business. Dell doesn't have the luxury forcing industries to comply with a safety net of billions or so dollars like MS. Also Dell competes on 2 fronts compared to MS, they need to keep up with Apple (XPS) and stay cheap with Lenevo (and blades servers). Industries from Gov't to Grandma want choices nowadays. Linux offers them the flexibility that Microsoft currently does not offer.

Consumers are all well versed in Microsoft technologies and the costs involved. Unfortunately (since I'm a s/w guy), the current trend is about the hardware price point, not the software--just look at the iPod--it's wasn't the software.

Firefox preinstalled in EU - At MSFT's request... (4, Interesting)

Gilatrout (694977) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356561)

Consider the fact that MS is in pretty warm water in the EU. It does not take a huge leap for MS to put a bug in Dell's ear to preinstall Firefox. It doesn't cost them anything. Windows is still installed, and paid for, and Firefox is no threat to Windows. Firefox drives 0 users away from Windows. So if it makes the EU happy, then it makes MS happy too.

Dell's inhouse OS (5, Funny)

fowlerserpent (690409) | more than 8 years ago | (#14356601)

It's been known for a while that Dell is building its own operating system. It's a Dell version os Windows, sort of. It is called Delldows.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?