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Hardware Build

Wal-Mart to Offer Components for DIY Computers 434

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-thats-kinda-neat dept.
FearTheFrail writes "Reuters reports that Wal-Mart is preparing to put "build your own computer counters" in 1200 of its 3200 stores, with plans to do so in at least 1400 by the end of the year. Maybe this will bring on an influx of new hardware enthusiasts, along with plenty of horror stories about attempted computer assembly. Do you think this will have an effect on the OEM parts market? And what about the operating systems to be offered? Will Wal-Mart shoppers migrate to Linux in order to save a hundred bucks or more, or will they even have the chance?"
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Wal-Mart to Offer Components for DIY Computers

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  • by Caeda (669118) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @05:20PM (#15257946)
    Walmart is going to sell Towers, Monitors, Keyboards, Mice, and Speakers seperately. Not the individule hardware pieces of the tower. Can't anyone read articles before posting them?
  • Seriously (Score:0, Informative)

    by Wisgary (799898) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @05:21PM (#15257957)
    Why is it that every Slashdot story that even remotely mentions the computer hardware market HAS to mention the whole "OMG... will they get to switch to Linux? MAYBE THIS IS THE MOMENT WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR." thing?

    I highly doubt Wal-Mart is going to be handing out free Ubuntu CD's with every purchase when they can profit from the Microsoft tax. I also highly doubt that Average Joe building his own PC for the first time will even want to fiddle with that penguin thing, if they have even heard of it. Average Joe wants the same thing he has at work, the same thing his friends have, the same thing his boss has, and doesn't want to worry about OpenOffice compatibility with that new fancy Office 2007 thing or even older versions of office.
  • Re:Irrelevant (Score:4, Informative)

    by Loligo (12021) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @05:44PM (#15258103) Homepage
    >I don't think you'll get a whole lot of hits on a
    >open source OS at the same place that has a gun
    >counter and offers hunting licenses.

    Eric would disagree.

    So would I.

      -l
    (former sys/net admin, drives a 4x4 with a gun rack (with at least one gun in it), hunts regularly)

  • Re:Bad Math (Score:3, Informative)

    by HFShadow (530449) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @05:47PM (#15258124)
    How is that bad math?

    3200 stores exist. 1200 stores are getting it now. 1400 will have it by the end of the year.

    seems clear enough to me, there isn't even any math involved!
  • by James_G (71902) <james@global m e g a c orp.org> on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @06:54PM (#15258613)
    Do you really think that every bulk purchasing or cheapo store has their own brand of, say, baby formula? Is it logical that they'd develop and sell their own version of every single generic item in their store? Of course not..

    What you're seeing is market segmentation. The companies which make the "branded" formula sell it under their brand at every possible location, and at full price, and then license it out to the people like Wal-Mart, Costco, Sam's Club, etc.. to sell as a generic, at a much lower price. Given the choice between not selling it at all at the full price to a section of the market, and selling it at a lower price, they're going to go for selling it at a lower price every time. You can read an interesting explanation of this technique in the context of software over here [joelonsoftware.com].

    The same is true for most of the "generic" items you're going to find at these stores. If you can get over the fact that you're not buying the branded item, you can save a boatload of money while not sacrificing quality one iota.

  • Re:Irrelevant (Score:2, Informative)

    by solafide (845228) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @07:48PM (#15258927) Homepage
    Not all open-source zealots are liberal Democrats or other things. I know personally, of my friends, 3 think Linux is cool, 1 is talking about trying it out on some old computers lying around, 1 has been on Linux longer than I have, and the rest couldn't care about anything I say about computers. How many of these are "gun-toters"? All of them, me included. How many are good, sane, ethical hunters? All of them who hunt.

    Some more conservative people than the neocons in office now are concerned about loss of privacy too. Thus we like open-source when we know about it. Some of us are also against other things Liberals are against,like animal abuse (which is not hunting, it's factory farming), we just disagree on what constitutes such things.

  • Re:How odd... (Score:5, Informative)

    by gfxguy (98788) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @08:10PM (#15259030)
    The only store that they closed, was one in Quebec. They said that it was no longer profitable. The real reason is that people were able to start a union in that aparticualr store. Doesnt that seem odd?

    In defense of WalMart, it is certainly quite possible that the workers becoming unionized and demanding more could make a store not profitable. It's debateably what is causing the headaches some of our domestic auto producers are having.

    Meanwhile, my Honda was built by Americans in East Liberty Ohio by non-unionized workers. It's better quality, higher resale value, more dependable then the Ford built in Mexico, and the Honda workers are better paid and quite happy. Just a mini-rant against unions... I simply don't think they serve a purpose anymore.

