The great Dell Linux scam

published Jul 11, 2007, last modified Jun 26, 2013

In theory, a Dell machine with Linux is $50 cheaper... but the free RAM/HDD upgrade (a $275 value) is only for Windows customers. But wait, there's more!

This is only the latest development in a story that's been chock full with disappointment:

An anonymous reader writes "One week ago this community discussed the apparent price advantage of Ubuntu Dell over Vista. The article linked to a Dell IdeaStorm page with the status: 'Implemented.' Today the status has changed on that page to 'Reneged: Ubuntu Dell is $225 More Than Windows Dell.' The full price of a Ubuntu Inspiron 1420N is indeed $50 cheaper than the identical hardware configuration with Vista — except that a $275 free upgrade to 2GB memory and a 160-GB hard drive is available for Windows only."

OK, let's see the entire story in perspective (almost six months of events in six bullet points, so excuse me if the list's a bit superficial):

  1. Dell gets pummeled in its own very IdeaStorm: "we want Linux", the customers say.
  2. Dell balks at proposal. Users angry. Digg uproar.
    Dell recants. Users happy.
  3. Dell "starts shipping" the machines, except there are no machines to buy. Users furious. Digg uproar.
    Dell corrects the stocking issue. Users happy.
  4. Select Dell warranty offerings not available for Ubuntu-based machines. Users angry. Digg uproar.
    Dell warranty offerings equalized. Users not so happy this time, but, meh.
  5. Linux Dell machines more expensive than Windows machines. Users angry.
    Dell corrects pricing mistakes, now Linux machines are $50 less. Users happy again.
  6. A free hard disk / RAM upgrade (with a market value of $275) is now not available with Linux machines. Effectively, the Linux machines are more expensive than the Windows machines again.

Dell: do you really think we're idiots? We can clearly see that a hard disk, a RAM memory module, and a hardware warranty plan have nothing to do with Windows -- it's obvious you're doing this to steer people away from buying Linux machines.

Yes, we know Microsoft is inches away from dumping you as a partner. We'd rather you admit it to us than have you continually find new ways to cheat on us customers.

Come on, you morons, haven't you figured out already that every single move you make is under the scrutiny of millions of Linux users with above-average intelligence?

This is the perfect example of how a company completely loses customer loyalty.

Update: since this topic has generated quite the stir lately (even though it's old) you should know that whenever I've had people (mostly close ones) ask me to recommend a laptop, I've always ended up recommending Dell ones; they do make good hardware. Not only that, but (to all the sufferers out there), I actually have a Dell PowerEdge 1521 as my workstation, so shut up already with the insults already.

The catch? Right after the purchase, I personally install Kubuntu Linux (unlike Windows, Ubuntu's the gift that keeps on booting) on them, and hand an original Kubuntu LiveCD to the laptop's owner; I'm betting many people do the same, so if Dell sees low Linux sales figures, now you know why.