Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts Tagged / Dell

  • Jul 14 / 2014
  • 4

It’s Been A Long Time Coming But Competition Returns To The Market For PCs

It was just a few years ago that M$ could tell OEMs what to do if they wanted to sell a PC and that included bundling M$’s OS with (almost) every PC shipped on the planet.“Microsoft operating chief Kevin Turner said that the company and its partners won’t cede the low-end of the PC market and will sacrifice Windows licensing margins to do it.” That’s over and here’s what happened:

  • That pesky GNU/Linux operating system would not go away and was installed on just about everything except desktop PCs…
  • Finally Dell, HP, and other big OEMs figured out that they could make money selling some PCs with GNU/Linux, probably as a result of US Department of Justice twisting arms…
  • Then Google figured out that PCs had to be a lot cheaper if Google’s market, everyone on the Internet, was going to grow sufficiently rapidly to maintain Google in the manner to which it had become accustomed, and Google provided an inexpensive */Linux OS, Android/Linux the world could ship on inexpensive ARMed PCs of all kinds: tablets, smartphones, all-in-ones and yes, even desktop PCs. Further, Android/Linux did not have a lot of the problems of that other OS: malware, slowing down, re-re-reboots, and high and hidden price…

Chuckle. The good times are rolling. Eventually even retailers and businesses locked into doing things M$’s way will take the opportunities that exist in the market. Already Google has sponsored a billion small cheap computers running Android/Linux and there could be more than another billion shipped this year. M$ had better compete on price to have any hope of keeping up. Then there are all the lock-ins that M$ has built over the year. Those lock-ins now keep M$ out of the market: Bloatware just doesn’t fit on most small cheap computers, bloatware just doesn’t run fast on most small cheap computers, and M$’s GUI for the desktop and the touch-screen doesn’t fit well on the tiny screens that people love to put in their pockets.

Forget charging a price of $0. M$ will have to pay people to buy something running that other OS. People won’t take that pay as just a reduction of the price of the device a few dollars. They will want a huge cut or some substantial benefit. Using a word-processor designed in the 1980s won’t cut it. Most users of small cheap computers can’t even type… They just want to click and */Linux lets them and their friends and their friends’ friends click to their heart’s content. Remember the 1990s when M$ held that monopoly naturally called on them to dominate the market? Well, it’s the 1990s all over again, done right this time. :-))

Do the maths. Millions are buying small cheap computers that do for them what bulky PCs used to do: compute and communicate. Those small cheap computers even do it better, being small and cheap (bonus for no extra charge). If M$ does give away its OS for small cheap computers or pay people to use its OS, everyone will know that the value of M$’s OS on desktop PCs and servers is about $0, too. The endgame is that M$ cannot just compete on price for consumers’ gadgets. M$ will have to compete everywhere and actually work for a living from now on. That will lower their margins considerably. That will cut into their bottom line. That may not maintain their market share anywhere near where it is now.

See Microsoft eyes Chromebooks, low-end PC market: All about the platform.

  • Apr 10 / 2014
  • 10

Good News And Bad News Depending On Whether Or Not You Enslave People To Wintel

Well, the good news for me is that shipments of PCs, mostly Wintel desktops and notebooks is down 4.4% compared to last year.“Worldwide PC shipments have now declined for eight consecutive quarters as a result of shifting technology usage and competition (notably with tablets & smartphones) as well as economic pressures (including high unemployment, slow growth & investment, tight credit, and currency fluctuations) related to the Great Recession, sovereign debt crises, and their related impact on international trade” The news could have been better if more XP units were migrated to GNU/Linux or Android/Linux but it’s not clear because IDC doesn’t publicly report that division. My view is that since most legacy PCs ship with Wintel, down is a good thing. GNU/Linux is holding its own despite that decline so shipments of GNU/Linux must be up.

