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In Australia, XP Cheaper Than Linux On Eee 900 319

Posted by timothy
from the money-changes-everything dept.
KrispyDollars writes "It sounds crazy to say this, but the XP-based version of the Eee PC 900 (the new version with the 8.9" screen) will actually be considerably cheaper than the Linux-based version. At the official launch today, the company told journalists that 'Microsoft has been a longstanding supporter of Asus' to explain the price discrepancy. And — get this — only the XP-based machine will be sold at mass-market retailers, while the Linux-based model will be consigned to computer stores."
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In Australia, XP Cheaper Than Linux On Eee 900

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Thursday May 08, 2008 @09:55AM (#23336802) Journal

    At the official launch today, the company told journalists that 'Microsoft has been a longstanding supporter of Asus' to explain the price discrepancy.
    It might also be nice to quote the prices ($600 Vs $650) and the physical discriminator which is (and this is from TFA): "the XP model has just 12GB of storage, while the Linux version has 20GB."

    I'm pretty sure the only reason the pricing is different is due to the storage factor. I've suspected for quite sometime that Microsoft basically gives away XP & MS Works with Dell computers and now that the price of hardware is dropping, they're going to have to. Works is a real piece of work, FYI ... my signature heavily applies to that software in this case.

    Is it ok to chastise Asus for denying customers the choice of OS independent of HDD size? Yes.

    Is it ok to go on a rant about Microsoft's hidden costs? Definitely, in fact I'm sure there's going to be a few +5 insightfuls with that theme.

    Is it ok to wig out and claim that Microsoft is cutting deals with Asus to insure the downfall of Linux? No. You're wasting your time--spend it more constructively coding open source or lobbying for your company to use open source.

    Asus is free to do as they please and if Microsoft thinks it's a good business move, let them. The funny thing about open source is that you don't have to promote it to end users. It's slowly and steadily being adopted. The end state is open source for everyone everywhere; it's unavoidable; it's just a question of when it happens (and no, I'm not going to personify software or data as 'wanting' to be free because it's about what improves the community not what software 'wants'). As long as Microsoft isn't doing something shady to keep Linux out of the Enterprise, they can do whatever they want. I don't even know how they could do that. If you look at the trends, whatever is adopted by the Enterprise is usually adopted by the single consumer in due time. DoD is starting to mandate open source also.

    Ubuntu 8.04 was a marked improvement over 7.10. Aero was on par with XP. Microsoft has parked themselves at the head of the pack and are now relying on Business and Marketing to promote a Technology. It's a good sign of bad times for Microsoft.

    So why is everyone fretting? Just sit back and enjoy the ride.

    Please, don't be one of those guys who preach about open source in a RMS religious zealot style to end users who just want their goddamn iPod to work on their home machine (Oh, by the way, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my shuffle Just Worked when I attached it to Ubuntu 8.04). You're doing more harm than good.
    • by Se7enLC (714730) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @09:59AM (#23336858) Homepage Journal
      It's kind of fun in a way. There will be two models: The cheap model for windows users, and the luxury model for linux users :-)
      • by courteaudotbiz (1191083) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:39AM (#23337362) Homepage
        It's just like Linksys have done with its WRT54G series...

        If you want to buy a cheapo WRT54Gv5 version of the wireless router, you get it packed with VxWorks, some kind of crappy and proprietary OS installed in DLink routers. If you want to have a stable and reliable router, you go with the WRT54GL (L for Linux), which is the "deluxe" Linux version.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Just don't get it confused with WRT54GLA. That version sucks.
        • by Poltras (680608) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:59AM (#23337696) Homepage
          I sincerely wouldn't call VxWorks crappy... for instance, it's the only OS to have left the earth, which is something. For one who have worked with VxWorks, I can only say that it is so modular and low-level that the end result is as crappy as you want it to be, but not as VxWorks have made you crap it. You have to admit that Linksys crapped the Linux base version (without hacking) too ;)
          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08, 2008 @11:29AM (#23338194)
            it's the only OS to have left the earth,

            Wrong, you fail it



            Linux Out of the Real World
            July 1st, 1997 by Sebastian Kuzminsky in

                    * Industry News

            Debian Linux has taken flight aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia.
          • by ArhcAngel (247594)
            it is so modular and low-level that the end result is as crappy as you want it to be, but not as VxWorks have made you crap it.

