OEMs Flee Low-margin PCs

IDC, writing of Europe, Middle East and Africa wrote:“Sony shipments declined in the region following the recent announcement of its exit from the PC market. Samsung closed the top 10 ranking in EMEA with another quarter of decline due to disinvestment from mainstream portable PC and a switched focus on Chromebooks and high-end Ultrabooks.”
This is deadly for Wintel. What I have been predicting for several years has come to bear fruit. OEMs are tired of being squeezed between M$ and Intel on one hand and conumers’ increasing reluctance to spend money on big expensive personal computers. Consumers would rather buy small cheap computers but Wintel does not work for them. It’s just too expensive to be called “cheap”.

One can argue that OEMs who only sold a few million PCs per annum are relevant but Sony and Samsung are huge brands. If they can’t see Wintel being profitable any longer for anything but a niche market (rich/foolish consumers) will it be long before other OEMs make the same choice? I expect 2014 is a watershed year in PCs. In 2013 we saw all resistance to small cheap computers crumble as they became “must have” items of commerce. It’s only natural that motivation will creep into bigger PCs used at work/productivity. I expect several more OEMs will concentrate more on small cheap computers possibly running Android/Linux or GNU/Linux in the mainstream of PCs, small desktops and mid-range notebooks. Before this, OEMs looked upong */Linux as a risky proposition for low-end PCs only. Samsung has seen the light. Sony too.

Does anyone doubt that Samsung will find ways to ship tons of Chromebooks and other GNU/Linux PCs this year?

See PC Shipments in EMEA Stabilized During the First Quarter of 2014.

See also, Videos found by “chromebook2 samsung” search

and, my favourite, Samsung’s own video:

Makes me feel like running out and buying one, eh? If one ever had doubts that a big OEM would push GNU/Linux to the world, they should be gone. Samsung is pushing all the right buttons.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.

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18 Responses to OEMs Flee Low-margin PCs

  1. DeafSpy wrote a list of apps, “Which run on any Windows since 2000. Without any fuss.”

    No one needs any of them, however. GNU/Linux has lots of usable alternatives and I can get old GNU/Linux apps to run on old GNU/Linux probably back to the days of ‘386, because the licence allows that. The real problem is that old copies of M$’s OS don’t even know about more modern hardware. I was in a place, for instance that had XP fail on a particular PC. I installed GNU/Linux in its place and it worked satisfactorily for months but, eventually, I was asked to replace XP. The version of XP that was on the installation medium did not recognize the NIC which was version C of hardware. I had to hunt for that driver and eventually found it. It’s not so simple when manufacturers never produced a driver for some version of that other OS. They want to sell new hardware so there’s no advantage for them to do so. I had a teacher with desktop printer supported by XP but not “7” for instance. In that case, HP was willing to supply their part of the driver for “7” but M$ would not. It was a USB printer and M$ supplied the USB part for XP but would not for “7”. No problem with GNU/Linux.

  2. oiaohm wrote, “Yes there is a issue of Application support. Windows is not as magical at this as people make out.”

    M$ not only changed the rules from one release to another. We had it happen overnight (XP SP2, I think), shutting down the whole lab in a school and we never did get the scanner working again. I wanted to switch to GNU/Linux to fix that but it didn’t happen (top-down decision by non-IT administrator).

  3. oiaohm says:

    http://code.google.com/p/cgroupmgr/wiki/cgroupsForAndroid
    kurkosdr yes there are commonalities between Android and Desktop Linux. Some are interesting oddities like cgroup support built into the Android kernel even that you need root to access it on the android device.

    Yes cgroup is kinda vm but officially its not. Since you are sharing 1 Kernel. But something inside a cgroup can have a unique file-system.

    On the rooted installing debian and the like that is what the Complete Linux installer is for. Yes exploiting cgroups. Yes its an android application requires root. http://linuxonandroid.org/

    There are fakeroot solutions like gnuroot. Of course most people miss that fakeroot is used in application building by debian and testing.

