Dell Fails to Deliver

I was one of the many who applauded Dell's attempt to engage with its users through its Ideastorm site. I was (obviously) particularly pleased when Dell responded to the massive demand for systems running GNU/Linux. Indeed, I suggested elsewhere that we all rush out and buy such a system when it came out to support such welcome moves. In fact, I am on the brink of doing just that, but I may not follow through as a result of what amounts to a serious betrayal of all those open source users by Dell with the launch of its new Ubuntu laptop, the Inspiron 1525.

For an GNU/Linux system with an Intel Pentium Dual Core Processor T2330, one year hardware warranty, 15.4” WXGA LCD, 1024M RAM, 120Gbyte hard drive, and four-cell battery, the cost is £379, including VAT and shipping. A fair price, you might think. Except that system identical in every respect, but running Windows Vista, the cost is £398.99, which is bad enough, since the price differential is a risible £20. Worse, Dell is offering a £39.99 discount, bringing the price down to £359, - which is actually *less* than the GNU/Linux system.

This is a real slap in the face for all those open source users who believed in Dell's good faith. There can be no justification for an Ubuntu system being more expensive than one running Windows Vista. This seems to indicate that Dell is giving little more than lip service to the idea of selling people what they want. Or rather, it is happy to give them what they want and then exploit their good will by charging exorbitant prices.


Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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