            Say Wha?!
            • by Poltras (680608) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @12:40PM (#23339224) Homepage

              it is so modular and low-level that the end result is as crappy as you want it to be, but not as VxWorks have made you crap it.

              Say Wha?!

              Client: "Hey, I wanna make a car"
              VxWorks: "Okay. Here's lego blocks. They are certified and been used by thousands of high-profile companies before you, so they are guaranteed a high level of quality."
              Client: "Hey, I've done my car, but it's crappy"

              Whose fault is it?

              (( PS: if you're talking about my english, I think it is correct, though it's not my native tongue ))

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bill_kress (99356)
            Where do you get that stat about the only OS in space? I heard the space station had windows laptops since the late 90's (I may have the date wrong, but I definitely remember the OS--I was kind of horrified).

            And also, Their space-suits, calculators, independent experiments, solar collectors, cameras, doors, lights, walls--hell I wouldn't be surprised if the air on the space-station had its own OS. Isn't everything computerized these days?

            I'm guessing either you got the telling of the story slightly wrong
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by sconeu (64226)
          Because VxWorks is so crappy, it's flight-certifiable.
    • by gnutoo (1154137) * on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:05AM (#23336932) Journal

      Perhaps, without Microsoft interference, Asus would have a $400 12 GB model and a $500 20 GB model. That would more closely match the US prices and falling hardware prices.

    • by Lonewolf666 (259450) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:11AM (#23337006)
      So the Linux version has 8 GByte of flash disk more and costs $50 more? Even with today's hardware prices, the Linux version seems like the better deal to me.

      If only the XP version is available at "mass-market retailers", that is a bit suspicious but understandable. Users with little experience may be better off if a salesperson explains the difference to them. Competent salespersons tend to be rare at supermarkets.

      Overall, I don't see much evidence of shady deals here.
      • by tixxit (1107127) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:49AM (#23337538)
        Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head. Asus is protecting themselves by only giving the XP version at superstores. Otherwise, they'd have a bunch of confused users wondering why they can't run iTunes on their new computer.
        • And yet... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Rob Y. (110975) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @02:09PM (#23340706)
          And yet, they've been selling the old Linux-only one without apparent confusion for many months now...

          I guess if they're positioning this thing as a traditional laptop, it makes sense to be concerned about people's expectations. But I thought the Eee was marketed as an internet appliance that you shouldn't expect to be able to run iTunes on. And the limited capacity (especially of the XP model) leaves little room for big apps like iTunes.

          If you ask me, the price point has moved beyond the old, cheap, impulse buy model. It's certainly a better deal than a Mac Air, but Asus is starting to confuse the new category they helped define. And maybe that's by design. Lots of attention and hype. Now they're trying to redirect it toward their higher-margin offerings.

          Still doesn't justify charging more to leave off Windows. Anti-trust enforcement is a joke.
    • by mhall119 (1035984) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:54AM (#23337602) Homepage Journal

      Please, don't be one of those guys who preach about open source in a RMS religious zealot style to end users who just want their goddamn iPod to work on their home machine
      There are 3 ways to make things "Just Work":

      1.(The Apple way) Be able to control everything, from the metal to the display. If you can make everything the way you want it to be, you can make things work by design.

      2. (The Microsoft way) Be able to contol everyone, from the hardware manufacturers to the software developers. If you can make everybody make things the way you want them to be, you can make things work by fiat.

      3. (The F/OSS way) Be able to know everything, from the hardware registers to the software code. If you know everything about the components you use, you can make things work by hacking.

