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Wal-Mart drops Linux PC line

Wal-Mart drops Linux PC line

The bargain-basement Green PC will no longer be available in Wal-Mart stores, despite selling out nationwide.

If you're a fan of cheap PCs running open-source software, then you'll be dismayed to hear that giant retail chain Wal-Mart's experiment with the penguin side of computing has ended in the most successful failure I've ever seen.

The supermarket behemoth started stocking Everex's Green PCs in October. Although the specifications weren't anything to write home about, the PCs were supplied running Linux and OpenOffice.org for a bargain-basement $198. Despite selling the entire original run of PCs, Wal-Mart has opted out of the deal and will not be giving shelf space to the cheap desktops any longer.

A spokesman for the company told the Associated Press that the cheap open-source based computers weren't “what our customers were looking for.” The cynic in me says that might have something to do with the shelf-space each Wal-Mart store dedicates to relatively high-margin commercial software which is available almost exclusively for Microsoft Windows. The Linux-based PCs could well be seen as cutting in to that valuable revenue source.

The news isn't all bad, with the chain pledging to continue selling the Green PC via their website alongside Everex's ultraportable Cloudbook sub-notebook.

The main selling point for the Green PC – aside from its low cost – is the all-in-one open-source design that means it's ready to do most common tasks right out of the box. This stands in stark contrast to an average PC running Microsoft Windows, which requires the purchase of the Microsoft Office suite to make it complete. While I see an advantage – I can't count the number of times I've had to tell friends and family that no, Word is not part of Windows – it's clear that Wal-Mart sees a liability, and it would much prefer to keep to its current scheme of encouraging purchasers into additional high-margin software products to bolster their bottom line: something which isn't really possible with a Linux-based computer.

Do you see this as further proof that Linux just isn't ready for mainstream use, or an indicator that the happy-go-lucky world of open-source and the cut-and-thrust commercialism of the Borg of the supermarket world will never mesh? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

9 Comments

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rjkoneill 13th March 2008, 09:28 Quote
that was enevitable

i just goggled the everex website and they offer some interesting products

i especially like the idea of the cloudbook

possible eee beater?

get more specs of this and ship it over to europe! now!
rjkoneill 13th March 2008, 09:31 Quote
just read - 30gb hard drive on their cloudbook...
steveo_mcg 13th March 2008, 09:34 Quote
They still sell it on there web sites, and if wall mart is anything like Asda and Tesco then they willl change there line up all the time. Run up to christmas what does every child want ahh a cheap pc, what do the supermarkets sell....
rjkoneill 13th March 2008, 09:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo_mcg
what does every child want ahh a cheap pc

when i was young - i wanted an expensive pc!
DXR_13KE 13th March 2008, 09:40 Quote
proxess will be sad... as i am.... wal-mart is the biggest shop you have right? if they were to help linux grow, it would be awesome.
badders 13th March 2008, 10:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo_mcg
if wall mart is anything like Asda

If I recall correctly, they're very much like Asda.

Well, they own them, I think.
HourBeforeDawn 13th March 2008, 14:36 Quote
makes sense to me to drop Linux, look at the major focus group that is made up of Wal Mart shoppers and most of them barely know where the power button is on a computer to begin with, something like this would only confuse them....
pendragon 13th March 2008, 17:37 Quote
that's too bad :( ..i think it was good thing for them to be offering the consumer greater choice.. ..at least you can buy it on the web still.. oh well
Cthippo 13th March 2008, 19:14 Quote
TBH, I'm surprised they sold as well as they did. The fact that they sold out of the first run and are making this decision because they want to sell more software rather than because of customer complaints tells me that linux is indeed ready for the mainstream! FOSS has arrived, FOSS is ready, now we just need to foind a business model that works for retailers to get it out into the market.
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