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The Almighty Buck Hardware

Wal-Mart to Offer Wal-Mart Notebooks 426

ducomputergeek writes "Cnet is running an article that Wal-Mart plans to launch its own line of notebook computers. I wonder if these will run Lindows or XP. We've purchased a couple low cost boxes with no OS's for cheap file servers and they've worked pretty well."
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Wal-Mart to Offer Wal-Mart Notebooks

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  • OS Licenses (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2003 @10:06PM (#7534194)
    We've purchased a couple low cost boxes with no OS's for cheap file servers and they've worked pretty well

    Interesting admission indeed. I am calling the SPA right now. I'd like to see those Win2003 server licenses Michael.

  • by nacturation ( 646836 ) <nacturation @ g> on Friday November 21, 2003 @10:09PM (#7534207) Journal

    A Wal-Mart notebook to go right next to my Arby's MP3 player. Although perhaps the logo can be sandblasted off so that users won't die of embarassment.
    • As long as it can boot Linux, who cares? I could easily put a Tux sticker over the logo.

      Another poster was modded redundant for saying this, but come on, as long as it works in Linux and is cheaper than a "real" brand, who cares?

      • I think it'd be smart for Wal*Mart to make it support both Linux & Microsoft -- just to have a better negotiating position when trying to get attractive OEM windows pricing.

        Interesting to see if they need Microsoft more or less than Microsoft needs them for this product.

      • by rtphokie ( 518490 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @11:13PM (#7534474)
        As long as it can boot Linux, who cares? I could easily put a Tux sticker over the logo.

        The businesses who cant cut their unit price low enough for WalMart to give them the time of day, thats who.

        WalMart doesn't have low-low prices everyday because they like you. They've got these prices because they can pressure businesses into cutting their prices so low they barely make anything.
        • My ex-roomate works for just such a company. National company and well know. WalMart fucked them, so they chose to discontinue selling to them. They've not gone out of bussiness, they continue to do very well.
          • by ragnar ( 3268 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @11:48PM (#7534595) Homepage
            You may want to read the following article [] to get a more clear picture of how wal-mart operates. I read the article this morning, and it happens to be very timely.
            • by A nonymous Coward ( 7548 ) * on Saturday November 22, 2003 @12:42AM (#7534863)
              Economies progress by making jobs more efficient so resources are freed for new jobs. You can't make new products unless some old product goes away or becomes more efficiently made.

              It's hard to figure out who gets retrained in what way and how much. No system could be perfect. That Wal-Mart makes companies more efficient is not to be denied. That some companies don't adapt and go out of business, well, their workers and capital go into other businesses eventually, and the economy gradually becomes more efficient. If there were no unemployment benefits, the economy would become more efficient faster, but more people would suffer. If unemployment benefits were too easy to get and keep, the economy would progress more slowly. The trick is figuring out the best compromise. No one can ever know where that line is, and it keeps moving.

              • It's actually a race to the bottom. Every year walmart grows and as it grows it squeezes out competitors and ships jobs overseas. If things continue their trend they will have a monopoly in just a few years. What happens then?

                I'll tell you what happens jobs leave china and go to cambodia or africa or someplace. They continue to to shift to countries where people are more destitute thereby leading to boom and bust economies all over the world. Eventually the chinese will want a 10 cent raise and the factor
        • So Wal-Mart rapes their suppliers into taking a bare few percent profit margin. Guess what - I DON'T CARE! I don't have the luxury of being supported by Mommy and Daddy so I can spend my time bitching about how "immoral" and "evil" Wal-Mart is - in fact, I shop there all the time, because saving a buck is the most important end for me; as long as they can provide cheap electronics I don't care how much they pressure their wholesalers.
          • Because clearly, anyone who is against corporate strongarming must be living off mommy and daddy.
            Guess what, junior? I'm 23, live completely off my own buck and have since I was 17, and I still have the balls to stand against a corporation that abuses capitalism.
        • You can cry about the poor businesses all you want, but I don't think you will hear anyone who shops there complain. A lot of working families are a heck of a lot better off because discount stores like walmart help them stretch their dollars farther. Forcing someone else to pay more than is necessary for something so someone else can make more isn't necessarily a noble thing. These cheaper goods mean a lower cost of living for a great many people and thats a big benefit you can't ignore.
          • by An Onerous Coward ( 222037 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @12:51AM (#7534911) Homepage
            They don't complain, but they probably should.