The bad news for me is that still too many people are locked in to Wintel and don’t see that they are being ripped off or are working hard to ignore that fact. I do notice that Wintel prices are coming down rapidly. My favourite supplier will sell motherboard and CPU (AMD) for much less than $90. A good ARMed system will trump that with more throughput and far less wasted power but it’s good that it’s available. Dell, here, in Canada, even shows the price of that other OS on Intel boxes. Unfortunately, they only sell one GNU/Linux box… It’s the token OS for Dell and that box is priced outrageously at $943 even with GNU/Linux. What are they thinking? Money grows on trees? Wintel still has a monopoly? Nope. Consumers can get better for $400. Wintel is still not even close to providing what consumers want.

Still, overall, we are seeing competition actually gain traction against Wintel. OEMs, retailers and consumers are actually seeing a major share of the market go to other platforms. Most consumers are happy with Android/Linux on ARM. Imagine how overjoyed they would be with GNU/Linux on ARM… I’m looking forward to more good news when M$ reports in a couple of weeks.

See Windows XP Migration and Commercial Spending Helped Offset Weak Consumer PC Demand in the First Quarter of 2014.

  • Mar 05 / 2014
  • 26

Dell, Again

Every now and then I visit to check on the progress of Freedom. It’s getting better, but just a little. Just choose “For Work” and “Desktops and workstations”. You can get exactly 1 choice in “desktops and workstations” if you look for GNU/Linux but at $1K a box with no monitor or keyboard is a bit pricey. Same goes for “notebooks and tablets”, well over $1K. Of course, you have to pretend to be a business and buy three years of phone support… I guess they charge extra for freedom. “For Home” gives little choice except Android/Linux and that other OS. No GNU/Linux at all. I guess they just don’t want you to get anything done with FLOSS.

There’s no such problem at It just doesn’t seem like Dell want to sell GNU/Linux because they’re not trying very hard. Perhaps they’re just trying to avoid being sued for anti-competitive actions.

  • Jan 31 / 2014
  • 2

It Pays To Sell GNU/Linux

For years I have watched the web-stats for GNU/Linux languish in Mexico. No longer. In the summer of 2013, retailers, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer and Canonical got together in Mexico and sold PCs. It does pay to have actual salespeople and retail shelf-space. Obviously the PCs are selling. I hope other countries get going on this, mine, for instance…
“In Mexico, HP has been running in-store initiatives with Bodega Aurrera stores – a subsidiary of Wal Mart – where consumers could buy HP laptops with Ubuntu pre-loaded off the shelf. The computers are available in several hundred of the stores, and the initial units sold out at three times faster than anticipated. Proof that where Ubuntu device are available in stores, then customers will see strong value and purchase.”

  • Jan 28 / 2014
  • 3

More Decay Of Wintel Seen In 2014

One of the key elements of the Wintel plan for monopoly for desktops, bundling the OS with every PC shipped is coming undone.“Scheduling delays and weakened consumer demand for notebook PC replacements are forcing leading PC brands—including Apple, ASUS, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba—to reduce notebook PC shipments for 2014. According to the NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile PC Value Chain and Insight Report, the 2014 shipment estimate for the top nine notebook PC brands is 134 million, which is a decrease from the previously estimated 152 million units.” Meanwhile */Linux will ship on more than a billion devices sold to consumers as portable IT and even desktop IT.

“In terms of product design, low-priced notebook PCs with screen sizes between 14” and 15.6”, which are expected to sell for $299, will not be ready before June 2014. None of those models will include touch capabilities, so the touch penetration rate could be less than the 15% estimated for 2014. In addition, notebook PCs with the Duo OS concept, which were created by Intel and PC brands, have been cancelled because Microsoft and Google no longer support the concept.”

Further, Wintel cannot even compete on price/performance at the low end because M$ charges way too much for licensing and restricting the freedom of users to use the hardware they buy to fullest potential. That just won’t fly any longer. There are OEMs who want to compete selling small cheap computers of every kind and they will ship Android/Linux, Chrome OS/Linux and GNU/Linux in 2014. You can bet on that. Margins are too small in this segment to pay the Wintel tax. Meanwhile, tablets, where Wintel has a tiny share is predicted to reach 300 million units in 2014 and 400 million by 2016.

See Leading Notebook PC Brands Reducing 2014 Shipment Targets, According to NPD DisplaySearch.

