Guaranteeing "no demand" through poor products
Posted Feb 1, 2013 21:42 UTC (Fri) by pboddie
In reply to: Guaranteeing "no demand" through poor products
Parent article: LCA: The future of the Linux desktop
I don't see where your make it as unattractive as possible so that people won't buy it, and then point to the lack of interest in the product as a "justification" of the strategy of not offering it in the first place idea comes from.
I'm being quoted there so I'll respond to that. By unattractive I mean offer a token product at the low-end (presumably because Linux users are cheapskates or poor or something) so that when people look at the specification and realise that it's not very attractive as a product - the screen isn't very big, or there's less memory, or the CPU has half the number of cores, or whatever, compared to the next model up in the range - they then mumble about it not meeting their needs or expectations and then go and buy the next (or next but one) model up, wipe the disk, and install Linux on it themselves. Result: one Windows sale, no Linux sale.
Why would a company offer something unattractive - an "economy" model - instead of something else? That's the interesting question. It's not necessarily the case that the more expensive computer costs more for them to put Linux onto it and roll it out as a separate product, so you can't claim that the token Linux product at the low-end is dipping a toe in the water whereas a token mid-range or high-end Linux product would be sticking their whole leg in the water, especially since some of these vendors ship Linux on their workstation and server offerings already.
Why would a company use the lack of a response from customers as justification of a lack of Linux products? I would imagine that there's a continuous stream of requests and enquiries on sites like Dell's IdeaStorm (or whatever it's called) as well as from random customers. Doing nothing doesn't look very good, and doing just a bit more than nothing is the next best thing and looks a whole lot better. Result: "people don't buy these things when we offer them, but we will continue to review demand going forward" plus business as usual.
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