      The reason RMS is so adamant about making things free is because we, as end users, have no other way to make them work for us.
      • Sorry, but they just don't:

        1. The "Apple Way"--where Apple controls it all, is the most likely way for casual users to get a "just works" experience, but even that isn't perfect or seamless. Case in point: My wife's MacBook has trouble staying connected to the wireless access point... that's located 15 feet away. And there's nothing I can do about it, because Apple controls it all.

        2. The "Microsoft Way"--the "make things work by fiat" idea is indeed what Microsoft wishes for, but anyone who has dealt with d
        • by mhall119 (1035984) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @11:51AM (#23338510) Homepage Journal
          I wasn't trying to claim that any of the three approaches succeeded in making everything "Just Work", I was just illustrating the only three ways it would be possible. Each of the three fails due to a lack in some portion of the implementation.

          1.) Either the access point isn't an Apple product, and thereby outside of their control, or there really is a problem in their wifi implementation, which is a failure to adhere to their approach, not a failure of their approach in general.

          2.) Microsoft's hegemony isn't universal, and it is certainly not omnipotent. They can get most people to follow their rules, but even those that choose to will not always follow all of the rules, or follow them properly. Again, this is because they don't control everyone, which is a failure to fully implement the approach, not a failure of the approach itself.

          3.) You're quite right that not every user wants to hack their system to make it work. The F/OSS implementation is to provide enough users who can and do hack their systems to make it work, and having those users share the fruits of their labor with the rest of the community. Ideally, the manufacturers of hardware and developers of software would become a part of that community, and therefore they would be the "geeks", spreading the use of their product would be their "itch", and the hacking would be done by them to the benefit of their users. Again, the implementation of this approach is not universal, and so it doesn't make everything "Just Work".

          There may be other approaches that I've not thought about, but if any of these three were to be successfully implemented, then they could make everything "Just Work". As it is, some organizations have produced various incarnations of these approaches with mixed levels of success, with Apple coming the closest to realizing the ideal of their chosen approach.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Chandon Seldon (43083)

          despite the fanatical rantings of RMS and other drinkers of the Koolaid, most people who are using computers aren't going to be able to "hack the code" even if all the specification are open and all the necessary information is available.

          I don't care if Joe Random Guy can hack the code. There are six billion people in the world - the bet is that *someone* will be willing to hack and share. In practice, that's usually a good bet.

    • by Col. Klink (retired) (11632) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:59AM (#23337694)
      > I've suspected for quite sometime that Microsoft basically gives away XP & MS Works with Dell computers ... Microsoft doesn't "give." Here's what they did prior to their conviction as a monopolist (from the United States vs Microsoft findings of facts):

      Page 29:

      One of the ways Microsoft combats piracy is by advising OEMs that they will be charged a higher price for Windows unless they drastically limit the number of PCs that they sell without an operating system pre-installed.
      Page 33:

      An aspect of Microsoft's pricing behavior that, while not tending to prove monopoly power, is consistent with it is the fact that the firm charges different OEMs different prices for Windows, depending on the degree to which the individual OEMs comply with Microsoft's wishes. Among the five largest OEMs, Gateway and IBM, which in various ways have resisted Microsoft's efforts to enlist them in its efforts to preserve the applications barrier to entry, pay higher prices than Compaq, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard, which have pursued less contentious relationships with Microsoft.
      Page 34:

      For example, Microsoft attaches to a Windows license conditions that restrict the ability of OEMs to promote software that Microsoft believes could weaken the applications barrier to entry. ... In addition, Microsoft charges a lower price to OEMs who agree to ship all but a minute fraction of their machines with an operating system preinstalled.
      I don't know how much has changed since their conviction, but I would assume that, even if they aren't allowed to do exactly that anymore, they've just found workarounds to achieve the same results (as evidenced here).
    • by francisstp (1137345) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @11:01AM (#23337722) Homepage

      As long as Microsoft isn't doing something shady to keep Linux out of the Enterprise, they can do whatever they want.
      Star Trek: Enterprise has been cancelled dude.
    • "Works is a real piece of work, FYI ... my signature heavily applies to that software in this case. "