  • Jan 23 / 2014
  • 12

Wintel Fragments

“Revenue in Devices & Consumer, which includes everything from consumer Windows licenses to Surface, Xbox and Bing, grew 13 percent to $11.91 billion.
Though Windows revenue from manufacturers declined 3 percent, revenue from Surface — Microsoft launched the second generation of its Surface tablets in the second quarter — doubled from the previous quarter.”
While M$’s latest quarterly report looks good for M$, it clearly shows Wintel is split right down the middle. On the one hand, M$ saved its bacon by growing sales of “surface” by $billions. On the other, its old partners, the OEMs, clearly took a big hit. M$ and everyone else are taking revenue from those OEMs. M$ has an unfair advantage against the OEMs. M$ doesn’t have to pay its own licensing fees…

What will the OEMs do? Continue as manufacturing slaves for M$ or go into business for themselves with FLOSS and GNU/Linux and Android/Linux? Wait! They are in business for themselves, right? That means in 2014 OEMs that dipped their toes in the FLOSS pool last year will plunge in. Android/Linux, Ubuntu GNU/Linux, Linpus GNU/Linux and every other kind of */Linux will be shipped in huge numbers. The consumers have shown they won’t pay retailers and OEMs to supply Wintel PCs but for ~$100 less per unit with FLOSS the flow of legacy PCs and every other kind of PCs the OEMs can produce will take off. I wonder how many of those “surfaces” still gather dust on retail shelves? Maybe the retailers took a hit as well. ;-)

In case the reader is skeptical, take a look at the numbers:

2012 Q3 2013 Q3
M$’s Licensing Revenue $5.70b $5.38b
M$’s Hardware Revenue $2.81b $4.73b
M$’s Sum $8.51b $10.11b

Essentially, M$’s take from the global IT budget of consumers rose $1.6b and the OEMs’ fell… That is a huge change to the “partnership” enslavement licence. Wintel is broken and M$ neither can nor wants to put it back together. The same thing is happening to the “resellers” who get to point businesses at M$’s cloud never to be seen again…

I’m OK with this. The “partners” of M$ will now have to work for a living and get involved with FLOSS or die. M$ can afford to become an OEM if necessary but it will also have to work for a living. Good. M$’s gross margin for consumers dropped $1b while it rose $1b for businesses. That’s the choice that has been made. Hundreds of millions of consumers freed themselves from Wintel in 2013. 2014 looks to be an even better year.

See Microsoft’s quarterly numbers spring past estimates | The Seattle Times.

  • Jan 02 / 2014
  • 2

It’s a New Year For */Linux

January 1 of 2013, StatCounter showed */Linux as 2.06% (1.25% Android/Linux + 0.8% GNU/Linux + 0.01 ChromeOS/Linux)

January 1 of 2014, it’s 4.9% (3.47% Android/Linux + 1.3% GNU/Linux + 0.13% ChromeOS/Linux)

For the first time ever real damage was done to Wintel by */Linux on ARM and x86/AMD64. Android nearly trebled and GNU/Linux increased 50% due to the efforts of Google, Canonical and many OEMs. Retailers have given a lot of space to Android/Linux but not so much GNU/Linux. That will change in 2014 as more retailers offer stuff that has growth like this in sales. Chromebooks are really taking off in sales. They should show up in web-stats sooner rather than later.

  • Sep 26 / 2013
  • 1

Ubuntu GNU/Linux Selling in 2500 Chinese Stores

Not only did Dell ramp up the number of its stores selling Ubuntu GNU/Linux but HP “began stocking two new Ubuntu laptops in over 1,500 of its Chinese stores as of September 16th.”

see HP to Stock Ubuntu Laptops in 1,500 China Stores.

Between the two of them there are 2500 stores with GNU/Linux on retail shelves in China. If they can sell a few machines per day each, that’s millions of GNU/Linux PCs selling in China annually. Imagine what Lenovo, Acer and others are doing… What’s so special about China? Less lock-in? Built-in emerging market? A government that encourages independence from outsiders? Whatever the reason, this could be the year of the GNU/Linux desktop in China. It remains to be seen whether this growth will continue and how far this will go in stimulating legacy-PC sales.