            The reason many consumers are so desperate for Wal-Mart's "Low, Low Prices" is because the ever-increasing demand for said prices has priced most of American manufacturing labor out of the market. Eventually, there will come a point where there just isn't enough money in consumer pockets to make it worth Wal-Mart's time to sell to American consumers. At that point, they'll just take the money they sucked out of the economy and go elsewhere.

            Wal-Mart destroys local competitors, eliminating jobs. Wal-Mart puts the hammerlock on its suppliers, forcing them to continue finding ways to lower their costs. Eventually, the only fat left to trim is the luxury of using "expensive" American labor instead of labor from countries that don't have pesky things like "minimum wage," "occupational safety," "environmental regulations," and the like. Wal-Mart even screws over its own employees, merrily cutting benefits even as their profits continue to climb.

            No, the average family shopping at Wal-Mart is simply going to be grateful that they can get stuff for so little. They don't realize that the low prices are a result of the same forces that have been taking money out of their pocket.
        • WalMart doesn't have low-low prices everyday because they like you. They've got these prices because they can pressure businesses into cutting their prices so low they barely make anything.

          I don't like Wal-Mart for several reasons. The two biggest are their support of sweatshop labor (what we don't know won't hurt you) and their treatment of employees (39 hours per week? NO HEALTH BENEFITS FOR YOU!). Like it or not, they are an example of successful capitalism. If that is at someone else's expense, oh we

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I've been shopping for tech books for quite awhile (they are the cheapest)! This is good news, I wonder if they will be offering Linux [] on the laptops, or any other desktops!
  • by dswensen ( 252552 ) * on Friday November 21, 2003 @10:12PM (#7534229) Homepage
    So let me guess, instead of Clippy you have a little bouncing yellow smiley face that keeps darting in and changing the numbers on all your Excel documents?
  • by hypermike ( 680396 ) < minus painter> on Friday November 21, 2003 @10:14PM (#7534243)
    The Umbrella Corporation.


  • by Stile 65 ( 722451 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @10:15PM (#7534251) Homepage Journal
    There's a neat link at the bottom of the article to another article about $200 being the magic number for PCs.

    I've always thought this would be a neat idea for corporations: Several fairly powerful servers, running everything from file sharing to groupware (on BSD or Linux, SMP, etc.). A bunch of cheap PCs with no hard drives and Knoppix-type CDs configured for the company's network. All files accessed via NFS, etc.

    Talk about a) inexpensive solution and b) easy support. The computers are throwaways, and you don't have to move data from a broken one to a new one. It's all on the servers. But the computers are still powerful enough to do plenty of processing on their own.

    Upgrades are a cinch - distribute new CDs to everyone.

    With $200 computers (how much cheaper would they be without hard drives?) it's more than possible.


    • Umm, such Network PCs were talked about before, hasn't really caught on...
    • Yep,

      server based computing is the answer.

      Forget the CD look at etherboot, no CD no hard disk. No fscking way my users can hose the machine with software. If they break the hardware just wander down with a replacement.

      LTSP is one project working on Xterms.

      For my money we are still waiting for fault tolerant clusters before this really takes off. I want cheap Xterms connected by ethernet to my FT cluster. A node fails no problem another will auto take over with no downtime ot any user. Auto load bala
    • The computers are throwaways, and you don't have to move data from a broken one to a new one. It's all on the servers.

