Skip to comments.Wal-Mart Ends Test of Linux in Stores: Not What Customers Sought
Posted on 03/10/2008 10:06:24 PM PDT by HAL9000
NEW YORK (AP) -- Computers that run the Linux operating system instead of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows didn't attract enough attention from Wal-Mart customers, and the chain has stopped selling them in stores, a spokeswoman said Monday.
"This really wasn't what our customers were looking for," said Wal-Mart Stores Inc. spokeswoman Melissa O'Brien.
To test demand for systems with the open-source operating system, Wal-Mart stocked the $199 "Green gPC," made by Everex of Taiwan, in about 600 stores starting late in October.
Walmart.com, the chain's e-commerce site, had sold Linux-based computers before and will continue selling the gPC.
This was the first time they appeared on retail shelves.
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(Excerpt) Read more at biz.yahoo.com ...
I suspect that Microsoft gave Wal Mart a helluva deal on its Vista system in exchange for an exclusive contract.
And I bet most of 'em came back to the "Customer Returns" counter in about a week. I can just see Bubba picking up that cheap PC, then going home and trying to install that copy of MS Office 97 he's still got lying around. Probably didn't even know it was Linux, I bet Bubba said "Boy that Vista looks different..."
Linux just doesn't seem to fit with Wal-Mart.
There is no way Walmart made a big profit on a $199 machines compare to Vista ones. I bet that is the real reason.
They would have done much better with a higher quality PC with a more mainstream version of Linux, like Ubuntu, preloaded. gOS is a strange version of Linux and the machine was far too underpowered for most purposes.
Inexperienced computer owners typically buy solely on price and are disappointed when their cheap PC doesn’t do what they want.
Out of the 82 systems the local Walmart got, 5 were returned, all for the same problem - power supply.
Off, I was never able to find one considering that every wal mart store was SOLD OUT.
gOS is based on Ubuntu,...uses different window manager than KDE or Gnome...name is Enlightenment....
Apparently they still sell them online to the crowd that can really use Linux day to day. I don’t think linux is ready to serve the walmart crowd yet. It takes some effort to manage the Linux experience.
DING DING DING DING - We have a winner!!!!
If they included Crossover with it, Bubba would have just seen Office 97 install and work just fine.
I bet the real reason is because Microsoft pushed some legal buttons and WalMart wasn’t going to go to court over $199 computers.
That aint' too bad for a $199 PC. That being the case, I wonder if the other 77 PCs actually ended up being used.
OSes are like political parties. There are two that people know about, one is really liberal, one is somewhat conservative, and 99% of the public don't realize or care that there are others besides the big two.
Acutally, it would be a pretty fair fight. And unlike Microsoft, Wal-Mart isn't facing competition from free versions of it's products. I'd suspect you're right; PCs just don't make up enough of Wal-Mart's business for them to bother with.
I suspect that after a couple of weeks, at least some of the cheap Linux PCs end up as hosts for old/second copies of Win98 or Win2000. Those older OSes run like a bat outta hell on newer hardware, even bottom-feeder hardware. As long as you can find drivers.
That's not to downplay Linux, just saying that some folks might experiment with Linux and then revert to Windows.
ShadowAce: Tech ping?
"What's all this talk I hear about Charley Brown's friend Linus not being welcome at WalMart? That is totally unfair and ..what's that? Linux not Linus? Well that's different. Nevermind."
**I'm** the Walmart crowd and if I'd known I could have gotten a native-Linux machine there for that pittance I'd have pounced on it. I can replace a power supply.
Thanks! I need a new pc, want to switch to Linux, and haven’t had time to do any research.
Perhaps, (and I loved my Win2k) but its becoming increasingly difficult to safely use either of those two anywhere near the net, especially '98.
That’s a brilliant observation, absolutely right on.
LOL! :D....a classic response.
I use XP far more than I do Ubuntu. Ubuntu takes some getting used to if you go beyond the desktop environment. I use it when I just want to surf. For all my daily tasks, I'm happy with XP.
You can still get XP on new PC's through Dell online, and Best Buy online Best Buy For Business. That's a better choice than going Vista, fer sure.
You have to admit that arguing that the product was pulled because it sold so well that it couldn't be kept in stock is a bit of a stretch.