    Besides, WalMart is obligated to no one to even give a reason for closing a store. What difference would it make if they simply came out and said "we didn't want a store with a union?"

    That said, in offense of WalMart, the problem I have is they sell inferior products. Even the brand names often make lower quality products to satisfy WalMart's price demands or risk getting locked out of the largest retailer in the country. As an example, Sears sells Levi Strauss jeans, but WalMart sells Levi Strauss "Signature Series". An unsuspecting customer might think he's getting the same product for less... or hey! "Signature Series!" Maybe it's even better! But those jeans are lower quality for volume retailers like WalMart.

    Every once in a while Sam's Club will have $25 Rebocks. For some reason they don't last as long as the $35 pair I got at the Rebock outlet store... about half as long.

    Electronics are the same way.

    Yes, some of the products are the same thing, and might sell for cheaper, but they are subsidized by all the lower priced crap that is actually making Walmart a larger profit. I am a member of Sam's club, and bought several cheap HP PSC printers there... they all broke or were not functioning 100% correctly within a year after purchase. I only have one left and it won't scan anymore. So I spent twice as much on a Cannon printer from Newegg that's been running great. From now on, at Sam's, I will stick to things where quality either doesn't matter, or when I know it to be a like product.. things like books and PS2 games.

    So I have a feeling we'll be seeing the same thing. A DVD ROM drive that only works until the warranty expires, cheap fans that will give out before a year is up (possibly ruining other components). Repackaged IBM "Deathstar" drives WalMart got for next to nothing. Power supplies that will cause major headaches when the user can't figure out why his computer randomly locks up.

    And like many others what I've noticed is that, for many things, buying the more expensive product saves you money in the long run... so WalMart really is taking advantage of the people who don't know any better.
  • by onecaribou (209126) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @08:10PM (#15259031) Homepage
    You'd be surprised at all the items Walmart loses money on. During my first job/Wal-Mart experience (setting up the token ring network at a new store) I learned they lose money on cigarettes, diapers, formula and many of the promotions people tend to stampede over.

    Just watch.. Walmart will help kill of the remining local mom and pops too. Take a look what Best Buy, Circuit City and Comp USA have done so far. Locally we lost 2 great mom and pop shops within couple years of the big box stores arriving.
  • Re:How odd... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @08:20PM (#15259086)
    Only a million? Phht, that's pathetic. I work at a store that runs $120 million in sales per year, and we are only "in the top 20". Oh, and I am a "North-American" worker, and have no problems with the treatment. (Actually, I think I am treated pretty well, and I am only an hourly associate). Sheesh, everybody complains how badly Wal-Mart Associates are treated. I'll let you in on a secret, they aren't holding a gun to my head. If I wanted to quit, I could.
  • DIDN'T ANYONE RTFA? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Ritchie70 (860516) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @09:14PM (#15259372) Journal
    The summary is bogus. As far as I can tell from the article, all they're doing is unbundling the monitors (and possibly keyboards and mice) from the computer.
  • by k_187 (61692) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @11:35PM (#15259992) Journal
    since there's nothing to indicate you're being sarcastic, there are wal-mart gas stations at some wal-marts and Sam's clubs. I think they're outsourced to somebody else, but they are branded as wal-mart.
  • by lasindi (770329) on Thursday May 04, 2006 @03:26AM (#15260630) Homepage
    The summary is bogus. As far as I can tell from the article, all they're doing is unbundling the monitors (and possibly keyboards and mice) from the computer.

    Yup, it looks like that's exactly what's happening. From TFA: "Such components include central processing units -- the brain of the computer that powers its basic functions -- as well as monitors, keyboards and mice that customers can combine to create customized packages they can load in a shopping cart and take home right away." So, I guess what the rest of the world calls a "computer" is a "central processing unit" according to Yahoo. How disappointing. "Do it yourself" has been reduced to "buy the keyboard yourself."
  • Re:Wow! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 04, 2006 @07:41AM (#15261337)
    I work for the beast you speak of, and I have to tell you I get all of the above. Granted, I'm a single male, so don't have a family to support, or insure, but it also has it's disadvantages. I work 40 hrs a week, maybe less if I take a long lunch or two. I don't get to take extra days off for family events, go home early to get the kids ready for school, call in because the spouse is sick, etc. I don't begrudge my coworkers the fact that they do, but my situation allows me to live, comfortably, save some money, and explore management opportunities in my store.

    Do I plan on working for them for the next 40 years? Doubtful, but the people who have been there for a while, put in the years and taken the "at expectations" raises are now making a decent wage. Are they wealthy? Not by any means, but they are working a service/labor job and being decently compensated for it.

Business is a good game -- lots of competition and minimum of rules. You keep score with money. -- Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari

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