      What about Sun's system where you have a smart card that you can insert into a computer and your desktop pops up with everything still open, i.e. no logging out and back into the network? Everything is on the server, including any state regarding your login/desktop.

      I hate how Windows handles logins. At work I have to download my profile, merge it with what is on the desktop. When I log

    • Been tried, failed big time.

      This is the idea behind Sun's thin client - essentially going back to the old mainframe days, but with considerably more powerful terminals.

      BTW, if you suggest a common computer language that can be used from anything from a cell phone to a server, then MacNealy has some big guys in black leather that would like to discuss your ideas out back.

    • You ever watch Saturday Night Live with Goatboy and "hey remember the 80's"

      Thats about where you were going. Server and dumb terminals just arn't fun. It's easier and cheaper to just have plain boxes around with everything they need. If one breaks no big deal. With the other way one little fuckus can grow quick.

      But hey, sell your idea to IBM
    • If you want to see examples of this happening right now, google for 'thin client' or citrix. If you want to see examples of people who have done this for decades, google instead for 'dumb terminal' , '3270' etc.... Server centric computing has been around for years. You can buy a current model thin client for $299 (maybe less) that does not store any data locally, and boots from an image delivered across a network. Load Citrix, or an open source equivalent like LTSP [] (Linux Terminal Server Project) on a se
  • by Valar ( 167606 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @10:15PM (#7534253)
    They are rebranded machines from Asia, so expect about the same level of linux/*BSD/etc support as any other obscure lowest bidder import type of notebook (kludgy but improving). It will be interesting to see if this takes off though. Laptops are, for many people, more of a fashion accessory than a computing device (think marketroid/execubot wannabe gearheads). Walmart brand laptop wouldn't have the same fashion value as a "Ubertron Mega Wassus 90009".

  • Of course I'm sure the locla Circuit City and COMPUSA will manage to come up with a suitable sob story. Anyone want to take bets on how long it is before one of these chains makes a press release about how Wallmart's action is "bad for the consumer and local computer stores......"

    Clearly we need a South Park episode about this..

    "Wallmark is bad m'kay..."
  • by thanjee ( 263266 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @10:16PM (#7534258) Journal
    I wonder if these will run Lindows or XP.

    Does this question really need to be asked? They will run FreeBSD of course! :p
  • by GussT ( 726047 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @10:17PM (#7534260)
    Let me guess they have spiral binding and come with their own pencil!
  • by Duncan3 ( 10537 )
    WalMart comes into a market and undercuts everyone. This can only be good, since lets face it everything is made in Asia anyway, so it's not like Americans are making any money on PCs. Maybe they can take on the 200% Dell markup.

    The down side is you can only buy one if you can place the order in Spanish :)
    • Re:Yay! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Aardpig ( 622459 )

      This can only be good...

      <sarcasm>I can't agree more; and I completely trust Walmart's religious convictions, and the decisions they make to censor [] their product lines based on these convictions.</sarcasm>

      Remember, America, the notion of free speech and free choice has meaning only so long as the citizenry has the ability excercise them. Without this ability, these rights become nothing more than wishful thinking on some pretty paper in a fancy library.

  • Cheap Notebooks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @10:17PM (#7534263) Homepage
    I think there is a market for cheap notebooks, although I wouldn't call $750 cheap.

    I don't care if it isn't able to run the latest video games. I'd like to see a sturdy notebook computer that has good battery life and a price under $500.

    • Re:Cheap Notebooks (Score:2, Insightful)

      by IM6100 ( 692796 )
      I'd like to see a sturdy notebook computer with a reflective grayscale display and a serious underclocked processor. In this day and age 'severely underclocked' could mean that it had a 400 MHz chip. A reflective grayscale display combined with 'underclocking' would give it one HELL of a lot longer battery life, and it'd give us geeks who care less about glitz a hell of a machine. I still cling to my Toshiba 2105, the last great grayscale 486 laptop.
    • HA! Sturdyness will be suspect, just like about everything at wal-mart. Also, they don't have the tech support infrastructure that Dell, Apple, or any of the other laptop manufacturers have.

