Wintel Prices Itself Out of the Notebook Market

Wintel has tried to upsell notebooks to kill netbooks and promote growth in sales of notebooks but it’s not working. Ultrabooks are doomed to take only a tiny sliver of market-share because they are small but not nearly cheap enough in price. The real growth is in small cheap computers and neither Intel nor M$ are having much fun there.

Soon, OEMs will realize the way to sell more notebooks and to increase margins on notebooks is to ship GNU/Linux, cutting out M$. They can increase margins further cutting out Intel with ARM. The netbook was a great idea but the OEMs stopped too soon, at 10 inches. There’s no reason the technology could not support larger, more practical notebooks at reasonable and attractive prices. The market knows what it wants and it’s not more expensive notebooks.

see Ultrabooks: objects of desire but just too darn expensive • Reg Hardware.

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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28 Responses to Wintel Prices Itself Out of the Notebook Market

  1. oldman says:

    Actually I worked extensivelyt with VM/CMS (know known as zVM) once. I should Have said that vSPhere remains the only tyoe 1 x86 hypervisor Pog.

    I stand corrected.

  2. oldman wrote, “Vsphere remains the ONLY true type 1 (non hosted) hyperviaor on the market.”

    That’s what some salesmen say but others disagree.
    “the original hypervisors were the test tool, SIMMON, and CP/CMS, both developed at IBM in the 1960s. CP/CMS was the ancestor of IBM’s z/VM. Modern equivalents of this are Oracle VM Server for SPARC, the Citrix XenServer, VMware ESX/ESXi, and Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor.”

    There may be merit in either approach depending on whether performance or reliability matter more but RedHat claims their customized KVM rocks. I like the low price of KVM and I don’t care whether or not it’s one type or another. It’s easy to use.

  3. oldman says:

    “Even so the recommended hybervisor is Linux at core. Yep vmware.”

    The hypervisor of vsphere has never been anything but pure closed source proprietary. Whatever Linux is in the current version (and there isn’t much these days any more) is out of memory after initrd time possibly earlier

    Vsphere remains the ONLY true type 1 (non hosted) hyperviaor on the market.

  4. oldman says:

    “Yes I do go what the at that recommendation from dell staff Or upsell you a hyper-visor solution so Windows works..”

    I will ask our Dell rep about your assertion. It should be interesting.

    Would you care to modify your assertion before I do so?

    “Just because its shipping as windows listed as primary OS does not mean that OS is going to work correctly and it not just there as software to be placed in a virtual machine.”

    Thats funny, because I have NEVER had any problems with Dell supporting a configuration that they sell. And believe they WILL support us – we buy a hell of a lot of workstations and servers!!!

    This is over and above the fact that selling a system that is not supported would probably result in a returned system and cancelled order at best and constitute fraud at worst!

    Again it should be interesting to do my R910 tests when the hardware arrives. Would you be intereeste din the result?

  5. oiaohm says:

    oldman and ring up on support get told to install Linux and run windows in vitalisation if there is a problem by the way. Yes they support it by directing you to there free copy of ubuntu and the iso for windows install location. Yes I do go what the at that recommendation from dell staff Or upsell you a hyper-visor solution so Windows works..

    Yes they sell $29000 system that is slightly cheaper than the N so Linux users pave over and are supported on the T7600 as well.

    Basically at high end you are meant to know what you are doing. So if you order a 512 expect windows to work virtualization its your problem.

    Versions of windows include all support virtualization.

    But as T7600 is new is longer the N version is around the more options Linux only get added to it. N version always ends up better buying if you are needing the complete lot. At first buying the windows and paving over is the cheap way.

    Oldman is it impossible to make windows run on that hardware no. Is the process going to drive buyer up wall in case of problem yes absolutely. Who is going to like the idea to have to format the complete machine to install Linux or a hypervisor so they can keep on using Windows 7. Even so the recommended hybervisor is Linux at core. Yep vmware.

    Apparently you have not dealt with dell getting high end workstations. As long as it possible to be made work somehow they will ship it.