      While Microsoft justifiably gets ripped for their bad software (Hello Windows Vista, the Biblical Plague of operating systems), the fact is they make some really good software too. Sharepoint is popular for a reason. Office had marketing help beating out Wordperfect Suite, but frankly, it was better than WS. Windows Server 2003 was good, and Server 2008 looks like it may be great. So it's not like Microsoft
    • by geekoid (135745)
      "Is it ok to wig out and claim that Microsoft is cutting deals with Asus to insure the downfall of Linux? No. "

      If it is anti-competitive it is.

      "The funny thing about open source is that you don't have to promote it to end users. "

      Yes you do, this is WHY it's getting adopted, promotion.

      "So why is everyone fretting? Just sit back and enjoy the ride. "

      That's a great way for the ride to come to an end.
    • by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @11:46AM (#23338448)
      You're right that storage isn't the reason for the higher price. Asus explained a while back that the whole reason that the Linux model has a bigger SSD, is because they saved money on the XP licence, and used that to upgrade the storage rather than dropping the price of the unit. I wouldn't be surprised if MS mandated that too - it would look bad for the price of Windows to be right there on the box as a $100 mark-up.
    • by Intron (870560) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @12:58PM (#23339544)
      Part of that $50 may also be the loss in fees from the vendors that wanted to add their craplets to the base system.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08, 2008 @06:58PM (#23344244)
      I think the APC Mag has it facts wrong.

      Checking the ASUS online store in Australia.. http://www.asusnotebook.com.au/eee-pc.php

      I see the following:
      Both models have 20GB of storage
      Windows Version is $799 AUD
      Linux Version is $649 AUD
      If you pre-order now.

      So I think they have not checked their facts!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by donaldm (919619)
        The problem with the EEEPC 900 is the price since it's approaching the price of a low end laptop. It should be interesting if the they sell. Still if you are willing to look around you may get a better deal although I think the magic number from the Australian purchase point of view is less then AU$500.00. The 7" EEEPC sold well (Linux version) world wide and I think this shook Microsoft to the point that they spent millions on getting XP to run on it.

        From my personal perspective I have no interest in thi
  • by UPZ (947916) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:01AM (#23336886)
    People can install Linux/Ubuntu for free. It's just going to add additional step, but Ubuntu installation is becoming easier.
  • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:02AM (#23336888) Journal
    If you live in the East of Melbourne (Australia not Florida), I highly recommend Bitronics. [bitronics.com.au]

    I've bought all my stuff from them for well over a decade. They opened a shop when I lived in Bayswater, had doom parties, piles of second hand stuff, kept the local teenagers busy, ect. They become pretty big now and lost a bit of that garage feel but they are still light years ahead of ASUS. I've lived by the beach now for ~3yrs but still browse online and pick it up from the warehouse. Not even sure the same guys own it but they will sell you a naked PC, pre-configured, built to order, pre-installed distro, distro on disc, windows, whaterver your poision,,,err...passion.

    I've had problems but I've had them fixed without fuss.

    Disclaimer: I've been a proffesional developer for ~20yrs. The only relationship I have with bitronics is as a customer, caveate emptor, shop around, and all that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by BBandCMKRNL (1061768)

      If you live in the East of Melbourne (Australia not Florida)
      It would be a bit difficult to live East of Melbourne, Florida and still be in the U.S.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:02AM (#23336904) Homepage
    We all know that a lot of price conscious Australians will buy the cheaper model and load Linux on it. :) I know I would.

    When I buy computers in general, I buy it with the smallest drive and least amount of RAM possible. I know I'm going to upgrade anyway, but the prices the OEMs charge for RAM upgrades and larger drives is ridiculous. Buying with the intent of upgrading is a nice way to save some money if you have the skill and confidence to open it up.