      Here's what they will be: Heavy, flimsy, laptops with short battery life that will take two months to be repaired when they break.

      • If they are cheap I can live with whatever little sturdiness they got. Normally notebooks are not that much abused, it's occasional drops on the floor that are a concern. A Thinkpad will crack the plastic but works. This one will crack the plastic and stops working... not a big deal: at that price I can buy three cheap notebooks instead of two or three expensive ones. And if you drop an expensive notebook it still takes damage, and you will want to repair or replace it anyway.
    • I'd like to see a sturdy notebook computer that has good battery life and a price under $500.

      I just want something that I can sit in bed with and write code. Hold on, sorry. My wife tells me she wants one with a DVD-ROM so we can watch pr0n in the bedroom. It's always about pr0n, isn't it??? For $750 that's an expensive "marital aid" though.

    • (who's the jerk who modded you flamebait? someone metamoderate this!)

      I'll go you one better. A sturdy notebook for $400 will be a killer. Forget Windows XP and Microsoft Works; just throw Debian and OOo and Mozilla on the thing with a recent kernel that supports lotsa USB devices and you've got a very useful tool.

      It doesn't have to be super lightweight or super screen, just portable and usable. I could live without DVD-RW but it should have about 40 gigs, 256 MB, 1024x768, two hours on a charge. Wire
      • Amen to that. (Wireless ethernet isn't a requirement for me, though.) For $400, I'd be happy with 20 gigs as long as the processor was 1ghz or so.

        When I'm looking at laptops, I'm always frustrated that they have three things I don't want: a DVD drive (now most have a CD-RW, too), a modem, and of course, Windows XP (and probably Office and who knows what else), which I would overwrite anyway. But they're fairly good machines at good speeds, like 2ghz or so, for only $1000. I'm wondering, why can't they dr

  • Thank You.
  • by NightWulf ( 672561 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @10:23PM (#7534276)
    Is it me or by 2025 everything will be Walmart. I can see this orwellian type world, where 20 story tall Walmart stores dominate the landscape. And giant city sized Walmart's where the peons (everybody) work, like the middle age vassals all over again. Your overlord will be Baron Von Mildred, the silver haired 400 year old woman who greets you everyday with a smile and a cat o'nine tails. Gonna be fun!
    • Ya know, now that you say that...

      Who will buy who? Will Microsoft buy Wal-Mart, or Wal-mart buy Microsoft? It's only a matter of time until the two come at each other now.
      • To answer your question just think how many people from all sectors of society - and how often - buy from Microsoft vs. from Wal-Mart. Also think which company sells products that you *literally* can not live without. Also think which company sells generally decent stuff at bargain prices. Then you get the answer.
          • Also think which company sells products that you *literally* can not live without.

          I buy from *neither* and I'm alive and well. Ask yourself this: how good a deal will Wal-Mart be when they have 90+% market share? Just look at MS for you're answer. Personally, I think diversity in the market place is worth an extra quarter on a gallon of milk. When the diversity is all gone, everyone will have to pay an extra dollar - consider it an investment in future savings.

    • Heard sometime in San Angeles, 2025 to explain things to a visitor from another time - "Now all restaurants are Walmart."
    • Went to watch it with my kids...
      Ok, I wanted to see it, so dragged the kids with me to make it count as a family outing...

      Anyway, our heros are all lost in the desert, and low and behold, a WALMART in the middle of nowhere.

      Bugs makes some big jokes about how much money Warners made for mention walmart a few times.

      Was hillarious indeed.
  • by Ridgelift ( 228977 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @10:23PM (#7534277)
    "For the same reason Dell and Gateway can get TVs, there's no reason Wal-Mart can't get computers," Baker said.

