31 July 2007

Acer: A Case-Study in How Not to Succeed

The Acer Aspire 5710Z has gone on sale in Singapore pre-loaded with Ubuntu Linux instead of Windows. Ubuntu is currently one of the world's most popular and easiest-to-use Linux distributions.

But a spokesperson for Acer told ZDNet.co.uk on Tuesday that the company — one of the world's top laptop manufacturers — had "no plans" to sell any Linux-based systems in the UK. "[Acer models] with Ubuntu pre-loaded are available at the factory level. However, there is no demand for it in the UK. Therefore, those configurations are not an option [for UK customers] at the moment," said the spokesperson.

Well, let's just compare that with Dell, shall we.

Dell creates a site where people can tell the company what it wants. People ask for Dell systems running Ubuntu, people get systems running Ubuntu in the US. People then ask for Dell systems running Ubuntu outside the US, and it looks like that may well happen.

Acer, by contrast, does not ask anyone what they want. As a result, it has no clue what anyone wants, but being a superior company that knows much better than mere customers what they want, it knows full well that people outside the US don't want Ubuntu running on their laptops - even though that is what they are telling Dell.

Guess which company I shall be buying from when Dell starts selling GNU/Linux systems in the UK? Guess which company I shall be recommending to people when they ask for advice about buying PCs in the UK? Guess which company can go and get knotted?

Update: Maybe there's hope.

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