    By the way... probably not a correct place to put this new information, but yesterday I came across something that shocked the hell out of me. On Dell's support site, I discovered that not only is there a DOS/Windows BIOS update utility for the Precision M4300, but a Linux version as well!! That has got to be the first Linux BIOS update utility I have ever seen. Perhaps others have seen this, but it was a first for me and Dell is doing it. Unfortunately, my Latitude doesn't have the Linux BIOS update method available yet so I'm still booting from flash drive DOS for updates, but perhaps it's only a matter of time.
    • Personally, I'd pay an extra $50 for the extra hard drive space, even if both versions used Ubuntu. What is the big deal here?
      • "What is the big deal here?"

        The key phrase in the OP is "price conscious Australians", in another post I recommended a local mob who will sell you whatever you want including naked PC's and parts, I did that because like you $50 is no problem, I pay that for a teenager to wash the car at the shopping center every now and then. But I've been fortunate and the computer industry has kept me warm, fed, and in a clean car for ~20yrs now. The last 10 was mostly just me and my daughter, the last 5 just me, the
    • I believe the default kernel actually has a bios update driver for dell systems... I've certainly seen it during configuration, but haven't tried using it. I do have an older dell laptop here, so i might see if it works on that.

      Props to dell tho, for having a standard way to update their bios, rather than every manufacturer releasing their own crummy dos based update program which expect to boot from floppy and requires you to make your own dos based boot disk.
    • by Trelane (16124)

      When I buy computers in general, I buy it with the smallest drive and least amount of RAM possible. I know I'm going to upgrade anyway, but the prices the OEMs charge for RAM upgrades and larger drives is ridiculous. Buying with the intent of upgrading is a nice way to save some money if you have the skill and confidence to open it up.

      The RAM is upgradable (and you don't have a choice in how much it comes with; that's fixed at 1GB for the 900), but the SSD is not upgradeable (except for, I think, the 8GB 710). Therefore, the doubled SSD size (I suspect the 4GB will be a restore device, like the 0.5GB of the "4GB" 710 that I own, where I only really have 3.5GB to use) is really quite important. I had to shoehorn things a bit to get all the stuff I wanted out of the Ubuntu repos (which is admittedly quite a bit; I'm pleasantly surprised

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:06AM (#23336944) Journal
    (the 701 model, to be clear), I have this to say to Asus: I understand what is your level of commitment to Xandros Linux on your computers, so I hope you will be happy of losing one of your customers. And perhaps some 10-20% of other potential customers, too.

    The Eee PC was my first step out of the MS upgrade treadmill nightmare, and you want to pull me right back? Sorry, no can do.
    • by moosesocks (264553) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @11:30AM (#23338220) Homepage
      Oh come on.

      "Commitment" to Linux? Are you serious?

      ASUS are a for-profit corporation. They're going to do whatever it takes to sell the most computers at the greatest profit. In the case of the Eee, they found that they could sell a computer without windows as long as it was extremely inexpensive.

      If Microsoft offers an incentive to bundle Windows with their entry-level laptop, Asus are going to take it, as it adds value to their product. They'd be stupid not to.

      Note here that you can still very easily install linux on the Windows machine, and that the Linux model is only $50AUD extra, and includes 8gb extra flash storage (which is probably easily worth the $50 extra to most customers).
      • by couchslug (175151)
        If anything, the extra flash helps PROMOTE the Linux version.
        Even though some customers will buy them an install XP or Windows 2000, there will be plenty who try it with the installed distro.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:14AM (#23337062)
    ... ASUS had to pay SCO the $699 licensing fee, you cock-smoking tea-baggers.
  • by Bert64 (520050) <bertNO@SPAMslashdot.firenzee.com> on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:16AM (#23337090) Homepage
    One of the most common reasons cited for not adopting Linux, is that people perceive things that don't cost anything as being worthless...

    In this case, the Linux option is more expensive, and demonstrably superior (larger storage, boots quicker, comes with a much wider selection of applications). How many people will consider the extra $50 worth it for a significantly better package?

