Microsoft chief operating officer Kevin Turner recently talked about netbook and claimed that retailers experiencing higher return rates as compare to MS-Windows operating systems:
And the reason that we were able to make so much traction - because this is the first real test of the value of Windows - the reason we were able to make so much traction on this particular space is because we went to retailers and said, "Hey, what are your return rates on these Linux netbooks that you are getting?" And they said, "Oh, gosh, they're, like, four or five times higher than what we're seeing on other PCs that have Windows." I said, "Exactly." So let's do the TCO story. Let's talk to customers. And you can't find a retailer - I challenge you to find a retailer who wants to sell Linux on these netbooks, because the returns are bad. The customer complaints are bad. And our ability to really showcase the value proposition with Windows has never been greater and was never tested more than it was with this particular product. But we've made great progress there, but the up-sell opportunities with Windows 7, because it runs so well on these low-end laptops, is going to be tremendous for us.
However, Dell turned down this claim. Todd Finch, Dell senior product marketing manager, said
the number of Linux returns are approximately the same as those for Windows netbooks. He categorized the matter of returns as a "non-issue". "They are making something of nothing," he said of Microsoft's claims. Finch appeared to be referring to Dell's own netbook sales. We are not seeing any technical reasons for why they are returning Linux machines so...we don't see a significant difference between the return rate for Windows versus the rate for Linux. We've been quite pleased with the stability and technical soundness of the Linux machines.
In other words demand is the main problem here. Most buyers are not aware of Ubuntu or another Linux option while placing an order. Just look at Dell's online web store. They are not advertising Ubuntu at all. You need to search for Ubuntu on their site. I see Dell ads everyday, but they never mentioned or recommend Linux option.
Netbooks are perfect for Linux as user don't play games or run photoshop with tons of special effects. Linux offers speed and security over other Operating system. Linux is perfect for the Internet, email and word processing. Novell, Red Hat, Dell and Ubuntu need to market Linux and increase awareness among users.
In the end it is all about choices, let the user select Linux or Windows. What do you think?