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Big Trouble for Microsoft?

Imagine if you can, a $498 laptop computer. It's not top of the line to be sure but it is what was top of the line just about 2 years ago and it is brand new and comes with a 1 year warrantee.

Now imagine it comes pre-loaded with Office so you can use all your Microsoft Word and Excel files without paying extra for software. Now imagine it comes with almost 2000 other pieces of (virus free) software you can install with no grief.

You can't map the human genome with this laptop, but for surfing, sending mail, typing reports and keeping spreadsheets, it is just fine. Now imagine it was sold thru one of the world's biggest and most trusted businesses and came with 3 months free tech support.

Think it might be a big seller in the budget conscious/ student/ second computer [mobile blogger] marketplace??

Finally, imagine such a product without a single Microsoft product (or accompanying security holes) on the whole computer.

That's what Walmart just introduced.

A $498 laptop that comes with Linux pre-installed and that version of "Office" I mentioned above is from Openoffice.org. It also comes pre-installed and "oh by the way" its free.

This could spell trouble for Microsoft. If these are decent products, Wal-Mart call sell millions of them every month. -- Making those millions users wonder why they still run Windows on their desktops.

Consider you can get a whole laptop with an Office clone for about the same price as Microsoft Office by itself and considerably cheaper than Windows XP and Office combined.

This should wake a few people up in Redmond.


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Comments (24)

I was just reading about th... (Below threshold)
JimK:

I was just reading about this at Engadget. I wonder if you can dump the Lindows crapfest and slap in another flavor of Linux, or for those too scared to try Linux, maybe XP.

I can see this as a great second computer, a portable firewall, a machine for Mom or Grandma, etc. It can even be treated like a throwaway for hackers, travelers, etc.

COuld be a big hit, even with the lower-powered chip.

The great thing about Linux... (Below threshold)
Justin B:

The great thing about Linux is you can run it on damn near any hardware as long as there are drivers for it. Check out the link to Sony's Playstation 2:

http://www.us.playstation.com/peripherals.aspx?id=SCPH-97047

I run open office and Redhat 9.0 on my laptop and also on my home computer. Open Office is not quite as polished as MS Office, but it is free. Certain things that you cannot do and certain other applications that are developed by Microsoft and other Vendors that are Windows only. Plus support for printers, PDA's, digital cameras, etc. will not be as good, but for those that are extremely budget conscious, it is a damn good alternative.

Your problem is this:... (Below threshold)
Justin B:

Your problem is this:

Link

Walmart has another computer that has XP for only $50 more and it appears to be a better computer. You can run open office on Windows, which is probably the bigger problem upcoming for Microsoft.

Another problem presented b... (Below threshold)
René:

Another problem presented by Dell:

... Wal Mart's budget notebook is $200 cheaper than the least expensive Dell laptop. Of course, the cheapest Dell comes with Windows XP, 256MB of RAM, a DVD/CDRW drive, a free printer, and a 2.2GHz Celeron that's sure to outperform a 1GHz C3. Thanks to C|Net for the tip.
http://techreport.com/onearticle.x/7760

While geeks around the worl... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

While geeks around the world hail Linux, it's got too far to go to move into the mainstream. The average user may not know there is any difference between Linux and Windows in term of the interface and functionality, but they will know there is a difference when it comes to support. If a person has a problem with their Windows box, they can easily find someone to fix it. If they have trouble with a Linux box, they have to find someone who supports that particular flavor of Linux.

I suppose the upside is that everyone and their brother THINKS they are a Windows expert. I am an IT professional and I can't count the number of times I have worked on a computer where the user made the statement, "My husband (brother, son, neighbor) knows everything about computers, but he couldn't figure out what was wrong." Since most people know nothing about Linux, it reduces the odds that an idiot will mess it up.

Saw that story yesterday, l... (Below threshold)

Saw that story yesterday, logged onto WM.com, and couldn't find the laptop in question. Isn't listed today either, and phone calls to Bentonville produced nothing more than a handfull of "What new laptop?"

While geeks around the w... (Below threshold)
Paul:

While geeks around the world hail Linux, it's got too far to go to move into the mainstream

Ummm Steve, they sell it in Walmart... It doesn't get much more mainstream than that.

It's about functionality an... (Below threshold)
Marc Cantor:

It's about functionality and the ease of use. I'm used to windows, I hate using Mac, but if the new comp is ok, then why not?

OT
talking about new news, it seems Britney Spears got her husband a movie. Check this out:
Kevin Federline

I bought one of these a few... (Below threshold)

I bought one of these a few months ago to use in our church library. It wouldn't exactly be my first choice for gaming, but it does extremely well for what I wanted it for (and much better than the Pentium 100 that it replaced.)

And when it supports my lif... (Below threshold)
Jim:

And when it supports my life support software, I will consider it. But Linux won't run either of those 2 programs, so it isn't even a contender.

The average "joe-user" is N... (Below threshold)
Jim:

The average "joe-user" is NOT Linux ready. I love linux. I have been running Fedora Core 3 for a while now and love it, but the average user's head would explode the first time a system problem reared its ugly head.

A few things, I find it fun... (Below threshold)

A few things, I find it funny that we've come full circle. We went from making fun of people for shopping at Wal-Mart (or now Wally World as my Grand-Dad calls it) to saying that being sold in Wal-Mart means a product is officially "mainstream".