    Also perhaps people might like to buy the cheaper windows version, and then "pirate" linux to get some of the additional features only usually available on the more expensive model?
  • by Jawnn (445279) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:18AM (#23337108)
    Yes, yes, I know that the hardware is different (12GB drive vs 20 GB) but does anyone really believe that the whole move is anything other than an attempt by MS to prevent Linux from gaining a foothold in the portable PC market? Linux has, because of driver issues, mostly, enjoyed much less penetration in the notebook PC space. The EeePC's dramatic success in being accepted, with Linux OS, is almost certainly cause for alarm at Microsoft. The result, MS cut a deal that was designed to make it far more attractive (from a price standpoint) to go with a choice that includes Windows XP. The goal of this "dumping" is to prevent the continued penetration of Linux into this space.
    • Yes, yes, I know that the hardware is different (12GB drive vs 20 GB) but does anyone really believe that the whole move is anything other than an attempt by MS to prevent Linux from gaining a foothold in the portable PC market?

      Good for ASUS. Microsoft is putting pressure on ASUS so what do they do? Easy. In the North America the Linux model with more storage space is cheaper than the Microsoft Model. In Europe the Linux model with more storage space is cheaper than the Microsoft Model.

      In Australia what

    • God forbid Microsoft actually.... competes with its competitors!

      Seriously. You're going to have to do better than that. Last I checked, this is how all capitalist businesses operate, and you can't really fault them for attempting to promote their product.

      The Eee has been "successful" in small circles. I sincerely doubt that the Eee has even remotely penetrated the notebook market worldwide, in terms of marketshare percentage.

      At the moment, Microsoft are freaking out about Apple. The Eee isn't (yet) wort
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Last I checked, this is how all capitalist businesses operate, and you can't really fault them for attempting to promote their product.
        I can, however, fault their methods for promoting their product.

        Oh, and there's the whole convicted monopoly part. Convicted monopolies are supposed to play by different rules.
  • Crapware? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kylehase (982334) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:21AM (#23337148)
    Wonder if they're using the crapware discount sales model like how Sony and so many others used to do. Not sure if they still do though, haven't bought a PC for a while. If so then it would make sense the the Linux version is more expensive since there are few, if any, crapware titles for Linux.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:28AM (#23337230)
    When I buy a new system without Windows and install Linux on it, it's cheaper in the long run even if it costs more up front.

    I don't have to waste time scanning for malware constantly or defragging my linux box, so I save time.
    I don't have to buy additional commercial software and pay for license keys or trust closed binary warezed alternatives.

    In the long run, no matter how much you pay in the store, Linux saves you money and time.

    And I don't support a convicted monopoly who has a history of criminal activities across the globe.
  • Linux (Score:2, Interesting)

    Is there any reason why you couldn't just buy the XP version and put a standard Linux distro on there? Has anyone done it? I haven't seen it on www.linux-on-laptops.com.
  • by deathguppie (768263) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:35AM (#23337302)
    At $600, this is not really such a good laptop. I know it's been mentioned before, but they just lost the impulse buyer. Now it's just another laptop, and really not a very good one. I'd say ok, at $400, but at $600 they have priced themselves out of the game.
    • by teslar (706653)

      they just lost the impulse buyer
      They still have the "I need a small protable laptop for basic work while travelling and I am so not gonna spend stupid money on a macbook air or thinkpad x300" buyers though. In fact, they're now more likely to get those since the screen has become more usable.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by guisar (69737)
      I'd have to agree with you. Maybe the eeePC has enough market recognition to survive now but I bought it because it was cheap and small- cheap and small enough for me to ignore it's issues (no bluetooth, rather crappy screen, stupid touchpad, weird linux distro and now annoying DOS like drive naming. At $650 even with the larger screen I'm not sure I'd buy it. I don't really need the extra storage, putting things on an SD card works just fine for me. Cheap and small asus- cheap and small.
    • by deniable (76198)
      Given the current version sells for AUD500, how the hell do you expect them to sell a bigger model for 400? I guess if the US dollar tanks a bit more we could see some decent price drops.
  • What is Asus paying for each copy of Linux and Windows. What applications are included in each desktop. Are they full versions or time limited demos. What are the costs when these are factored in?
  • Get What Exactly? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mpapet (761907) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:38AM (#23337348) Homepage
    only the XP-based machine will be sold at mass-market retailers

    There is no crime there! The retailer's job is to offer what the consumer wants with no regard about the wisdom of their choices. When Shuttleworth has enough money to advertise Linux everywhere like IBM did, then the retailer might go for it. Furthermore, the retailer specs the machines far more than the average consumer may comprehend.

