[linux-elitists] Lenovo ThinkPad survey

Greg KH greg at kroah.com
Fri Jul 31 13:11:36 PDT 2015

On Fri, Jul 31, 2015 at 08:36:08AM -0700, Don Marti wrote:
> We all know the PC business is brutal.  It's like
> running an airline, except that you have to not only
> deliver a minimal-price commodified experience, based
> on inputs you don't control, to someone who hates you,
> but you have to support it for years.
> The way I see it there are two ways out.  One is on
> display every day at the most crowded, best-run store
> at your local high-end mall.  Control the entire
> platform, hardware and software, so you can capture
> all the value of the whole product and afford to make
> a machine that users will want.
> The other way out is to let everybody who has
> the skill and incentive control the platform.
> (See "Coase theorem" on Wikipedia and the RMS printer
> jam notification problem.) Make a commodity business
> work like a commodity business, not one that pretends
> to be integrated and shiny until things break and
> the illusion fails.

You are forgetting the third way, which is what everyone except the
first option above is doing, "Receive subsidies from the OS vendor to be
able to sell the hardware at a price to make a profit."

If I was in that business, I would do that too.  It's hard to compete
against a negative price point for an operating system.

Also read Michael Meeks's great article about the economics involved
and one possible way forward.

Note, Michael and I were on a team that sold preinstalled Linux on a
number of different hardware company's laptops, and made money doing it
for a few years.  But those companies were just playing the market,
using Linux as a lever to get a better rate from another company, and
then the iPad came along and killed the netbook market, and almost the
entire consumer laptop market as well.

good luck,

greg k-h

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