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Wal-Mart's Little Linux PC That Could

By David A. Utter

Could what, one might wonder? Unless the Wal-Mart shopping public that bought out the first run of 10,000 Everex, Ubuntu-powered, $199 PCs returns them in droves, maybe it's time for Microsoft to become concerned.

Or possibly not. Windows resides on
millions of PCs globally, with Office occupying plenty of those machines in corporate and other environments. Ten thousand PCs doesn't register as a seismic event; Apple has a small percentage share of PC ownership, but that counts in the millions.

Not to mention, the biggest Apple software development house not located in Cupertino resides at Microsoft's headquarters, as the company likes to remind the Mac faithful.

With ZDNet citing the sold out status of those Wal-Mart Linux boxes, it seems people don't mind having the ability to browse the Internet and do all kinds of mundane computer tasks like blogging and word processing for just a couple of Benjamins.

Ubuntu has gained a lot of attention for its capabilities as a desktop Linux distribution for the masses. But it probably took a Wal-Mart to get it attention for the right reason: an affordable OS that can do what people need it to do.

Try a Better Way Today. Try WebEx PCNow

Even though Wired cited research that sneered at the "unsophisticated" Wal-Mart shopper buying the Everex machine because it's crammed inside a big case, Everex seems ready to keep those buyers using an OS not called Windows, by providing 24-hour tech support via a toll-free call.

That's an important piece of the puzzle. If Everex can keep buyers happy and returns out of the initial batch to a minimum, they can push another 10,000 out to shoppers. Maybe more. We have to wonder what the magic number will be that prompts some kind of response from Microsoft.

Could Wal-Mart be the vehicle that drives the computing public away from Windows, $200 at a time?

About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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