    Linux user wanting to VM windows the plan T76000 with full ram is good buying.

    Yes the high end reality. Just because its shipping as windows listed as primary OS does not mean that OS is going to work correctly and it not just there as software to be placed in a virtual machine.

  6. oldman says:

    actually it occurred to me after I posted to actually attempt to configure the 7600 windows 7 system with the maximum amount of memory (512gb). If this were an unsupported configuration the Dell configurator would usually complain..

    It didnt…

    so either there is a glitch in dell configurator or Dell has no problem taking $29,000US and selling and supporting the so called impossiblem configuration.

    So which one of us is going top check 😉

  7. Clarence Moon says:

    The OEMs are just paying less….

    Exactly. If you wade through all the USA vs Microsoft stuff and find the anecdote regarding IBM wanting the same discount treatments as Dell and HP, the whole enchilada was some $7 off and included a couple of bucks for posting the “Dell recommends Windows X”. there was more for putting the “Designed for Microsoft Windows” sticker on the keyboard, and more for using Windows and Office 100% internally as a reference site. Obviously with $20B+ in revenues from Windows, mostly OEM sales, they are not giving it away.

  8. oldman says:

    “Yes oldman you quoted a comment from a non approved person. Go back and read what you quoted again.”

    Oh I read it quite well. Running non standard configurations doesnt phase me. I am typing this on a Dell Precision M6500 reconfigured to run Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise server (booting form a VHD wrther than repartioning BTW & yes I know about the limitations so spare me).

    All my windows 7 x64 drivers were recognized and have been working quite well, and I have full wireless nic support.

    Just like I did 7-8 years ago when I ran windows 2003 EE on a Dell Inspiron 9200.

    ALl of my current software set also runs on it without a problem

    However you do have a point. Were I to run one of these desktops with 512Gb of RAM, I would probably ordered it with windows 2008 EE R2, which is certified up to 2Tb of RAM.

    But you have piques my curiosity sir. I will be taking finally delivery on a set Dell R910 servers with 1Tb of ram for a project sopon. I will do a test install of windows 7 x64 on one of them and burn it in fora couple of days.

    Its should be interesting don’t you think 😉

  9. oiaohm says:

    oldman TS7600N is in enterprise login at Dell.

    “The 192Gb limit referred to in microsoft documentation is a TESTED limit, not a hard one.”

    Is a hard limit of license in fact. ofRealmTruFaith is a comment oldman not a MS approved statement.

    The order limit to be in license is 192GB and it have certified drivers work 100 percent of the time. Anything past 192GB of ram you are on your own with any issue including any future activation failures.

    Really you could not find the n
    http://www.dell.com/us/fedgov/p/precision-t7600/fs

    Ok that one is wrong and why I bring it the one with freedos only not installed is more than windows.

    Yes oldman you quoted a comment from a non approved person. Go back and read what you quoted again.

    I could give the one with Redhat Linux on it but its india. Not that most of the time buying a Linux workstation do we want another copy of Redhat Linux anyhow. Active copy thing just decommission one machine and transfer to the next.

  10. Ted says:

    A 2TB workstation would be in the realms of fantasy for most organisations, as the RAM would put it into the $120,000USD price range. Even MS would balk at forking that out just for testing a one-in-a-million configuration.

    Is there anything anywhere that can actually use that much RAM? (Apart from Firefox?)

    Another interesting factoid is that the newer Sandy Bridge XEON processors only support up to 1500GB of memory, although this also is probably only a “tested” limit.

    “Sorry to say a T5600 is a toy.”

    I can assure you that you wouldn’t say that if a tricked out T5600 was under your desk, if the performance of the T5500 is anything to go by.

    I have a question about the whole “Microsoft pay OEMs to ‘recommend’ Windows” thing. As MS are selling the licenses to OEMs in the first place (presumably for a profit), this is just a discount isn’t it? “Say nice things about our OS, and buy x number of thousands, and we’ll charge you less.” So MS aren’t really paying anything at all, are they? The OEMs are just paying less.