    I really hope Wal-Mart decides to sell notebooks with both Lindows and Windows. It will never be mentioned in the press, but many people would buy the cheaper of the two, then chuck Lindows and replace it with a pirated copy of Windows.

    Microsoft will no doubt fight this tooth and nail. They know that seeing two identical machines side by side in Wal-Mart, people will see how expensive Windows really is. Then there will be more reason to mainstream more Linux software, especially games.

    • They know that seeing two identical machines side by side in Wal-Mart, people will see how expensive Windows really is.

      Do you know how much Walmart will be paying for an OEM version of WinXP? I'm going to guess with their buying power: not much.

      The whole "Microsoft tax" is way overblown.

      • Do you know how much Walmart will be paying for an OEM version of WinXP? I'm going to guess with their buying power: not much.

        And how much will they be paying for the hardware? Not much either. The "Microsoft tax" is not way overblown. I run Linux; why should I pay an extra ANYTHING if I don't want it? If I have to pay for something I don't use, it's a tax.

        And to restate my point, if Joe Consumer sees two identical notebooks, where the one with Windows is more and the one with Linux is less and they
      • Do you know how much Walmart will be paying for an OEM version of WinXP? I'm going to guess with their buying power: not much.

        You'd be mistaken. Compare these two very similar machines:

        1.2 GHz Duron, 30 GB, 128 MB, No O/S []: $199.98

        1.3 GHz Duron, 40 GB, 128 MB, Windows XP home []: $308.00

        Looks like Walmart has to pay about $80 for the OS. Despite their buying power, Microsoft clearly has even more monopoly power.

        Interesting side note: it was very, very difficult to find two models offered by Walmart si
    • Hidden costs (Score:3, Insightful)

      by The Tyro ( 247333 )
      You aren't kidding.

      I just built a Linux computer for my parents (dad's an older guy in his 60's) instead of a windows machine... and it's precisely because of the software cost.

      A little shuttle cube, duron processor, 512 of RAM, 160GB drive, DVD/CD-RW combo drive... all for under 500 bucks. When he wanted windows, I informed him that his OS, office suite, and antivirus would almost double the cost of his computer... I did a quick assessment and realized he could do all the stuff he wanted on Linux (inc
      • I informed him that his OS, office suite, and antivirus would almost double the cost of his computer

        Wow... so you can't install OpenOffice or StarOffice on Windows? No wonder they're not gaining much ground on MS Office.

        And if you want an excellent cheap AV, look at
        • Of course you can use OO on windows, I use it myself on my windows machines. My point is that you don't have to pay the big bucks for MS software when there are other viable options available. And, as long as you're going open-source, might as well make it a complete package.
      • by LenE ( 29922 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @02:01AM (#7535141) Homepage
        I even set it up so I can administer it remotely via SSH (or even webmin tunneled over SSH if I'm feeling really lazy).

        What happens if, God forbid, you get hit by a bus, or a drunk driver, or if you were kidnapped by a marauding band of scantily clad amazons? How will your parents manage their new computer? Do they know how to do any administration tasks like installing software, or installing a new printer?

        I don't wish this on anybody, but in a previous job, I had to create a "hit by a bus" book, so that other people could do any of the frequent admin tasks that they might need, in case I was ever incapacitated. Now granted, most of these things (new users and backup-recovery) are not needed on a home machine, but if you have to ssh into your parent's box for any reason, then it isn't parent-safe enough.

        That being said, I've set my parents up with the most parent-safe setup I can imagine. Yes it cost a bit more than $500, but I know that they won't have to find someone who knows KDE or Gnome, or how to re-compile a kernel when they want to plug in a new digital camera. I got them an iMac, and I never have to deal with administration of their machine. It cost a bit more, but I don't loose sleep over worrying if it is working or not.