    While it's interesting to see that they are going cheap on storage to get the price point, it shows that Asus is still getting screwed by Microsoft. You can calculate the spread if you guestimate the OEM in quantity costs of the two drives.

  • Asus is feeling the wind coming from the next generation of atom laptops that will have very simular specs to the EEEpc, and will be about the same price. Any deal with MS to lower the price of MS will be very welcome to Asus. 50% of people want XP on that kind of box.

    However they made the mistake of giving the linux and MS boxes different specs. Why is a mystery to
    me.

    Did you note there is also a generation of 200euro laptops with linux on them, but with a non-intel compaible cpu?
  • Find the holes!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by norteo (779244) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:57AM (#23337666)
    Suggested procedure: 1- Buy XP version. 2- Reformat and install Linux. 3- Ask M$ for refund for the unused SO. Q: Which one is cheaper now?
  • by athloi (1075845) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @11:14AM (#23337938) Homepage Journal
    I am not here to dis Windows XP. I like Windows XP.

    However, the whole point of the Asus Eee PC is that it is a stripped down unit for common tasks, generally net-based. You write a letter or short text on an Eee, you surf the net, you check your email, maybe SSH into a UNIX host.

    For this, even for longtime Windows users, a light implementation of Linux is probably better. There are fewer licensing issues. All necessary tools are built in. It can maximize the limited processor, memory and disk of the Eee.

    I could see installing Windows 2000 on one, sort of, but in my experience, the overhead of Linux is a lot less because it does not have to support binaries from the past 3500 generations of Windows.

    Please, let us return to sanity. You may want Windows XP on your full-size HP laptop, but on your Eee, go light.

    See:
    Asus Micro Laptop Brings Linux to Desktop [chrisblanc.org]
  • by i4u (234028) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @11:17AM (#23337992) Homepage
    NewEgg started to take orders on the new Asus Eee 900 PCs and the new Eee PCs are ready to ship.
    ASUS Eee PC 900 12G XP and the ASUS Eee PC 900 20G each sell for $549.99. If you prefer Windows XP you get 8GB less of flash memory. Besides that difference both Asus Eee PC 900 are the same.
    More details [i4u.com].
  • by QX-Mat (460729) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @11:41AM (#23338364)
    Regulation 1/2003

    Unfortunately it's in Austrlia.

    Try it here, I dare you.

    Matt
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by QX-Mat (460729)
      I did a little checking.

      Regarding the UK, it might be possible to get damages from a UK court as Art. 82 is directly applicable (it is after all a treaty article and regulation) and thus has horizontal effect.

      One would expect enforcement in a UK court to provide a little more than just a civil award between competitors. If you follow the obiter from Garden Cottage Foods which hints at individual rememdy, Courage v Crehan should apply?

      Suggestions?
  • by SpinyNorman (33776) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @11:54AM (#23338564)
    Surely the reason the Eee PC created such an initial buzz was the price - at the promised $199 or delivered $249 it was in a category of it's own as a cheap, small, notebook/internet applicance. At that price it was more of an impulse purchase than one to be considered too seriously, and the cheap price also made it appropriate for more casual use than a traditional lap top that needs to be treated as a more valuable object. Similar price difference and mental image of a cheap consumer digital point & shoot camera vs an expensive DSLR - different markets.

    Asus seem to be determined to lose this new market they created (so new it hardly even has a name) as quickly as they created it. At $500-600 this is now competing with traditional laptops - an underpowered competitor in a large field as opposed to owning a new category they created. Seems dumb to me.