  11. oldman says:

    “Sorry to say a T5600 is a toy. It only supports a 128G of ram yet you still can get a N of it with Redhat Linux.”

    But the TS7600 support up to 512Gb of ram and can be ordered with windows 7 Ultimate installed. The so called N series is also conspicuously absent.

    The interesting observation about windows memory limits is made in the following document

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa366778%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

    “the maximum supported memory you see listed above for 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate\Enterprise\Professional, Vista Ultimate\Enterprise\Business, Server 2008\R2 Datacenter\Enterprise and others represent how much physical main memory had been tested by Microsoft in their labs prior to RTM [Release To Manufacturing] (which for Windows 7 and 2008 R2 occurred in summer 2009 which is different from the GA [General Availability] also called retail release informally between halloween and thanksgiving 2009 in the USA)

    any unlimited/non-hard-coded 64-bit OS if properly architected (which includes basically all modern BSD or Linux distros and Windows releases; yes I left a major OS out for a reason; sorry fans) can fully support an entire 64-bit address-space of 2^64 bytes of physical main memory or 64 EXAbytes …and that’s with a flat memory mapping …all modern OS platforms have used VMM [Virtual Memory Managers] for a decade or longer now, which alows multiple concurrent/simultaneous address-spaces”

    The 192Gb limit referred to in microsoft documentation is a TESTED limit, not a hard one.

  12. oiaohm says:

    Clarence Moon if you go to the anti-trust cases it was 15 dollars a Unit cut off the OEM price. Maybe MS has reduced cost since then. So two bucks tops is wrong for the case Robert Pogson was pointing to.

    “Perhaps the OEMs are not believers, but they take the money anyway. No way to tell for sure.”

    OEMs are not believers in most cases. If the believed they would not certify there hardware for Linux usage and would not have to be paid to advertise it. Since once they certify a bit for Linux usage they have to provide some support for Linux usage.

    Problem from the Linux world some hardware makers are believers. This is where the windows only hardware comes from.

  13. Clarence Moon says:

    Nope, it’s a lot higher than that to sell out.

    Nope. Two bucks, tops.

  14. Clarence Moon wrote, “Microsoft pays a couple of bucks per unit”.

    Nope, it’s a lot higher than that to sell out. M$’s margins on the desktop OS have been falling steadily over the years as they have to pay more for that nonsense.

  15. Clarence Moon says:

    That’s why we see the inane, “recommend” “7″

    Wrong again, Mr. Pogson! Read your own documents that you cite from the USA vs Microsoft litigation. Microsoft pays a couple of bucks per unit, depending on the OEM’s product volume level, for “co-marketing” expenses, namely for putting the Windows slug line on their web pages. Perhaps the OEMs are not believers, but they take the money anyway. No way to tell for sure.

  16. oiaohm says:

    If you had looked at T7600 and T5600 specs you would noticed certified for freedos and redhat linux on T7600 and certified for Redhat Linux on the T5600. If something is market certified with a OS in dell there is someway to buy with that OS. Yes T7500 and T5600 both have N options.

    There is a reason why there is no option bar to provide Linux.
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa366778(v=vs.85).aspx

    N models you can have more ram fitted than MS Windows desktop OS’s can Handle. Even some of IBM Linux only models can exceed 2 TB of ram that is windows server 2008 limit.

    The top end workstations is Linux without question because windows does not run on them due to OS limits ram being the first cpu limits being another.

    Dell recommend windows is paid advertising.

    Sorry Ted you were only looking at the sub 196G ram systems.

    The T7600
    Up to 512GB6 DDR3 SDRAM at 1333Mhz
    Up to 256GB6 DDR3 SDRAM at 1600Mhz
    Both those options on a T7600 can only be ordered with a N model. Neither can be ordered with the non N model. Remember the N model does not have windows has Redhat Linux and Freedos.

    Sorry to say a T5600 is a toy. It only supports a 128G of ram yet you still can get a N of it with Redhat Linux.

    Ted the true top end is Linux because Windows will not run. Also in the N models some cards also appear. Like ram drive cards. Since Linux can run a ram drive next to a physical hard-drives providing speed ups windows cannot.