Customers would rather have computers with Vista? ROFL!
Yep, any Windows based system is going to serve the basic software needs of the average low-end user much better than Linux. Geeks (and I am one) never quite understand how much different their computer needs are from the rest of the average users.
Yeah dat. At least in Sillycon Valley.
Good catch, Ernie!
Well, I think it’s a software issue. Most people want to have their windows software. They’re used to it, and don’t want to change-cause that means they have to learn something. Too much work, not enough time, and they don’t understand it.
I saw a quote on an automotive website yesterday that said nearly 90% of Americans, below the age of 40, don’t know how to drive a standard transmission. In fact, the author said people asked what’s a standard? LOL
Sears sells confusers? I’ve never seen them there. Course in my local store, the tool department has a door direct to the outside, and I try never to venture deeper into the store than that anyway! LOL
If you’re well firewalled, you should be fine. I still have one Win2k box in my home network (primarily used for net access), and it never catches anything. The person who uses it doesn’t get an admin account, and I have Zone Alarm and AVG running local as well as the firewalling from the router. Seems to be perfectly adequate.
Exactly. That means the price is below the market clearing price and they're giving away profit. They should raise the price to 219.99 and if the situation persists, raise it again to 229.99. If it gets to the point where they're making more profit per unit shelf space than from other stuff, give the PC's some of the shelf space from the other stuff.
Actually what it means is that shelf space is expensive. A $50 MP3 player has around a 30% profit margin. You can stock 500 MP3 players in the space that one computer system takes up. A computer system has razor thin margins. It's not profitable to stock them on the shelf at your local Wally's.
Note that they still sell them on-line. Well, when they aren't sold out.
That’s essentially what I said. If they can’t keep them on the shelf, the price is lower than it could be without affecting unit sales, so they should raise the price a little and see if demand slows down to meet supply.
When they raise the price, they will get a better margin on the item in question. If the process goes so far that margin/ft shelf is better for the item than the one next to it, adjust the shelf allocation a little.
Your comment takes into account the reality of computer sales, I was just pointing out some general rules that apply to anything which they were apparently failing to follow.
The rules are a bit different for computers. The sales channel is predominantly online. You can generally only make money with a brick-and-mortar computer store if you offer something other than just the machine. Most mom-and-pop computer stores sell with 2-3% margins and still make most of their money off of de-virusing and de-spywaring Windows computers.
Wal-Mart doesn't offer anything other than the machine. If they raise the price people will just go elsewhere. Keeping machines on the shelf is a losing proposition regardless of the markup.
Go here to see some screen shots:
I have to say quite honestly as one who has used for PCs since 1985 in the old DOS days that going to Linux is a step backwards. For all the brickbats thrown the way of Vista, I have been using it for four months with no problems. I had to be dragged kicking and screaming from DOS to Windows 3.1 which I hated but as it has progressed I would never go back. For the average non technical user, Linux is just not ready for prime time although it is to be applauded for offering a free alternative.
When was the last time you tried Linux?
“When was the last time you tried Linux?”
About four months ago. That’s what caused me to move up to new Vista machines. I sold my four year old XP machines and purchased new Vista machines for almost the same as the old ones. The laptop is new, however. I have three machines, all equipped with Vista Home Premium. It is my understanding that Vista Home Basic is essentially a reskinned XP.
I had a dual boot machine of Ubuntu and XP but after working with it for about two weeks I couldn’t see the upside and believed then as I do now that Vista was the future anyway so why wait? I haven’t been disappointed and pleasantly surprised at how seamless it has been. I think it is better than XP or I wouldn’t have changed.
You and I must have quite different needs, then. I find Windows to just get in my way when I’m trying to work, while Linux allows me to work on what I need to get accomplished.
I would agree. That's exactly the configuration I had on my mother's system before she switched over to Linux.
The point is that with a Linux box, which is whats being referred to here, you don't have to do any of that stuff (ok, the routers always a good idea) for a great net access, word processing device. Hence, there's nothing to gain by formatting the device to put an old version of Windows on it.
I spend most of my time on the internet and other work requiring its use. Of course I did my income taxes using Vista the other day and it worked fine. I can’t imagine why you would need an old operating system but each to his own.
Wait, just so I'm clear. You're calling Linux "an old operating system"?