22 October 2008

Welcome Back, Old Fruit

The Apricot brand for computers goes back a long way - I was there, unfortunately. Remarkably, it consistently managed to misread the market at just about every turn - from choosing a daft name that was so obviously modelled on Apple's, to the decision to offer only MS-DOS rather than PC-DOS with its PC line ("good enough" we were told at the time), to the hopelessly premature voice-controlled portable system (I'll never forget the sight of Apricot managers shouting, red-faced, into the weird microphone in a desperate attempt to get it to recognise something - anything). And don't even ask about the dancing girls at the launches of their business machines....

Well, Apricot is back with a bang:

Apricot has pulled the plug on its Linux-based netbook, choosing instead to offer the pint-sized Picobook Pro only with Windows XP.


"Apricot will not be selling with Linux variants," a company missive revealed, which suggests it's not merely dropping SuSE for Ubuntu or another netbook-friendly distro.

"Apricot has made this decision to ensure customers have a smooth installation of their operating system," the company told Register Hardware.

"The Linux version proved too complicated with initial testers, who would opt to purchase and install XP any way.

"Apricot believes that this will be a more attractive product offering for their target customers, because as soon as it is switched on, it is ready for use."

Strange, then, that Asus has managed to make GNU/Linux ultraportables that are not only "ready for use" as soon as you switch them on, but extremely easy to use, too; and strange that Asus is so successful with these models. Just a coincidence, presumably.


Anonymous said...

Or maybe it's not worth their while since Linux netbooks are returned so much more often than Windows ones while their retail outlets are also more limited by lack of consumer interest in Linux.

Glyn Moody said...

Well, that doesn't seem to be the view of the Asus CEO:

"I think the return rate for the Eee PCs are low but I believe the Linux and Windows have similar return rates. We really separate the products into different user groups. A lot of users like the Windows XP, but in Europe a lot of people want the Linux option."