    Yes a Linux workstation does differ in spec to a Windows workstation because windows cannot operate particular hardware effectively also cannot handle particular sizes of hardware. So Linux on dell has its own version number in most cases. Yes the N class of machines. Yes the N equals No Limits model. N do have one limit no MS Windows.

    The high end workstations are Linux no other option.

  17. Ted says:

    “The website is not the real world, Ted.”

    The website is often the first port of call for customers, however.

    And of two of the three sites I visited, I found that Linux was not offered with the top-end workstations, a segment that Oiaohm claimed that Linux owns.

    Dell actually still offer Red Hat with older Precisions, but not on the T5600 and T7600 which are now Dell’s top-end.

    That the OEM cannot “recommend” Linux (I’d appreciate a link to the proof for this) would not and does not stop Linux being offered, as the HP and Dell sites show. That the offer has been dropped on newer models at Dell would show that demand for Linux was not that high.

    “One can pick up a phone and talk to a human who will do something to please the customer if it gets a sale.”

    Which is something that I actually recommend to anyone who asks me about getting a good deal on a computer. (Working in IT, I get this a lot.) A website cannot be haggled with, and does not have a quota to fill or a sales manager breathing down its neck… 🙂

  18. Ted says:

    “No they weren’t.”

    Yes they were. See below.

    “ASUS had no such problem.”

    The EeePC was returned regardless of OS – it was a cheap (as in tacky, badly made and underpowered) piece of crap with a dodgy SSD.

    And ASUS weren’t the only OEMs churning out Linux-based netbooks. What about MSI, Acer, and Dell?

    “On return rates of netbooks with that other OS… see Caitlyn Martin”

    Spare me. Ms. Martin is already biased towards Linux and her article is short on facts and long on supposition and quotes from people who agree with her position.

    You’d feel the same way if I supported my argument with an article from Ed Bott or Preston Gralla.

    So I won’t. I’ll link to a Linux bastion instead – Slashdot…

    Note the headline – “Netbook return rates much higher from Linux than Windows” [emphasis mine]

    http://linux.slashdot.org/story/08/10/05/123253/netbook-return-rates-much-higher-for-linux-than-windows

    And also;

    “We don’t know what the XP return rates are. But I will say that the return rate is above normal for netbooks that offer open-source operating systems” Gerry Carr, marketing manager at CANONICAL.

    “The return rate is at least four times higher for Linux netbooks than Windows XP netbooks.” MSI statement, unattributed.

    “Our internal research has shown that the return of netbooks is higher than regular notebooks, but the main cause of that is Linux.” Andy Tung, MSI.

    [in all cases, emphasis mine]

    And you can’t argue with the sales figures. Windows outsold Linux on netbooks EASILY.

    “Our Windows XP netbooks are outselling Linux machines by more than 9 to 1,” Henry Lee senior product manager – retail channel manager, Acer.

    http://appscout.pcmag.com/microsoft-windows/273814-windows-beating-linux-on-netbooks-by-a-big-margin

  19. Ted, all the major OEMs are officially “partners” of M$ and are forbidden to criticize M$ or recommend other OS. That’s why we see the inane, “recommend” “7” and such when if they want to sell a PC with that other OS it has to be that OS. That’s why we rarely ever see GNU/Linux and M$’s OS side by side offered on identical hardware so consumers can see the price they pay for that other OS. That’s why M$ has an NDA on everything… etc.

    The website is not the real world, Ted. It is only one portal to an OEM. One can pick up a phone and talk to a human who will do something to please the customer if it gets a sale.

  20. Ted says:

    “Ted wrote, more than once, “Linux is not an option.””

    I wrote it more than once, because I actually found it was the case more than once.

    For top-end Dell and Lenovo workstations, LINUX IS NOT AN OPTION ON THE WEBSITE. In each case, the only option for a pre-installed operating system was Windows.

    Don’t believe me? go to those sites and look for yourself.