Next, neither of these laptops are going to pose an immediate (serious) threat to MS or Dell. In the long run this could hurt them, but people like my father, whose ONLY computer is a laptop (new Dell Inspirion), he needs all the bells and whistles and power. These are just like you said, more for those who only surf/check e-mail or want a second or mobile computer (EG - Mobile Blogging). I can tell you I'll be getting one as soon as I have the money, and who knows, if I get enough by 12/29 there may be a sale before new years.

Anyway, while these are going to be sold a lot for students, retirees who only need e-mail and a way to look at the web, or bloggers, I don't see them REALLY hurting Dell or Microsoft YET, but given enough time and all (when I got my first PC and started upgrading it, the least expensive component was about $600 to buy, now the most expensive used to be hard drives, and you can get them now for about $1 per GB) this company could cause a few waves.

Paul,I agree that ma... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

Paul,
I agree that marketing by Walmart would constitute "mainstream," but you can't make an official proclamation on that until the sales figures come in. There will be people tht buy it strictly because of the price, not realizing what they are buying.

Just a question...Wh... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Just a question...
Why are you deleting some peoples comments??

I read some coments here before about mac keyboards, now they are gone???

Whats up with that?

One thing to remember about... (Below threshold)

One thing to remember about this laptop is that the previous microtel/linux boxes that walmart have sold have not been available at walmart stores, only at walmart.com. So far all the articles I have seen about this say it will be at walmart.com, but none say it will be at Wal-Mart stores. That, to me, makes it less of a big deal than the press would suggest.

The other thing is that the hardware is way behind the curve - 128 megs of ram is tiny, and the C3 processor isn't exactly a screamer (I have a machine with one - got the motherboard and processor for $5 after rebate) and just booting XP takes all the processor resources. Most people would be better off buying a $500 used laptop off of eBay or a refurb.

Just a question...... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Just a question...
Why are you deleting some peoples comments??

Chad was replying on this blog to comments made on a different blog WITHOUT citing the other blog or even pasting in what he was replying to.

It was like listening to one half of a conversation. I deleted them and mailed him and asked that he keep the comments where they belonged. No "vast Mac wing conspiracy," just a little house cleaning.

Follow the trackback about the MS apologist if you want to see the whole thread.

thanks

P

Not quite true, on the seco... (Below threshold)
chad:

Not quite true, on the second comment I did not paste true. On the first I did cut and past the parts I was responding to.

if you did I missed it sorr... (Below threshold)
Paul:

if you did I missed it sorry

Mad Anthony,You ar... (Below threshold)
Justin B:

Mad Anthony,

You are right that an older processor with only 128 megs or Ram will suck ass for running XP. However... it is powerful enough to run Linux as long as you are not running a whole bunch of crazy services and processes. The Kernel and software can be optimized for Linux to run on stuff as old as a 486. My Linux server runs full Xwindows, Apache, Samba, and MySql and is an old AMD K-6 550 with 256 of Ram. You want to talk about an old processor...

I reboot it every 2-3 months or if there is a power outage, it never really runs out of memory, and it does not have any concept of what a Blue Screen is. It runs my printer, my file sharing, my web site, and a small database. And runs Redhat 9.0, which only came out about a year ago. Try running XP on this relic and having it actually serve a purpose.

Just a question, but if all... (Below threshold)

Just a question, but if all I want a laptop for is to be able to send/receive e-mail, brownse the web, and blog while away from home, should I upgrade the ram, or will that work? I don't plan to put any kind of printers, file sharing, or anything more than FF and Thunderbird, so it seems like it would work find, but I have ZERO experience with Linux, yet.

Another question is this. How difficult would it be to take a gateway PC running XP with a 40GB and a 60GB hard drive(s), 128MB ram (that's why it's so DAMN SLOW), and a Pentium 4 process (or the generic equivilant) and load Linux on it and just GET RID OF MICROSHIT all together? If you can help, just e-mail me at my address listed here. Thanks for the help and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Smoke eater-- I'll doing so... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Smoke eater-- I'll doing something looked down upon by many in these discussions... I'll answer your question.

I've never played with the laptop but having said that, it will do fine. What I mean by that is that Linux is already installed and configured so you don't need to be a linux head to figure it out. I'm sure it is a pretty complete solution.

Which brings me to point "Number B."

INSTALLING linux on an old machine might give you fits. That is the kind of thing to do if you want an adventure.

For all the people saying Linux is not ready for prime time because not many people know it, the truth is that few people can solve their own Windows problems either. I have a cousin who gets her "Restore Disk" and wipes her hard drive every 2 months. It keeps the machine running.

Assuming there is that level of functionality with the linux install on the laptop, it is user friendly enough for the masses.

BTW if you go to the manufacturer of the laptop's website, you can download the environment and play with it on your old desktop... And if you can't google them up and find that link by yourself, you probably don't want to try installing Linux either. knowhatImena?

Well, I'm pretty adept when... (Below threshold)

Well, I'm pretty adept when it comes to computers, I've just never had big enough problems to want to dump windows, till now. I am going to upgrade my RAM on the desktop pretty soon, so that should fix my speed problem (or lack of speed problem), but the laptop situation, from what you said (being already there) should work out well. As I said before, with guys like my dad, whose only pc is a laptop, will not go to this because it is not "big enough" to do what they want, but who knows, maybe eventually we could have a legit competitor for ms. MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL!

Have you noticed that this ... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Have you noticed that this is no longer on the Walmart.com site, unless you put in the direct URL?

Mark the link works fine fo... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Mark the link works fine for me????

Try it again.




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