        -- Len

    • I really hope Wal-Mart decides to sell notebooks with both Lindows and Windows. It will never be mentioned in the press, but many people would buy the cheaper of the two, then chuck Lindows and replace it with a pirated copy of Windows.
      They know that seeing two identical machines side by side in Wal-Mart, people will see how expensive Windows really is.

      Non-Windows (Lindows, SuSE, etc) PC's are not really cheaper at Walmart than Windows PC's. Look at equivalent spec machines, and the difference is very, v
  • Maybe a Clevo? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Friday November 21, 2003 @10:24PM (#7534278) Homepage Journal
    Alienware and Sager both already sell Clevo [] laptops as their own house brand (after neon spraypaint, etc.). Pretty good units, so a Walmart-branded one might be an OK computer.

    There are already comments whining about Walmart quality - how much differentiation is there among the vast majority of PC's today anyhow? Sure there's always premium gear, but most of the stuff for sale in stores, whether it says WalMart, HP, or Dell on it is all low-end gear designed for price, and will probably last out its useful lifecycle.

    It is surprising how WalMart is making the high-tech play; netflix, itunes, now laptops, yet they've skipped consumer electronics (no walmart-branded TV's, DVD players, etc.). Their other areas for house brands are clothing and pharmaceuticals - seems like they target areas where they think there is alot of profit, and try to take some fat out of it.
    • ...seems like they target areas where they think there is alot of profit, and try to take some fat out of it.

      They do this even without house brands. For example, take a look through their medical/hygiene aisles. Even their name brand stuff is cheaper. Although I will say that Sam's Choice cola tastes like ass and doesn't go nearly as well with whiskey as Coke.

      In case you live in a hole, Sam's is owned by Wal-Mart and they sell a lot of the same house brands.

  • by Gurudev Das ( 694832 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @10:28PM (#7534298)
    everybody is interested in seeing Windows or Linux on one of these machines, but how about no OS at all! no crashes, no bugs, heck it won't even start up providing one of the most secure environments you can get :)
  • Hard to compete (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2003 @10:29PM (#7534304)
    It is immensely difficult to compete with a corporation that gets massive amounts of government assistance in tax incentives and loans. The idea that Walmart won in the marketplace isn't true. They beg local governments for preferntial treatment in everything from tax treatment to land zoning. These are the reason Walmarts prices can get so low. Corporate welfare for the largest retailer in the world.

    How quickly we have all forgotten, from just weeks ago, Walmart's hiring of illegal aliens too.
  • They already carry a notebook computer for $799. It's a Northgate 1 Ghz Celeron, 14" display and DVD drive, running Windows XP Home Edition: ct _id=2416516&cat=3951&type=19&dept=3944&path=0%3A39 44%3A3951#long_descr

    Not much of a savings if they bring out their brand laptop, IMO.
  • I question whether Wal-Mart won't become the next target of a government anti-trust violation.
    • Walmart generally doesn't force companies to do anything. They merely say "we want it at this price and these specs, do it or lose it." Companies produce for Walmart because they want/need the additional business, even if they make marginal profits on it. That and the fact that Walmart lowers prices for everyone. Is it anti-competitive to push sustainable lower prices (for walmart) onto the market place?
      antitrust []
      anticompetitive []
  • won't work (Score:5, Interesting)

    by b17bmbr ( 608864 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @10:35PM (#7534327)
    most people who purchase laptops are not purchasing their first machine. onw, where most people who buy the emachines $399 at best buy, or the microtel (?) special at wal-mart for $199 are not going to jump on a $799 laptop. in some markets, price is everything, like gasoline. but in some markets, there are other intangible factors. not the least of course is the fact that going into most laptop type environs (offices, coffee shops, college classrooms, etc.) there will be a stigma.

