What does the recent run on Wal-mart's $200 mean, to Microsoft,
and to the PC universe in general?
Simply selling out of a product quickly doesn't testify to the
product's quality or goodness. Wal-mart's recent sale of PCs loaded
with a customized Linux for $200 each was probably a price for many
households too good to not try. The litmus test comes
after the purchase, and based on Wal-mart customer reviews on the Wal-mart web
site this machine gets a solid thumbs up.
This is good news for Linux. Each interation for the Linux desktop
delivers a more seamless platform, now apparently, good enough for the
masses. It comes with tools necessary for what people need: word
processing; spreadsheets; internet; and e-mail. To get a similarly
loaded Microsoft (Vista) machine (beefed up to handle the processor hungry
Microsoft versions of its applications) would require a minimum of
You would think this is bad news for Microsoft. It isn't.
Microsoft is too big, and too far ahead to care. They should care.
Instead, they continue to put out their notion of what users
want, increasingly complex and resource heavy applications, expensive
and unwieldy. They claim their software is simple and intuitive.
Anecdotal experience and reviews say no.
Now, Wal-mart has seeded the market with a computer that "just
works", much like Macs, but at a fraction of the price. With its price
advantage over Apple, and Microsoft's new Vista foundering, this is an
opportunity, maybe the beginning of a tipping point for Linux. It's a
modest but encouraging start. Linux users, take heart! Microsoft,