Every now and then, Linux users get outraged because Dell prices the base model of Ubuntu cheaper than the base model of Windows, but when you match the specs of the two computers, Windows ends up being cheaper. This happened for the Dell Mini 9s when they first came out, for example.
What I’ve noticed is a cycle of Dell pricing Ubuntu cheaper and then offering some kind of promotional discount that makes Windows cheaper. The Linux community complains, and then Dell adjusts the pricing. I created an IdeaStorm idea called Implement a system by which Ubuntu systems automatically get promotional discounts their Windows counterparts get, but it got only 19 votes. No word from Dell on that.
The only official word from Dell on pricing is another IdeaStorm idea (Implemented: Ubuntu Dell is Le$$ Than Windows Dell) that was marked as implemented back in 2007 and that obviously has gone from implemented to unimplemented and back again. A Dell representative wrote on March 24, 2007:
Changed status to **IMPLEMENTED**.
On average, comparably configured Ubuntu systems will be about $50 less than Windows systems.
Well, I’m not sure if they’re going to make this suddenly in favor of Windows again, but I did a price comparison on the Dell Inspiron 15 (Windows Vista) and the Dell Inspiron 15n (Ubuntu Intrepid) today, and Ubuntu is more than US$200 cheaper.
See screenshots for more details:
(American? I haven’t checked the other Dell sites yet) Linux users complaining about pricing? Get them while they’re still hot!
What’s probably going on is that Dell receives input from us regarding this sort of situation, and they sheepishly bring their prices back to economic sense.
Then comes “input” from Microsoft in the form of “suggestions” on how to comparatively price their offerings, and they flip-flop, confusing their customer base and making themselves look bad.
And so it repeats. Microsoft does NOT like to be underpriced and out-competed… They are, after all, the 800-pound gorilla in the PC marketplace. They can and do tell their distributors what to do (and have been sued for this sort of thing in the past).
But again, it’s simple economics: A poor excuse for a wanna-be operating system for an extra $200 or so, versus a superior operating system for no additional cost. How is Microsoft going to compete with that?