    Pricing the Windows model below the Linux one seems to be another bizarre step in the wrong direction.I assumed they were using Linux for the strategic/pricing advantage it gave, but they just threw that advantage out of the window.

    Oh, well... at least Asus proved there is a market for a cheap & cheerful $249 notebook / internet appliance... I guess it'll be up to another company to actually take advantage of that market!
  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @01:16PM (#23339862)
    This is yet another example of Microsoft illegally maintaining its monopoly.

    DOJ, Europe, are you paying attention?

    It is financially impossible for the "for profit" companies ASUS and Microsoft, to team up and replace a free component (Linux) and bring the cost of a product lower with a new component (Windows) UNLESS Microsoft is paying to keep Linux out of the hands of consumers. This is selling Windows below market value to eliminate competition. This is illegal in any nation that has anti-monopolist laws like U.S.A and the members of the European union.

    Will the DOJ and the European agencies please do something about this!?! It harms the very fabric of the computer industry.
  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @03:49PM (#23342108)
    Ahhh. Can you smell the panic from Redmond?


    First, Microsoft is forced to backpedal on it's announced kill-off of XP, I suspect precisely because of the introduction of the ASUS eee. (Balmer didn't anticipate a popular move to machines which deliberately sport lower power. Vista was released on the assumption that machines keep getting faster and stronger, and lamer companies like HP were happy enough to oblige by designing their "2133 Mininote" to handle Vista, which is why they're going to fail to achieve any sort of dominance. The hip and trendy market, while usually as silly and as easily misled as a highschool girl, are surprisingly astute when it comes to matters of intent with regard to wanna-be pretenders. (Crocks still sell like hotcakes, but the next factory-formed plastic sandal-thing which is basically identical but made by the wrong company gets the brush-off.) --And who'd have thunk that the next big thing in computers was going to appeal to the iPod user market where what kind of operating system being used is kind of, 'who cares?' (My girlfriend would be happy with a pink eee, and doesn't know a Linux from a Window. It's the device, not the OS which counts.)

    So it's damage control time! MS awkwardly announces the extension of the XP life line. But that's not good enough, because ASUS announced the now famous deal, (the eee900 with Linux costs the same as XP but has a bigger drive.) You just know a number of MS employees have had some late nights and stomach troubles over that one. So now they're not just extending the XP life, but actually giving it away just to maintain their hold on the public perception. And I wonder. . . How many Linux-baked eee's does it take to shift the paradigm with regard to OS's? We may not find out as soon as I'd like if this latest desperation move by MS pans out. At least, not this year anyhow. (How far off is the next new Microsoft OS from release? Ha ha. That's Balmer's stress response you can smell in the wind over Redmond.)

    Australia also has a test-bed sort of feel to it, but I can't point to anything which confirms this. Just a feeling.

    In any case, I find it fascinating how all of these moves have been put together within just a few weeks. There must have been some heated international telephone calls and business meets going on. None of this has had the time to gestate like a normal evil corporate plan. It feels young and fresh and desperate and nobody knows how it will all turn out. Cool! (I'd be happy if ASUS continued to ship another few million eee700's with Linux on them, introducing a new flavor of OS to the public in the form of an easy-to-use and fast booting OS. That'll make them ask when it comes time to buy their next laptop or desktop, "How come it has to come with Windows? Can't you just sell me one with one with something like my eee had? I should get a discount that way, shouldn't I?").

    And that's all a fairly grand achievement for ASUS, even if it was unintentional; to make Microsoft dance around in fear of losing its legitimacy with the young & trendy market? That's hilarious!

    Anybody else see that video of the two eee700's booting up next to each other, one with Linux and one with XP? Saving an extra 20 seconds of your life every time you hit 'On' is easily worth $50. And so is the extra drive space. It'll be interesting to see how it all pans out over the next few months. For my part, I'm still waiting for that Atom chip. . .


    -FL

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