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Dell Makes GNU/Linux More Expensive Than Windows

Posted in Dell, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 5:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SOME days ago we wrote about Microsoft’s dumping techniques (Windows XP for just $5) and we also cover Dell's mistakes, but even if that were the case, why is Dell selling GNU/Linux PCs with inferior hardware to that of similar Windows PCs and for the same price?

Dell screenshot

This reeks of market distortion and it’s not just Dell.

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  1. DOUGman said,

    December 24, 2008 at 5:43 pm


    No it just means that Windows requires more hardware to operate; at least DELL is selling Linux in some manner.

    XP does require a bare minimum to run nicely. The linux kernel can run on VERY old hardware.


  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 24, 2008 at 5:47 pm


    Okay, so let’s assume that they pay a fee for copies of Windows and for more hardware. How can the overall pricing be justified? Do they pocket the difference? Are they paying Microsoft patent tax following their joining into the Novell/Microsoft deal back in May 2007?

  3. DOUGman said,

    December 24, 2008 at 6:15 pm


    i know and I agree with you. Obviously, MS is selling Windows at a very cheap cost to compete, obviously this cannot continue. So look on the bright side, empires do fall in time.

  4. jo Shields said,

    December 24, 2008 at 6:50 pm


    This isn’t the first time this has happened on Dell’s store. Windows models are given a discount for undisclosed reasons (see $110 saving in above image), and pushed to the same or lower price than a Ubuntu model.

    Microsoft marketing dollars at work, or Dell simply keeping different OS machines as different model numbers in their back-end and forgetting to apply discounts to all appropriate places? Hard to say. Pretty dodgy if it’s the former

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 24, 2008 at 7:02 pm


    This is not an on-the-fly comparator/configurator. See the page.

  6. jo Shields said,

    December 24, 2008 at 7:52 pm


    This is not an on-the-fly comparator/configurator. See the page.

    That’s the point though. You can’t configure the OS at all – the two machines are in the system as totally different computers. Again, I’m not ruling out dodgy marketing money.

    I’ll be interested to see what happens to the prices when the current “sale” ends on Jan 8th

  7. Omar Hafez said,

    December 25, 2008 at 12:59 am



    So look on the bright side, empires do fall in time.

    I like that. ;-)

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 25, 2008 at 4:10 am


    Windows revenues are declining because of sub-notebooks.

    Microsoft Missing Out on Netbook Growth as Linux Wins Sales

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 25, 2008 at 4:59 am


    Hmmm…. this is interesting.

  10. Dave said,

    December 25, 2008 at 9:50 am


    Dell (and other manufacturers) get money for bundling trial software and spamware with the PC. In the cut throat PC industry they have to. The Linux version they’re not getting any money for, as it’s a plain Ubuntu install. So from Dell POV it’s going to cost them more.

  11. Shane Coyle said,

    December 25, 2008 at 12:07 pm


    So look on the bright side, empires do fall in time.

    I like that. ;-)

    Which empire? The Microsoft- or American-? Both seem to be just about over.

  12. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 25, 2008 at 12:31 pm


    It’s a universal thing because the world is now interconnected. If it makes you feel better, the UK shares this pain.

  13. Joe said,

    December 27, 2008 at 9:29 am


    If you actually need to purchase a fully assembled PC, then buy it from your locally owned computer store. More of the profits go into your own neighborhood and they don’t have overseas phone tree robots answering their customer service number.

  14. Ian said,

    December 27, 2008 at 12:10 pm



    While I agree with your general sentiment, it’s not as straight forward as that. Due to economies of scale, the mom and pop stores struggle to stay competitive from a price standpoint, at least in my own experience. The upfront cost associated with the purchase of the PC is generally the big issue to the consumer, not the wasted hours stuck talking to off shored tech support as painful as they may be.

    Additionally most mom and pop shops, again from my own experience, are Windows only. No alternative OSes. If the goal is to proliferate free software, the big manufacturers like Dell and Lenovo are the companies that ultimately will push free software into the main stream followed by the small shops later on.

  15. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 27, 2008 at 1:15 pm


    I actually know quite a few small shops that differentiate themselves using GNU/Linux. There is not much of a cost associated with production lines anyway.

  16. Ian said,

    December 27, 2008 at 7:46 pm


    I actually know quite a few small shops that differentiate themselves using GNU/Linux.

    Really? Anyone with a website?

    There is not much of a cost associated with production lines anyway.

    Yes there is. What’s your point?

  17. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 28, 2008 at 2:26 am


    I actually know quite a few small shops that differentiate themselves using GNU/Linux.

    Really? Anyone with a website?


    There is not much of a cost associated with production lines anyway.

    Yes there is. What’s your point?

    One of the reasons Dell, for example, elevates/lowers the price is the way it installs and delivers the PCs, in a sort of pipeline

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