    Thing to remember is docker.io is making cgroup tech more common.

  4. oiaohm says:

    Deaf Spy you need to change that. Autocad 2009 and newer does not support Windows 2000 and 2015 drops XP support. Windows applications are only supported for Limited versions of Windows.

    The claim those programs run on any version of Windows is bogus.

    Windows NT cannot in fact run lots of 9x applications. Big one is copy protection and timing drivers of the 9x age completely incompatible with anything NT. Wine project gets lots of requests to port to windows to attempt to address that issue. Not possible due to the reason wine can support more is kernel level alterations to BSD and Linux kernels.

    Yes there is a issue of Application support. Windows is not as magical at this as people make out.

  5. Deaf Spy says:

    I second Kurkosdr. Let’s the a look at the arch-enemy of this blog, that “other OS”, which name should not be said aloud.
    We have Win 3, Windows 9x, Windows NT (2000 – 8.1.). These are three completely different OSes. Now, Windows 9x is able to run most Win 3 applications. Windows NT is able to run basically ALL Windows 9x applications, and many Win 3 apps in its 32bit incarnation. Windows NT 64-bit runs all Windows 9x apps. Even Windows 9x can run many Windows NT applications.
    That is why people don’t even realize that we have three different, very different OSes here. People simply call it “Windows”. Even certain less-enlightened Linux proponents don’t realize NT and 95 are completely different OSes.

    It is the apps that matter, Mr. Pogson. Apps that people are ready to purchase to get the work done. Stuff like Photoshop, Office, ESRI ArcView, AutoCAD, Cubase, Illustrator, 3D Max… Which run on any Windows since 2000. Without any fuss.

  6. kurkosdr says:

    Are we supposed to believe Android and Desktop Linux have anything in common = Are we supposed to believe there is unity between Android and Desktop Linux

  7. kurkosdr says:

    Are we supposed to believe that all there is a unity between all these? = Are we supposed to believe that all there is a unity between all these, Android and Desktop Linux?

  8. kurkosdr says:

    Another reason “*/Linux” is a silly term is that it inevitably includes Samsung TVs, TiVo, routers and all kinds of consumer electronics that happen to run the Linux kernel for their low-level plumbing.

    Are we supposed to believe that all there is a unity between all these?

    Are we supposed to believe Android and Desktop Linux have anything in common just because the scheduler and some other low-level code are common, despite the fact APIs and libraries and even the above-kernel architecture is different?

    Oh my god the nonsense!

  9. kurkosdr says:

    is a lame = which is a lame

  10. kurkosdr says:

    “How about rooted Android/Linux devices? They can run LibreOffice from Debian GNU/Linux.”

    HOW can they do that? The only thing that comes to mind is remote desktop and VMs (although I haven’t seen a decent VM for Android).

    And anyway doesn’t matter. If your OS run apps through a VM or remote desktop, said apps are not run on the platform itself.

    There is also something called “Debian noroot” is a lame (wonky) compatibility layer like Wine.

    This is what I am trying to say all along: Any attempt to pretend there is unity between Android and Desktop Linux will result in ridiculous arguments that can also be used to “prove” there is unity between Linux and Windows, or between Linux and Haiku. All you need is a VM or remote desktop.

    Let me tell that to you for one last time: Apart from sharing some common codebase (the kernel), everything above that, including APIs, libraries etc, aka the stuff that defines the OS and the app compatibility is completely different between the two.

    If you try to pretend there is unity betwen Android and Desktop Linux just because they have a common kernel, you have to pretend Windows is FreeBSD because they shared some networking code and because lame compat layers exist.

  11. kurkosdr wrote, “There is no way/software to run Desktop Linux apps on Android (most Desktop Linux apps can’t run on ChromeOS either) and there is no reliable way/software to run Android apps on Desktop Linux either.”