  21. Ted wrote, more than once, “Linux is not an option.”

    Most OEMs will ship anyone a ton of PCs with GNU/Linux if requested. India got Lenovo to ship a bunch of Ubuntu GNU/Linux PCs even though Lenovo does not officially ship GNU/Linux.

  22. Ted wrote of GNU/Linux netbooks, “they were returned in droves.”

    No they weren’t. ASUS had no such problem.

    On return rates of netbooks with that other OS… see Caitlyn Martin

    On ASUS’ experience: “ASUS has found the return rates for the Linux and Windows models are similar”. see ASUS CEO Says Linux Netbook Returns On Par With Windows

    I converted a few netbooks from XP to GNU/Linux. I had no complaints. They worked better than XP.

    So, Ted is repeating a lie. Individual retailers may have had problems but then some retailers were selling really off-beat distros. Whether one is an individual, an organization or a retailer, one should shop around and make a reasonable choice. There were netbooks out there that deserved a better distro.

  23. Ted says:

    “Look what happened with netbooks when they were offered with GNU/Linux. They sold out.”

    Then look at what happened next – they were returned in droves.

    And Microsoft then released Windows XP for netbooks.

    Windows based netbooks went on to outsell Linux-based netbooks by (depending on who you believe) at least two to one and at most nine to one…

    Lets split it and be generous to Linux. It’s still FIVE TO ONE.

    Even SJVN admitted that the Linux netbook crashed and burned. He of course blames a Wintel and black helicopters conspiracy, but the admission is still there.

    In my opinion, the whole Linux on Netbook thing was just to twist Microsoft’s arm over the price of XP licenses.

  24. Ted says:

    “Yet all the majors still do for Workstations. In fact the Linux Workstations are the highest spec desktops you can buy from any OEM.”

    Dell – Precision T7600. Linux is not an option.

    Lenovo – ThinkStation D30. Linux is not an option.

    HP – Z820. Has Suse or Red Hat as an option, but isn’t actually installed. You only get a paper license and a “Linux installer kit”.

    I’d post links, but the spam filter would probably eat the post if I did.

    I’ll grant that there’s little to stop you installing whatever distro you like once you have the workstation under your desk, but for you to say the top-end workstations are Linux-only or even Linux-centric is false.

  25. oiaohm says:

    Viktor
    “Already, OEMs have realized that supporting Linux is a pain in the ass. Thus they gladly pay for a discounted Windows license.”

    Yet all the majors still do for Workstations. In fact the Linux Workstations are the highest spec desktops you can buy from any OEM. Lower end hardware for the masses has Windows has been this way for over 12 years. Also all the majors also make Android devices.

    Yes its not that OEM don’t support Linux its getting it onto the low end that has now become the middle ground between Android and GNU/Linux. Question is what one will consume the Middle.

  26. Viktor says:

    Soon, OEMs will realize the way to sell more notebooks and to increase margins on notebooks is to ship GNU/Linux, cutting out M$.

    Already, OEMs have realized that supporting Linux is a pain in the ass. Thus they gladly pay for a discounted Windows license.

  27. eug, writing of that other OS, wrote, “many/most users want it instead of linux”.

    I think most users want a computer, a PC, etc. and don’t care about the OS at all. That’s far from “want”. I have worked at places where staff hated the idea of going to “7” to the extent that going to GNU/Linux was much more reasonable. Give people a choice before deciding what they want. 50% of M$’s battle-plan is to exclude choice from the market, eliminating the possibility of 90% of users from making a choice. There are organizations and countries and regions where choice is available and users do choose GNU/Linux. Brazil, Malaysia, China, etc. all sell a lot of GNU/Linux PCs. The idea that ~1% of users have chosen GNU/Linux is wrong. The share is much larger than that. Look what happened with netbooks when they were offered with GNU/Linux. They sold out. Look what happened when smart thingies sold with Android/Linux, they overtook Apple’s stuff in months. People do choose */Linux, given a choice.

  28. eug says:

    I love linux,
    but windows (7, 8, …) is a MEME (virus of mind)
    and many/most users want it instead of linux.

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