Dell: Linux, Windows netbook return rates are about the same

dellbuntuOnce upon a time, about a year ago, there was a big dustup over the return rates of Linux netbooks. Basically, a few folks at MSI, Canonical, and a few retailers indicated that users were more likely to return Linux netbooks than mini-laptops running Windows. Intel eventually jumped in and pointed out that another major problem is that netbooks often weren’t marketed and described properly and so return rates were highest among customers who didn’t really understand what they were buying.

Nonetheless, Microsoft has been pretty happy to go around claiming that Linux netbook return rates are higher, and that this is evidence that most people want Windows on their netbooks and other computers. But according to Dell’s senior product marketing manager Tood Finch, Dell hasn’t seen any evidence of higher return rates for Linux netbooks.

Dell was one of the early champions of Linux on netbooks. By preloading the laptops with the free and open source operating system, Dell can help keep the prices low, which helps keep the company’s netbooks competitive. The Dell Inspiron Mini 9 and Inspiron Mini 10 are both available with Ubuntu, as are several o the company’s higher end laptops.

Finch says some customers do return Linux notebooks if they get them home, open the box and are surprised to see an unfamiliar operating system. But that’s a marketing problem, not a technical issue. Customers who know what they’re getting seem to be fairly satisfied.

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  • http://listeningtoreason.com wanorris

    “some customers do return Linux notebooks if they get them home, open the box and are surprised to see an unfamiliar operating system”

    Exactly. Mass retailers like Best Buy or Wal-Mart are terrible at communicating information like this. People think “Oh, computer” and assume it's like every other computer, then get confused when there are differences.

    With a self-selecting customer base over direct sales, it's no surprise that the return rates are low. Good for Dell.

    Now if there were only *more* sales channels that offered competitive prices and still had the ability to educate the customer before the purchase.

  • BoloMKXXVIII

    It might also have something to do with the maturity of linux distros for netbooks.

  • animatio

    asus said this – return rates – all the time.
    a shame they succumbed microsoft

  • trey

    It wasnt Canonica and a few others, it was MSI that people quoted non-stop.
    The head of Acer, which sold WAAAAAAYYYY more netbooks than MSI came out at the same time, Jerry something, and said the same thing Dell said.
    Guess which story got carried by the CNETs of this world?
    The head of the biggest netbook seller or an also ran like MSI?

    It wasnt even close because you could chose the message you desired and not be wrong. After all, two companies gave opposing opinions so there can be no bias…

    You chose the news you want to propagate. That's how its always been.

  • trey

    It wasnt Canonica and a few others, it was MSI that people quoted non-stop.
    The head of Acer, which sold WAAAAAAYYYY more netbooks than MSI came out at the same time, Jerry something, and said the same thing Dell said.
    Guess which story got carried by the CNETs of this world?
    The head of the biggest netbook seller or an also ran like MSI?

    It wasnt even close because you could chose the message you desired and not be wrong. After all, two companies gave opposing opinions so there can be no bias…

    You chose the news you want to propagate. That's how its always been.