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Windows 8 AWOL at Dell

In the last couple of weeks I’ve received two advertising flyers from the folks at Dell. As usual, both were pretty flashy print jobs featuring high quality color photography on slick paper. One of the brochures was aimed at business customers, the other at consumers.

I usually don’t look very carefully at flyers from Dell when they come in the mail, which is fairly often. Sometimes I’ll open them up, just to see their low-ball price on desktops and laptops, since I’m a bottom feeder. Mostly, though, I just throw them away. I haven’t bought a new computer since 2000, and if I were to ever buy another new machine it’d be a white box that I’d have my friend Michelle at Dragonware Computers build for me. Either that, or I’ll build one myself, which is something I’ve always wanted to do.

When the first of these flyers arrived, which was the one intended for business customers, I noticed right away that in the upper right corner were the words, “Dell recommends Windows.”

Windows? Not Windows 8? Not Windows 7? Just Windows?

I’ll admit, the last time I got up close and personal with a Dell advertising flyer was years ago. Again, they usually go straight to the rotary file. But I distinctly remember noticing, quite a few years back on a day when I had nothing better to do than study junk mail, that “Dell recommends Windows XP” was plastered all over the thing. Right now I’ll willing to bet that a year ago it was “Dell recommends Windows 7.”

This piqued my interest. I tore through the little paper adhesive that held the flyer shut so it could make it safely through the post and took a quick look at what was included with each system. Sure enough, each of the different desktops and laptops came with various versions of Windows 7 installed. Only their tablet offerings came with Windows 8. Below each listing in the recommended upgrades–no suggestive selling of Windows 8 either.

Windows 8

Ad for Dell’s Latitude 10 Essentials tablet running Windows 8.
(click to enlarge)

Early this week when I received the second Dell flyer, the consumer version, it was the same. Everything comes with Windows 7. Windows 8 is only mentioned in the specs for their Latitude 10 Essentials tablet.

This can’t last long–for Microsoft or the OEMs. Redmond is risking loosing their hold on the desktop market as they chase a dream of grabbing a share of a mobile market that doesn’t belong to them and probably never will. They’re not nimble enough for mobile.

The OEMs can’t push Windows 7 forever. Eventually they’ll have to find something new. Ubuntu anyone?

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Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux.

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12 comments to Windows 8 AWOL at Dell

  • W. Anderson

    Christine Hall is absolutely correct in her statement that “This can’t last long–for Microsoft or the OEMs.” probably for reasons mentioned that Microsoft is not making any substantial sales or market share gains in the fast growing mobile or deflating desktop market.

    My agreement is based on “fact” that Microsoft has invested heavily in Dell, not only the $2 billion for transferring the company to private equity, but with hundreds of $millions to support and market MS Hyper-V virtualization and Azure Cloud services on Dell servers. It does not matter that Dell may lose the very lucrative contracts and income from the substantial Oracle Database on GNU/Linux implementations. This will be more than compensated for by way of MS reimbursements, just to ensure their blind loyalty.

    As has happened in the past, when Dell has strayed too far away, possibly to other OS like when they did with GNU/Linux and Android for fast second, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer will quickly and brutally bring them back into line. It is inconsequential that Windows Mobile is flailing, Dell will be forced to stomach all the Microsoft Windows crap being fed to them, and smile for the public while doing so.

  • Lizbeth

    When the ubuntu phone comes out with what it promised i’ll be sure and buy one of those, a nice 21-24 inch monitor wired track ball mouse and wired keyboard.

    Until then I’ll keep on trucking with the 15 inch toshiba laptop and LMDE or CrunchBang or SolydXK.

    I have built enough of my own systems and sold them off in part, in whole, or salvaged what I could for the new machine and scrapped the rest.

    The only desktopish thing I want now is parhaps one of those combo deals for just over 200 with the new amd trinty chipsets to run a server on at home if they even come on special again…

    Windows 8 sucks so bad. I tried the free upgrade for the beta and about 10 minutes later reformatted my hard drive for linux only.

  • John

    This is good news. It was so difficult to get anything besides Windows 8 from Dell. I ended up going with an HP back in February because it was too difficult from Dell. Not letting customers get what they want (and forcing Windows 8 on them) is what can not last long. Not making Windows 7 available until they fix Windows 8 for those who don’t want a dumbed down lowest common denominator experience on their desktop is the worse thing for Microsoft and OEMs. Maybe 8.1 will help, but if not they need to have a plan B, even if that is supporting Windows 7. Now if you could only get Windows 7 in the retail stores things would be better.

  • Jo Jones

    Have you noticed how the “Windows 8″ logo appearing on notebooks is only printed at the bottom of the machine and in a dark colour with low contrast against the casing. Furthermore it is not in sky blue and white as the typical Windows 8 logo. Compare that to the very visible and colorful Windows XP and Windows 7 logo that used to be on the front of notebooks.

  • Sola

    I don’t think Dell will thrive on Microsoft reimbursments for very long and keep selling crap products.

    See what happened to Nokia. They killed their appealing products just to sell Windows Phone which is not wanted by the customers.

  • Carling

    Lizbeth Said When the ubuntu phone comes out with what it promised i’ll be sure and buy one of those, My phone choice will be the new $99.00 Mozilla firefox phone, it will be the true FOSS smartphone. From the reports I have read it’s going to take off,

  • MH

    I’m with you Carling. I don’t own a smartphone as I don’t much need a handheld computer, just a phone. I may buy one for my wife though. If I do, it will be a Firefox phone.

  • Ricardo

    @Carling and @MH: keep in mind that Lizbeth wants to use the phone in docked fashion, replacing her current machine.

    That’s a very attractive idea for me too, but since I’m a KDE guy I guess I’ll have to wait for a similar offering from the Plasma Active folks :)

    I don’t think a similar Firefox OS phone is planned, but I’d love to be proven wrong.

    Cheers!

  • Votre

    I agree that this situation can’t continue forever for OEMs or Microsoft. Which means the day is rapidly approachine where Microsoft and Mr. Ballmer make good on their threats to begin a large-scale legal assault on Linux for IP patent infringement.

    It’s interesting how they got Redhat and Ubuntu to cave in and crosslicense with Microsoft. No doubt to bolster their argument, come lawsuit time, that some in the Linux world have already openly recognized the validity of Microsoft’s assertions that everything that can and ever will be done on a PC rightfully belongs to them.

  • John

    Some companies may decide it’s cheaper to crosslicense than to fight. That does not mean they recognize the validity of Microsoft’s assertions, merely that it’s cheaper than dealing with a potential nuisance law suite.
    There is enough large companies invested in Linux that Microsoft would not stand a chance of winning beyond maybe a few specific non critical parts that they could force to get removed. Anything critical to the core of Linux that would totally break it can be traced back to the 60s and 70s as prior art if not furuther.

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