Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 31st May 2009 10:44 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems Back when the whole netbook thing started, Asus was king of the hill with a focus on netbooks with Linux pre-installed. Since they were kind of popular, it didn't take Microsoft long to start working together with Asus to 'port' Windows XP to the Asus line of netbooks, and with that, to other netbooks as well. The result was that Linux netbooks are now harder to find for many people. While Dell committed itself to Linux on netbooks, Asus has decided to just skip the first date and jump right into bed with Microsoft.
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Liquidator
Member since:
2007-03-04

There are some geeks inside their linux bubble that are light years away from business realities. Companies, and especially cheap hardware vendors are in desperate need for cash, because their margins are so low, compared to their costs. They need to find ways to make money, it's vital to stay in business. Netbooks are definitely not cash cows like Apple products. And to make money, you have to offer what your customer wants. Most computer users want Windows, they don't want Linux, in spite of geeks wanting it to be the opposite. Microsoft charges very little money to OEMs for the Windows licenses on netbooks, and offering Windows increases sales, so it makes perfect sense. I'm not saying Windows is good or bad, I just say this is what most people want on their netbook. They don't want Linux. Offering a product an audience doesn't want goes against business common sense. If a small percentage of users want Linux, fine, they can buy a pristine netbook and install it themselves, or they can buy a Linux netbook, but it's a small insignificant percentage that's hardly interesting from a business standpoint. So advertising a netbook that has Windows and the applications the regular user expects is definitely enticing and leads to sales.

Reply Parent Score: 4

TheIdiotThatIsMe Member since:
2006-06-17

There are some geeks inside their linux bubble that are light years away from business realities.


Why do you say that? There are plenty of geeks that make money off of Linux, from major corporations such as Red Hat, to smaller vendors who do pre-installed desktop Linux such as System76. Why is it that people always insist that there is no money to be made with Linux?

Companies, and especially cheap hardware vendors are in desperate need for cash, because their margins are so low, compared to their costs. They need to find ways to make money, it's vital to stay in business. Netbooks are definitely not cash cows like Apple products.


I agree with you, but in the same end, that's the business model they chose, with high volume and low profits. Apple chose a different model, and have been very successful at it. One thing that could be tried is as more platforms become available (from ARM, VIA), to maybe shop around for a lower cost platform, and either undercut competition by a large margin to help increase volume, or undercut by a smaller margin to increase profit per unit.

And to make money, you have to offer what your customer wants. Most computer users want Windows, they don't want Linux, in spite of geeks wanting it to be the opposite.


It's important to remember why Linux is being preinstalled at all by any vendor. Customers wanted it. Dell began installing Ubuntu due to overwhelming response on Dell's Brainstorm. Also, if it's so obvious people want Windows and not Linux, then why is there a need to actually create an advertisement to tell us this?

IMO, I think Asus just hurt it's reputation and a (although maybe small) portion of it's supporters. It's stint with Linux lasted less time than Dell's. Than Dell. Think about that. Asus created a movement to at least offer an option for Linux on netbooks. Even HP and Dell offer this. Now they're offering less choice than their competition, using the same hardware platform, and they expect this to boost sales? Let's hope that light at the end of the tunnel doesn't turn in to a train...

Reply Parent Score: 9

Liquidator Member since:
2007-03-04

It's important to remember why Linux is being preinstalled at all by any vendor. Customers wanted it. Dell began installing Ubuntu due to overwhelming response on Dell's Brainstorm.


There is a need, but what about the ratio between customers who want Linux and those who want Windows? What about the proportion of those who want the Linux version to install a pirated version of Windows? I'm asking because the overall market share of Linux is around 1%, and I don't know why it would be different on the netbook market. People use what OS they feel more comfortable with, no matter if it's a desktop computer, a laptop, a netbook, etc... The overwhelming response on Dell's brainstorm is because a lot of geeks have rushed to have their voice heard.


Also, if it's so obvious people want Windows and not Linux, then why is there a need to actually create an advertisement to tell us this?



Because ASUS has burnt its wings with the poor Linux netbooks that Windows users didn't like that much. A communication campaign is necessary for ASUS to recover its brand image and for Windows users to know that ASUS has the right product for them.

Reply Parent Score: 2

mabhatter Member since:
2005-07-17

The bigger difference I see between Asus and HP/Dell is that Asus didn't really do any work for their Linux distro. They didn't use Xandros... they used a "free" derivative and payed some no-name company to support it far less than they paid for windows even after Microsoft lowered the price. Asus invested essentially nothing in the distro other than cheap stuff to throw on their cheap computers. The early units they didn't even bother to make sure all the hardware components worked properly..... that has nothing to do with "Linux" as the OEM is the one organization with the rights to write and release those drivers for linux and Asus choose not to polish up the drivers but to release a broken product.