    Still denying the existence of thin clients, eh? How about rooted Android/Linux devices? They can run LibreOffice from Debian GNU/Linux. The thing that runs the hardware/manages resources is Linux in both. Stop trying to create a sense of disunity where there is none. Google wanted to solve the problem of a shortage of apps by using a Java-compatibility layer to reduce the period of adjustment for Java-programmers. They could have just used Java but Sun/Oracle were being PITA. If they had used Java on GNU/Linux it wouldn’t have made a lick of difference to OEMs and end-users but that wasn’t possible so Android/Linux happened. It’s all good.

  12. kurkosdr says:

    And all computers are equivalent due to the Turing thing.

    Look, buddy, Android, Chrome OS and Desktop Linux are mutually incompatible or semi-compatible when it comes to apps, so stop trying to create sense of unity that doesn’t exist by spouting nonsense like “*/Linux”. It makes you sound like a politician.

    There is no way/software to run Desktop Linux apps on Android (most Desktop Linux apps can’t run on ChromeOS either) and there is no reliable way/software to run Android apps on Desktop Linux either.
    In theory such software could exist, just like in theory WorkplaceOS is the only OS you need.

    Here is how to recognize “platforms”: Can they run the same apps?

    The nonsense “*/Linux” tries to unite completely different platforms to make loons all warm and fuzzy.

    PS: Before someone says something about Wine, yes Linux could have made a win32 platform if Wine worked reliably. But it doesn’t.

  13. kurkosdr, clutching at straws, wrote, “There is no choice of a successfull Linux that isn’t locked down”

    I don’t have to pretend that Debian GNU/Linux is successful, because it is, no matter how you measure it. Consider mirrors, applications included in the box, copycats, price per installation, any measure you want, and Debian GNU/Linux is a winner. One could argue that total revenue or units shipped is less than others but Debian GNU/Linux is quite successful, having become a global player with a good reputation for a tiny fraction of the investment of Wintel. I would bet Wintel spends more on advertising than the global expenses related to Debian and still Debian GNU/Linux finds its way onto retail shelves, many servers, and many users desktops. I hold that Ubuntu GNU/Linux that is derived from Debian GNU/Linux would not have had its great success without the base of Debian GNU/Linux. That is success.

    kukosdr wrote, “Do you know what defines an OS? The UI and the APIs (which in turn define what you can run on it). And all the three “Linuxes” (Desktop Linux, ChromeOS and Android) have different UIs”.

    Close, but no prize. The UI and APIs of GNU/Linux are defined by software and because of the licence are not fixed/rigid/locked-down. Any user with the root password can change them legally. So, one can have a UI just like that other OS and with Wine, run that other OS’ applications. Kurkosdr’s definition therefor equates GNU/Linux and that other OS, a logical absurdity. Therefor, kurkosdr’s definition is invalid. QED. Clearly the software of GNU/Linux and that other OS are different and the operating systems are different.

  14. kurkosdr says:

    “The same trolls knock GNU/Linux for giving users too much control… There are a wide variety of users with all kinds of abilities, experiences and goals. Some, most in fact, want a locked-down experience so they don’t have to worry about a lot of details.”
    Problem is, every successful Linux out there is a locked-down POS. Because every successful (client-side) Linux out there is developed by Google (Android and Chrome OS), who want OSes to be locked-down, dump content consumers. There is no choice of a successfull Linux that isn’t locked down (with good support by third-party developers open and closed source).

    But hey, let’s pretend Ubuntu and Debian are successful. No, they really are…

    “Linux is the common kernel of them all. It’s a good portion of Android/Linux as sold by OEMs. In GNU/Linux, much more software usually is installed out of the box so Linux is less a percentage of the code but it still is vital, managing all resources and hardware.”

    It’s also a piece of code that users never interact with, and a piece of code that doesn’t define an OS. Android could run on VxWorks and feel the same.

