[Lvlug] Business Selling Computers
Daniel S. Washko
Wed, 5 Jun 2002 14:57:29 -0400 (EDT)
Here is my opinion, since you asked!
Targeted the home computer market will be difficult. First, unless you are
going to provide a full solutions type package, the average user will not
find the product appealing enough. This is my reasoning.
First, the majority of users have a hard enough time using windows.
Installing a simple program can be tasking for this group of users. We can
say that these are the people that seldom make changes to their enviroment
and just use what they have. Given that group of people, it would make
sense that they would be the prime target. But, realize also that these are
the people that probably use their computers for the internet, email, and
word processing. All fine and dandy so long as they are not using AOL.
Furthermore, the moment someone sends them an attachment to view that
requires a MS plugin, or they go to visit a site requiring Quicktime or MS
plugin, they are out of luck. Sure, there is cross-over plugin, but this
costs extra money.
If you step up to the group who wants to add programs and do more activities
with their computers, again you face the compatibility hurdle. You cannot
just go out and buy applications at Best Buy or Staples. Those won't work.
This group I will include the gamers and families wanting to use
educational programs. Add to this the above problems, and they are not your
ideal target group.
More sophisticated users are either going to install Linux themselves, or
not be pleased with how OpenOffice is not MS Office, or the Gimp is not
Photoshop. Since chiliware went under, there doesn't seem to be a
replacement for Publisher.
There are just some of the issues I have contemplated wondering the same
thing you have over the years.
Companies like RedHat and Caldera have a better idea. Provide not only the
OS, but applications too. They cater more towards businesses with their
services though, since the home user market is not going to invest that much
If you provide a full service, you have to balance cost with service. I'm
thinking that those people you sell a computer too are going to eventually
want other programs, updates, and to do more. Are you going to help provide
this service? At what cost if you do? And to what length?
Am I being clear here?
I personally think the best target would be small to medium businesses.
They are usually not looking for the variety a home user would be looking
for and may be more open to using OpenOffice or Gimp as opposed to the
pricier, compreable applications.
We were just talking software here, but there is the whole arena of
hardware. You can go out to your local store and buy a modem or scanner
that will pretty much come with drivers to work with Windows. This is not
true for Linux. I'm not saying the modem or scanner will work flawlessly
(or at all), but there is the illusion (at least) that it is windows
compatible: It's on the box.
I don't want to dissuade you from your task, and I would be very interested
in helping out any way I could.
I believe someone posted, or was it you, that just selling hardware is not
profitable. I think that is true. Dell and Gateway make it very appealing
to buy computers from them with a $700 price tag and 3 years warranty. Try
to find that at the show. You may be able to beat the price, but not the
Again, this is part of the illusion. I have never had problems with Dell's
support, they have been very good. But I have heard horror stories.
Perhaps there is a difference in support options when you shell out a few
hundred thousand dollars (we get the educational support) as opposed to
being the home user who spend a few hundred dollars (they call the home user
I don't want to pick on Dell alone. I have heard horror stories from must
about every other company.
Daniel S. Washko
Lehigh Valley Linux Users Group
Get Slack (www.slackware.com) and get happy!