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In Australia, XP Cheaper Than Linux On Eee 900 319

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 goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @09:59AM (#23336868)
    What is it with people. If Linux is better than MS window then surely you won't mind paying more to get it? why are you so fixated on how much people are making and instead no fixated on simply what it's worth to you? so What if linux costs them less to Buy?

    Besides which it probably cost them more to implement it than MS since I bet they had to hire an entire Engineering staff, at least one FTE plus support folks.
  • 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.
  • Re:How? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by multisync ( 218450 ) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:02AM (#23336898) Journal
    Looks that way, doesn't it? Microsoft seems to be trying to spend the competition away. The only logical thing to do is buy the cheaper XP machine and put Linux on it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:12AM (#23337034)
    Go easy on the Linux people. The Microsoft Corporation, who they believe to be run by total imbeciles, has drank their milkshake for the 10,000th time in a row.

    Every new thing on the horizon has been proclaimed to be the downfall of Microsoft. Cheap PCs, no way they'll be able to compete with Linux on those! They've now been added to the failure pile alongside handheld devices, Live CDs, servers, the desktop in general, laptops in general, any kind of office software you might imagine, etc etc.

    So be easy. This is yet another sad day in a long series of sad days.
  • 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.
  • 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 bhtooefr ( 649901 ) <> on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:24AM (#23337190) Homepage Journal
    This is very true, but...

    It's all about public perception. The Linux machine can't run Windows apps (at least I don't think WINE's included, and WINE's never a good answer to that problem anyway.) Therefore, it's worse in many people's eyes.

    So, now, the Linux machine is more expensive, and perceived to be worse.

    This is not good if you want Linux to succeed in the marketplace.
  • 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.
  • by argent ( 18001 ) <peter@slashdot . ... t a r o> on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:29AM (#23337238) Homepage Journal
    If Linux is better than MS window then surely you won't mind paying more to get it?

    Red herring. This isn't about us, it's about Microsoft buying market share.
  • 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 MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:36AM (#23337322)
    A 160GB flash drive is NOT $50.
  • 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:How? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aleph42 ( 1082389 ) * on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:40AM (#23337386)
    And thus your purchase will raise the number of "customers who preferred the professional quality of Windows(TM)".

    To me, the whole point of the eee is that it finally lets linux and windows have an unbiased competition with the market for judge: people won't just keep windows because it's preinstalled ( except of course taking linux still means "switching" to something less familliar).

    If I was australian and wanted to buy one, I'd throw in the extra cash to show that linux users exist as a demographic.
  • Re:Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:40AM (#23337388) Homepage Journal

    IMHO, the biggest reason is to give a clear message that you don't want Windows. People are scrapping their default Windows installs for Linux all the time, but this won't change the huge market share of Windows, which in turn affects hardware and software makers.

  • Re:Hear hear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:46AM (#23337490) Journal
    I was thinking the same thing. The fact that Linux is now touted as the 'easy' OS to use is rather insulting to Redmond I would think.

    I am concerned that those unfamiliar with Linux will see this and conclude that Linux is expensive rather than ... .er... FREE.

    MS has done a good job of making Windows look like the best choice, and IMO this should be investigated using lawyers and stuff as it makes no sense whatsoever if you look at it from the point of view that MS would never stoop to any dirty tricks. Of course, if you are even a tiny bit cynical you can't help but see that this is obviously a questionable business deal that needs to be investigated by those that would destroy monopolies.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08, 2008 @10:49AM (#23337536)
    eldavojohn, what makes you think you own Slashdot, or can speak on behalf of others here? Your opening post is rubbish, surprising the amount of mod points it's got.

    You think nothing wrong when the XP model can be offered at a LOWER price than the Linux one? Just bcos you say so, we should believe in the good intentions of Microsoft and Asus?

    The Slashdot community thrives on debate, so don't try to impose your views as gospel truth.