  • Sep 21 / 2013
  • 29

Dell is in the process of being sold back to Dell. I wanted to see if there were any improvements in the website these days. Try as I might I could not find a single item on when I searched for “Linux notebook”. To my surprise, showed several choices:

“linux notebook”.

What a difference a country makes. They say GNU/Linux is available on other models in selected regions but don’t say what those regions are…

At least that annoying “Dell recommends that other OS” is a little more muted on the new, improved site.

  • Sep 06 / 2013
  • 4

Ascent of Ubuntu GNU/Linux

It does pay to have salesmen, especially those who sell software cheaply to OEMs…“Dell are to more than double the number of its Chinese retail stores stocking Ubuntu-loaded laptops, Canonical has announced. “

see Dell To Expand Ubuntu Retail Presence in China.

Dell and Ubuntu GNU/Linux are a marriage made on Earth where Wintel is struggling to stay out from under dust on retail shelves. There are buyers, but only at very low prices. OEMs who pay M$ a huge licensing fee are squeezed. With GNU/Linux costing ~$0, Dell can ship it for peanuts and increase its margin. China has no qualms about GNU/Linux so that is where Dell is pumping them out.

It’s all good. It used to be that RedHat and IBM were pushing GNU/Linux on the desktop but now they mostly roll for businesses. Dell putting Ubuntu GNU/Linux on retail shelves in China could mean huge growth for GNU/Linux. Thanks Canonical and Dell. You are doing good business while making the world a better place.

  • Aug 27 / 2013
  • 1

Dell and HP! Your Folly Is Not Clinging To Consumer PC business But M$

Two of the biggest OEMs of PCs have buried their heads in the sands of Wintel so far they don’t see the real problem, that M$ is raking off the profits, leaving them with tiny margins.
“Dell clings to the consumer PC business in the name of the bring your own device movement, but the operating profits are just north of nil. HP is defending its No. 1 spot, but the profit and revenue lines are headed in the wrong direction.”

see Dell, HP and the folly of the consumer PC business.

Say, a typical notebook costs ~$200 to build, M$ charges $50 for its OS, the OEM charges an additional $50 for the OS and the retail price is $350. That means the entire supply chain from parts to retail gets a shot at a margin of ~$100 but the OEMs end up with $10-$20 for doing all the work of making the machines. M$ gets $50 simply for giving permission to make a copy, something that should cost ~$5 at most. Now that competition is thriving, the consumer is getting a reasonable deal compared to a few years ago, yet M$ has taken almost none of the cuts in prices due to Moore’s Law and the evolution of electronics. They are getting more per copy than they were when they sold only a few million licences per year.

Dell and HP! The solution to your problem is to ditch M$. Cut out that unnecessary $100 from your price and replace it with $75 of your margin by shipping GNU/Linux and Android/Linux. Problem solved. Your margin increases four-fold and your volume increases because the cost to the consumer drops $25. You could increase volume further by cutting prices as necessary. That’s the way the market should work, you being in control of your destiny, not M$. M$ is going down in flames because volumes are dropping and you can’t do anything about it. Making PCs thinner or with prettier colours or smelling better is not going to reverse the damage M$ has done to the PC business with its complexity, top-down nonsense, malware, re-re-reboots etc. Look at M$. They want you to raise the price of your product in order to hide their inefficiency. That’s nonsense. Get out from under that weight and survive. You don’t owe M$ a living. You can do better without them.

  • May 31 / 2013
  • 3

Dell Giving M$ a Free Ride

Clearly, M$ charges OEMs a hefty price per licence. Just look at their latest cheat-sheet: $4.6billions for 70million PCs, about $65 each… Then why does Dell promote “7″ by charging $20 less than GNU/Linux on identical hardware? Are they charging more for the larger picture?

I suppose we should be happy that they offer GNU/Linux but that’s just the first step in liberating retail shelves. Price is still a barrier.Dell_offers_choice The price of a licence for GNU/Linux is ~$0 so the product should be ~$50 less with GNU/Linux. At least be honest, Dell, and tip the teeter-totter in the right direction. Your customers would be glad to take GNU/Linux for $25 less. What are you afraid of, M$?