This article (from my ever-fave irrerevant tech-rag The Register) did make me swoon. After all, it has been harder to "pass a camel through the eye of a needle, than to get a supported Linux desktop/laptop from Dell".. Amazing.
Dell has been a very strong supporter of Microsoft windows, and since they own significant swathes of market share, their lack of support for Linux on Dell machines is a big turn off. But now ? Amazing.
Again, this has to be taken with a liberal dose of reality. Will we all be running Linux on the desktop next year ? Unlikely. The vast majority of people out there are
suffering running windows workstations/laptops, and it may take a number of years before they're happy jumping between operating systems.
However, this idea that if you purchase a new computer from Dell, you have to pay "Windows Tax" appears to be over.
How does this affect Microsoft ? Initially, not very much. However, over time I can see MS having to justify why people should buy Microsoft Windows, and paying Microsoft money for their operating systems. Previously, it was part of the machine, and therefore painless. But as machine costs have came down (I used to be IT manager for an oil service company, and would regularly pay £3,000/$6,000 for a basic workstation - now the same spec is under £300/$600), the percentage paid to Microsoft has increased.
For example, if I were foolish enough to purchase a copy of Vista Ultimate off the shelf, it'd cost me £324 - $646 - here in the UK, or $399 in the US. (hur - $200+ bucks for the pleasure of buying a UK copy. Gee. Thanks. ).
I predict that the price of MS Operating systems - especially consumer orientated ones - has got to get back below the $100 price point, and the feature step up from "free" linux enough to justify that. No wonder the MS share price has flatlined since 2001, and the Vista launch was seen as a flop. Office 2007 ? Whats that ?
Its no wonder that Dell have to provide linux laptops/desktops, else they're cutting themselves out of a significant piece of the marketplace in the future.
Imagine what would happen if Steve Jobs woke up, and did a version of OS/x for dell laptops ?