    Thank you.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • Re:How? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by multisync ( 218450 ) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @11:01AM (#23337716) Journal

    To me, the whole point of the eee is that it finally lets linux and windows have an unbiased competition with the market for judge

    And this demonstrates that we will never have unbiased (or fair) competition as long as one of the competitors is Microsoft.

    So play 'em at their own game. Hold installfests in the parking lots of places selling the things. Whoop it up. FOSS isn't driven by "market share," it's driven by the passion of its developers and users. It isn't going anywhere.

    Microsoft may be able to point at some meaningless marketing numbers and say "see, people are choosing Windows, even when Linux is more expensive" and I bet some PHBs will even think that statement makes sense. Doesn't matter, Microsoft will run out of money eventually and FOSS will still be there.

  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @11:12AM (#23337896)
    Sort of defeats the purpose of the ultra-portable if you are going to be lugging around a full-sized laptop drive with you everywhere.

    Not to mention the battery hit.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08, 2008 @11:17AM (#23337990)
    After spending a month with the run-around, hair pulling nightmare that is trying to get a Windows refund, the Linux box is still cheaper.
  • Re:How? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @11:29AM (#23338192) Homepage
    So play 'em at their own game. Hold installfests in the parking lots of places selling the things. Whoop it up. FOSS isn't driven by "market share," it's driven by the passion of its developers and users. It isn't going anywhere.

    You can pitch it as "Hey, you can upgrade your Eee to Linux for *free*!". People love free stuff.
  • 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 *weasel ( 174362 ) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @11:44AM (#23338410)

    It's all about public perception. The Linux machine can't run Windows apps (at least I don't think WINE's included, and WINE's never a good answer to that problem anyway.) Therefore, it's worse in many people's eyes.
    The problem with that argument is that most consumers aren't buying and running Windows apps anymore.

    Almost everything they do is web-based and no-one's going to bat an eye once they're told that OpenOffice is $0, works almost exactly like MS Office and can open/save to MS Office documents without a hitch. (Sure, there are exceptions to that, but average consumer isn't going to run into those obscure issues.)

    The average consumer might even get outright excited when you mention that merely using Firefox on Xandros gives them better protection from virii and malware than XP, even if they'd paid for a copy of Norton or McAfee. (And without the slowdowns, compatibility problems and hassle of those packages)

    And since the eee PC is an intensely personal sort of kit, it's doubtful that Joe or Jane Six-pack is going to pass on it just because it won't supplant the family PC that their kids run games on.

    The eee PC simply doesn't have to match up to XP like desktop linux would. It doesn't have to solve all of someone's computing needs. It just needs to be good at the tasks people want a subnotebook for (almost entirely web usage and basic document creation).
  • Re:Hear hear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lonewolf666 ( 259450 ) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @11:49AM (#23338498)
    True, I started with Windows, and I guess that makes it appear easier. But I still think it is easy enough at least for beginners' tasks.
    To stay with the CD Rom example, the average newbie will be happy with a nice GUI where he can drag and drop some files and hit the "burn" button. Most burn programs I've encountered over the years provide that.

    On the other hand, the experience changes when you use Microsoft stuff seriously. Then you will start to notice all the little inconsistencies and old bugs that have been unfixed for years. But to get there, you need to pass the newbie stage first which many people never do.

    So if Linux wants to compete in the mass market, it has to achieve at least equal ease of use for newcomers. I think distributions like Ubuntu are quite good at that :-)
  • 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.
  • 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 Chandon Seldon ( 43083 ) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @12:23PM (#23338978) Homepage

    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 bill_kress ( 99356 ) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @12:47PM (#23339350)
    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 (the only os to guide a rocket from the planet?) or you're just repeating some story you heard in the 80's...
  • 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.
  • 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 SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Thursday May 08, 2008 @04:05PM (#23342294) Journal

    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.
  • by Ant P. ( 974313 ) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @08:17PM (#23345000) Homepage
    Ask yourself this: is the time and effort to get a windows refund really worth the $30 or so you'll get back for the OEM licence?