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Dell to Sell Machines with Ubuntu Pre-Loaded

Myddrin Re:What? (562 comments)

This is a common approach.

Both Apple and Microsoft got their start selling to the consumer/early adopter market, and then their products (Apple II and MSDOS) started trickling into the business world. Back in the late 70's/early 80's the business world was dominated by minicomputers, with "microcomputers" (the PC/Apple II/etc) largely being marketed towards hobbyists. Then as the hobbyists started using them to do business work, companies started buying them. (Sometimes to the chagrin of the established technical staff.) There is (and I couldn't find it) an old Apple ad about sneakily doing your work on an Apple.

Of course, it doesn't always work. This was also Netscape's original approach, get the user hooked on the browser at the consumer level and sell the browser and server software to the corporate clients as consumers start wanting to use the software at work. The quality of the free apache server and the browser war with MS screwed this approach completely.

While there is obvious risk (as exemplified by Netscape), you get to save on sales & marketing, as your hobbyist/early-adopter users start pitching your product for you at a grass roots level.

Heck, some additional anecdotal evidence, back in the late-90's a company I was working at was thinking about switching to Exchange (which pretty much meant a move from Novell to Windows NT) simply because one user insisted on using Outlook. And his reason? That's what he used at home.

more than 6 years ago

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