Dell on the other hand is using Ubuntu.. from Canonical... and they're willing to choose the hardware that works properly (even if it means limited choices) before they ship something. They're paying the Linux company for actual support after the sale.

The real issue is that most OEM providers, especially the cheap ones, provide little to no driver configuration or end user support. In spite of the OEM license requirements that OEMs are supposed to SUPPORT Windows users, very few actually do. Most skate by with the default Windows Updates and letting users fend for themselves getting drivers from the chip makers like ATI or Nvidia or Broadcom directly. When it came to Linux netbooks they thought they could get away with "community" support instead of being a company that PAID for support and getting developers' hands dirty with fixing actual problems.. and it came back to bite them.

"Linux" isn't the problem.. the problem is cheap OEMs that can't handle making a functional product when it's not handed to them for free and they have to work at it. Most of the netbook OEMS shipped netbooks with missing drivers and non-working hardware in the Linux version and didn't seek out working versions (when often it existed, or required changes from the default configuration) or pay to write the drivers needed. It's squarely on OEMs that shipped broken systems, not on "Linux" no matter how badly OEMs want to wash their hands.

[edit]Put it another way: When the Linux Rumors first started on Eee Asus was rumored to be paying $5!! a copy for the Xandros knock-off. Then they got a "good deal" and rumor was knocked the Windows price down to $25 a copy... That's the whole problem in a nutshell. Why wasn't "linux" worth $20 a copy (for R&D and support) in the first place? They've sold upwards of a million units imagine $20 a copy for support in Canonical's hands... it would nearly double their income and provide funds to buy the drivers/support needed to do the product right.

Edited 2009-06-01 13:13 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

wanderingk88 Member since:
2008-06-26

And to make money, you have to offer what your customer wants. Most computer users want Windows, they don't want Linux, in spite of geeks wanting it to be the opposite.


Regular users don't want either Linux, Windows nor OS X. They just want a f--king computer.

Regular users mostly don't even know what Windows actually is, or have some vague idea about it being an OS (and most of them have no idea what an OS is).

People, PLEASE, get off your collective asses and realize that most people don't choose Windows nor Linux. They just buy things, sit down and expect them to work. It's not an unrealistic goal for any OS if you're sold an OEM-fitted PC, which is tuned to work out of the box. Of course, we also need to expect some work from the OEM (I'm looking at you, ASUS, for selling the EeePC with the lousy and poorly-supported Xandros, and making a rather poor effort at a good out-of-the-box experience).

People don't install Linux. People don't install Windows. People don't deal with drivers. People don't deal with hard drives or partitions. Those who do are getting into a great deal of effort--no matter the platform you're dealing with.

Reply Parent Score: 8

Liquidator Member since:
2007-03-04

Regular customers expect any computer to ship with Windows. That's for sure!

Reply Parent Score: 2

ngnr Member since:
2008-01-16

Some People does know what they want.

I have a friend who bought a hp-mininote and it came preloaded with SUSE. The netbook worked perfectly out of the box, but after a week he told me "i donĀ“t like this, can you put windows on it?"

So i installed windows XP via pen drive,and as someone else already said it was a total nightmare. and after the windows install it required 86458411811451+ drivers.

IMHO the point is that average Joe user does not want invest time to learn a new OS (and therefore a new set of apps) they just want to work with their usual tools.

Reply Parent Score: 1

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

they can buy a pristine netbook and install it themselves

And then they call me a pirate for using an "illegal" Windows copy, while I am forced to pay an MS tax on any notebook/netbook. I have had to buy a netbook with Windows preinstalled, while I use Ubuntu on it.
There are 2 companies that I pirate IN SPITE: Warner Music Group and Microsoft.

And at the bottom of it, it's not about promoting Windows('cause there is no need to promote Windows on netbooks), it's about "dumping" on Linux and others.

Reply Parent Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I'd like to see Asus drivers and utility software updated through a consolidated "update" function. I wouldn't mind it being a little better than the CPU/Mem/Temp monitor utility hanging my Windows system on shutdown. I'd like my Asus hardware to be better supported across platforms; easily done by allowing platforms to write in there own support.

In IT... it's been a very long time since anything was done because the customer wanted it.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Ki5IA Member since:
2009-06-04

Let's see if I got this right.

- People don't want GNU/Linux (nevermind the average netbook user doesn't even *know* about the underliing OS)

- People want Windows

- ASUS realizes this, and sets up a website to convince users that "It's better with Windows"

Right. Since customers want Windows, let's persuade them that Windows is better. Makes perfect sense.

The funny thing is that the tiny fraction of netbook customers who _really_ want Windows is almost entirely composed of people who want to run their old, heavyweight win32 apps (usually games) rather than generic productivity software. So when they finally get Windows, they're disappointed that a netbook doesn't come with the necessary resources to run those games.

Reply Parent Score: 1