Check out Walmart.com. Look for
- “linux” in Books – 104 results (YAY!)
- “ubuntu” in Books – 25 results (YAY!)
- “linux” in Computers – 2 results , online only pickup in stores a few days after ordering (BOOO!)
- “ubuntu” in Computers – 0 results (BOOO!)
What’s wrong with this picture? There’s obviously a great interest in GNU/Linux in Walmart’s customers. Several books about GNU/Linux are on the first page of the “best-sellers” list under Books/Computers/Operating Systems. Why don’t they sell more than a couple of models of GNU/Linux PCs (ones with a popular distro at least)?
What’s wrong is a distortion of the market. Even M$’s COO came from Walmart. Walmart is not officially a “partner” of M$ but they might as well be for the choices on their shelves. Only in small cheap computers do they offer choice of OS, the two mini-PCs mentioned above and a huge variety of tablets and smart phones running Android/Linux or iOS. Walmart in Brazil offers dozens of GNU/Linux PCs. Walmart in USA could as well if they weren’t loyal sycophants of M$. Remember the netbook? Walmart was part of the clamour about “our customers didn’t like it” even while GNU/Linux netbooks were flying off the shelves, selling out globally.
M$ had an organized campaign to exclude GNU/Linux from the netbook market. You can bet they did more than pay Walmart a visit.
No, Walmart could sell GNU/Linux PCs but they won’t. They could order GNU/Linux PCs from any OEM on the planet but they won’t. It’s not about customers or price/performance. It’s about pleasing M$.