    let me give you an example. in william grieder's book "secrets of the temple" about the federal reserve, (great book), he tells the story of bluefish. now, for those of you who don't kow much about bluefish, it is plentiful on the east coast, but not the best eating fish. but, when bluefish prices were higher, it sold more. as it price dropped, it actually sold less. why? well, it became a "cheap" fish. when it's price went back up, its sales did too. with the laptops, apple is selling tons, and they are not the cheapest. i don't think wal-mart will sell lots of laptops. people are looking for something a little more. for me, the clincher on the ibook was the screen. i couldn't deal with the cheaper laptop screens. my guess is that most laptop buyers are a little more discriminatory.
    • in some markets, price is everything, like gasoline. but in some markets, there are other intangible factors. not the least of course is the fact that going into most laptop type environs (offices, coffee shops, college classrooms, etc.) there will be a stigma.

      If you really hang out with people who would think less of you if you were seen with a possession that wasn't heavily advertised and expensive, then you need to find some new friends.

      --Bruce Fields

  • (And as a Walmart Employee) Walmart has to be stoped.
  • Censored (Score:3, Funny)

    by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @10:37PM (#7534338) Homepage
    The testers of the new PCs say they run fabulously and are a great low-cost alternative to regular PCs. However, some noted that many of their MP3s either wouldn't play at all, or had certain words censored out.

  • PCs are now a real commodity. Think about it. Walmart has it's own brand name for the other clones. Sam's Choice Cola for example. My first PC was a 286/16 that I bought for $250 out of computer shopper. The 20 MB Kalok hard drive was another $200. The video card set me back $100 and the monochrom VGA monitor was another $150. Let's not even start to talk about the price of memory at that time. Of course my $900 TRS-80 CoCo was my favorite computer of all. Maybe these Walmart computers are Sam's Cho
  • by rice_burners_suck ( 243660 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @10:55PM (#7534406)
    Wal-Mart is the Microsoft of stores. Wal-Mart is crushing American companies. They demand lower prices, forcing American companies to outsource overseas, causing losses of American jobs. If they cannot or will not cut the prices to levels that require slave labor, Wal-Mart goes to overseas companies. The result? Americans who shop at Wal-Mart are shopping themselves out of a job.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Walmart isn't doing the crushing, American's are. American's demand lower prices and prefer not to pay more to support their communitys.
    • by cmacb ( 547347 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @12:06AM (#7534657) Homepage Journal
      I don't see that much difference in name brands used at Walmart, Sears or any of the others. They all get most of their inventory (particularly clothes) from overseas. While I agree that there may be some problems with this I don't see how Walmart is any guiltier than anyone else.

      In particular, with respect to laptops I don't think anyone makes them here. HP, Dell and all the others are just import agents who at most get their logo stamped on the machines over here... although it's more likely even that happens overseas...I think the systems come IN THE BOX and ready to go, unless you request a memory upgrade or something.

      Now, given that there is really no such thing as a Dell or HP laptop, would you rather pay $2000 or $700 for it? Now the article didn't actually mention the price (said they didn't know) but they used current $799 machines as a guess of what the price might be. Problem is that those systems have already gone through a middle-man of some sort. I'd be more inclined to think that the target price will be $500 and a price point like that might convince some people to make a laptop their first computer. We'll see.
  • by Hanno ( 11981 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @10:57PM (#7534412) Homepage
    Selling PCs at supermarkets has rocked the German PC market.

    ALDI (a very popular discount retailer, similar to Wal-Mart) began selling computers a few years back, both desktop PCs and laptops. They still do so on a regular basis and just this week they had a not-too-bad all-in-one all-purpose PC for home users.

    These computers are special time-limited offers, marketed in large quantities over a few days, about twice a year. So limited that when the first series was sold in 1997, one customer tried to secure his PC using a gun [].

    Aldi has become so successful that its main supplier Medion has slowly become [] the #1 computer manufacturer in Germany [] (although it is unclear wether it can hold that spot - the company is struggling, too).

    Several other competing supermarket chains have joined the market with their own line of bargain PCs and now there are a number of "Schnappchen PC" offers popping up in several supermarkets chains before Christmas every year. You pick up your fully-installed, ready-to-go PC right next to your milk, bread and toilet paper.