    Do you know what defines an OS? The UI and the APIs (which in turn define what you can run on it). And all the three “Linuxes” (Desktop Linux, ChromeOS and Android) have different UIs, but most importantly, have mutually incompatible or semi-compatible APIs, and don’t run the same apps. “*/Linux” isn’t a platform, “*/Linux” doesn’t mean anything actually (other that making an uninteresting statement that some OSes just happen to use some common code, yawn), and it’s only use its to make Linux fans feel warm and fuzzy.
    Saying “*/Linux” is like saying “Chinajapan. These two countries both use a logographic alphabet anyway”).

  15. Chuckle. kurkosdr wrote, “If anyone from here had actually used Android, you wouldn’t cheer for it, since it’s a locked down OS. Windows 8 or Windows RT let’s you have MUCH more control.”

    The same trolls knock GNU/Linux for giving users too much control… There are a wide variety of users with all kinds of abilities, experiences and goals. Some, most in fact, want a locked-down experience so they don’t have to worry about a lot of details. They use apps, not operating systems, remember?

    kurkosdr wrote, “*/Linux makes me chuckle. What all those */Linux OSes have in common (Android, Chrome OS, Desktop Linux). Very little.”

    Linux is the common kernel of them all. It’s a good portion of Android/Linux as sold by OEMs. In GNU/Linux, much more software usually is installed out of the box so Linux is less a percentage of the code but it still is vital, managing all resources and hardware. On my beast, for instance, the Linux part is 14MB:
    103k config-3.10.36_EDAC
    3.9M initrd.img-3.10.36_EDAC
    3.3M System.map-3.10.36_EDAC
    4.8M vmlinuz-3.10.36_EDAC
    2.0M /lib/modules/3.10.36_EDAC/kernel/drivers/edac
    2.0M /lib/modules/3.10.36_EDAC/kernel/drivers
    87k /lib/modules/3.10.36_EDAC/kernel/kernel
    2.1M /lib/modules/3.10.36_EDAC/kernel
    2.1M /lib/modules/3.10.36_EDAC/
    14M total

    whereas I have gigabytes of code installed. So, my OS is not Linux. It’s Debian GNU/Linux.

  16. kurkosdr says:

    Let’s cheer for an OS that won’t even let you access the folder in which apps are stored in (Android). Or for an OS that won’t even let you copy files from a digital camera or mp3 player to the internal SSD or to another USB stick (Chrome OS).

    If anyone from here had actually used Android, you wouldn’t cheer for it, since it’s a locked down OS. Windows 8 or Windows RT let’s you have MUCH more control. Android only lets you read-write in the home directory. Everything else doesn’t have user read access.
    And even the home directory is virtual, there are all kind of “undeletable” files there.
    I know because I ‘ve used it.

    Also */Linux makes me chuckle. What all those */Linux OSes have in common (Android, Chrome OS, Desktop Linux). Very little. People who utter the word “*/Linux” are like dolts who utter the word “Asian culture”.

  17. kurkosdr says:

    Let’s cheer for an OS that won’t even let you access the folder in which apps are stored in (Android). Or for an OS that won’t even let you copy files from a digital camera or mp3 player to the internal SSD or to another USB stick (Chrome OS).

    If anyone from here had actually used Android, you wouldn’t cheer for it, since it’s a locked down OS. Windows 8 or Windows RT let’s you have MUCH more control. Android only lets you read-write in the home directory. Everything else doesn’t have user read access.
    And even the home directory is virtual, there are all kind of “undeletable” files there.
    I know because I ‘ve used it.

    Also */Linux makes me chuckle. What all those */Linux OSes have in common (Android, Chrome OS, Desktop Linux). Very little. People who utter the word “*/Linux” are like idiots who utter the word “Asian culture”.

  18. ram says:

    Chromebooks are PC’s. The bigger ones run Intel processors and can operate offline. They are, however, Linux PC’s!

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