    Although computer pros initially laughed at the thought of buying an ALDI PC, it turned out to be a pretty good offer. Thanks to huge numbers of absolutely identical PCs to be sold, the company preparing these boxes had time to slash prices and still do the configuration better than what you'd often get at the likes of Dell or your local selfmade-PC-shop.

    The ALDI PC is targeted at home users and its first versions were quite well thought-out and sold like crazy. (See gun story, linked above.)

    These days, customers aren't that mad about the ALDI PC anymore, it seems. The recent offerings were more and more prone to feature-overload. The current ALDI PC comes with everything and a kite: Next to the standard stuff it includes a universal card drive, a TV-in card, a remote control, wireless keyboard and mouse, wireless LAN and a DVD burner on top of the DVD read only drive...

    But still, ALDI teared down the wall, put massive price pressure on everyone else and literally brought the multimedia PC to the masses with a PC that's actually really ok.
  • the Lindows Mobile PC they announced earlier:

    Lindows Mobile PC []

    LinuxJournal just did a review of the machine itself in their latest issue and gave it pretty good marks.

    They also have an entry on their website about uninstalling all the Lindows branded stuff and upgrading to Debian:

    LinuxJournal: Customizing a Lindows MobilePC []
  • Excellent! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cmacb ( 547347 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @11:23PM (#7534510) Homepage Journal
    "If Wal-Mart, which sells PCs from companies such as Hewlett-Packard and eMachines, moves into the notebook market successfully, it could send ripples across the PC industry. The retailer's typically aggressive pricing could compel manufacturers such as Dell, HP and Toshiba to reduce their notebook prices in response, analysts said."

    I KNOW there are people who hate Walmart, but I don't. Any store that forces hardware prices down to closer to manufacturing cost is fine by me. Over priced hardware has made over price software viable for far too long. I want to PAY for true innovation and pay commodity prices for things that have long since become commodities.

    Picture a big fat guy dancing around on stage clapping his hands:

    "commodity commodity commodity commodity ... commodity commodity commodity commodity "

    "Give it up for MEEEEE"
    • Not excellent (Score:4, Informative)

      by ragnar ( 3268 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @12:10AM (#7534686) Homepage
      I'm one of those people who hate wal-mart (and I don't shop there as a result), so I'll comment. I'll grant that wal-mart has demonstrated a lot of innovation when it comes to supply lines and inventory management, but I despise their low price mantra.

      As if it wasn't bad enough that the wal-mart chain has destroyed downtown industry all over America in favor of big box stores, if a stateside business can't meet their price point they go with an import. So much for the effort to buy american that Sam Walton pushed when he was alive.

      It is estimated that 7.5 cents of every consumer dollar (excepting auto purchases) go through the wal-mart's registers. They have such a dominant position that businesses can't afford not to do business with wal-mart. For many it is a lose-lose proposition.

      I think there are many wasteful and incompetent american businesses that need to be put out of their misery, but wal-mart is decimating many a good business. Their impact on the US economy is such that we should question seriously the low price mantra.
  • by Lank ( 19922 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @11:26PM (#7534523)
    Arima, as pointed out in this [] article. It says here that Walmart has already placed an order for 100,000 notebooks for their test-run.
  • by wo1verin3 ( 473094 ) on Friday November 21, 2003 @11:28PM (#7534531) Homepage
    as long as if something goes wrong and you need to call tech support, they don't have those walmart greeters answering the call....
  • Wal-mart has found a notebook they can sell for $14.95 that will be a hit with their target
    demographic from Ohio Art [].
  • Finally (Score:3, Funny)

    by BigBuckHunter ( 722855 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @04:11AM (#7535381)
    A computer light enough to place on my particle-board desk (purchased at wallmart) without breaking it!

    No, You shut-up!!!!

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky