Is it Better to Buy Directly from Apple?

A LockerGnome reader emailed in the question, “Would you say that Apple.com is the best place to buy an Apple product? Do you get a better warranty or cheaper price from the Apple Store?”

Thank you for these questions. While warranties are the same no matter which authorized retailer you purchase from, pricing can sometimes work to your benefit at an official Apple retail store.

For example, a student receives a slightly discounted price on most products sold on Apple.com and official Apple retail stores. This discount can, in many cases, cover any local sales taxes and even leave a little extra money in your pocket. Depending on shipping charges, this may be a better deal at a physical Apple Store than the website.

There are special prices available to you as well if you are a federal, state, or local government employee. Some businesses also have discount accounts with Apple that employees can take advantage of. These discounts generally don’t extend to authorized retailers unless they offer a similar discount of their own.

Shipping charges are a big factor in the overall price of products at Apple.com. Depending on your local tax rates, it may work out to your advantage to purchase from an authorized retailer in your local area. Some online retailers offer competitive pricing and free shipping during certain promotions, so it’s always good to keep an eye open for those deals as well.

I hope this answers your question, and thank you again for sending it in.

Amazon Appstore Launches For Android

In a release today from Amazon, they have launched the Android Appstore, which is the equivalent to the Apple iTunes App Store.

Amazon, which has deep roots in e-commerce, is looking to expand into the mobile marketplace. It is looking to sell apps better than Google can do on its own platform, which it could possibly do. We are all well aware of Google’s Android Marketplace and the reputation it has. Amazon’s Appstore has a great potential to outsell Google and take on Apple in the near future.

Starting tonight, Amazon Appstore will be accessible at amazon.com/appstore. Android device owners will be able to download the mobile version of the store to their device. With the store supporting hundreds of mobile providers and a variety of different devices, it will spread like wildfire very quickly.

We got a hint of this back in January when Amazon began to recruit a high amount of developers and persuade them to work on this project. With its initial launch, the Appstore will be loaded with 3,800 applications for users to download.

Amazon seems to be just dipping its feet into a slew of different content like music and e-books. This could potentially hurt its efforts due to the company having its attention split amongst other projects and aspects. However, the company seems to be confident of a huge payout at the end.

Currently Amazon cannot compete with the big boys just yet with Android Market and Apple iTunes spanning over 150,000 and 350,000 applications in their libraries. Amazon’s is taking aim at quality over quantity and launching with its biggest app being Angry Birds outfitted for the movie Rio.

Aaron Rubenson, leader of the Amazon Mobile Services division, said:

“The developer response has been really strong. We’ll be launching with a broad range of paid and free and the customers will find lots of best selling titles from Doodle Jump to Call of Duty to Zagat and Tweetcaster. The list goes on and it’s just day one. We are adding more every single day.”

All users and developers of mobile applications are having a common problem when publishing their apps, getting their apps discovered, and monetizing what makes their apps great. Amazon has promised that it will do four things to help with this problem:

  • Amazon will offer one free app a day to help with promotion.
  • Amazon will offer a feature called Test Drive, which allows a customer to try before they buy. Users will be able to open and use the app from within their computer browser. It will last for about 30 minutes before they are prompted to buy it.
  • Amazon will drive recommendations based on a user’s purchase history.
  • Amazon is also enabling one-click purchasing for anyone with a credit card on file.

Amazon is also proposing to do some unheard of things to drive app downloads:

For instance, if the developer recommends the app be sold at $1, and Amazon agrees, they’ll make 70 percent, or 70 cents on each download. If Amazon decides to make it free for a day, the developer will make 20 percent off their original recommendation of $1, or 20 cents. The developer will always make whichever is greater.

Amazon will mostly be relying on traffic and downloads by its own referrals to get the service going. After it has been out for a while, it plans to partner with carriers and device makers to get the Appsore natively on the device. Amazon said its first third-party partnership will be with Cellular South, which will make the Appstore available to its customers through preloads and other methods.

[Amazon Press Release]

If Online Retailers Are Forced To Pay State Sales Tax, Will You Stop Shopping On The Internet?

The battle between the states and online retailers such as Amazon and others is about to become more heated. Both sides have drawn lines in the sand and are not going to budge no matter how many threats are made. Amazon, because of its huge Web presence, seems to be the main target that the states are focusing on. The main thrust of the states appears to be the premise that if you have a physical presence in our state, you must collect sales tax. Amazon has sought protection from a claim by the state of Texas, stating that its distribution center, located in Texas, was an affiliate of Amazon. In the state of California, Amazon has threatened to cut off some 10,000 affiliates that make a living selling products on Amazon. Neither Texas nor California seem to be backing down and other states are now joining the effort to tax online sales. The states are claiming that the lack of online sales tax also hurts local brick and mortar stores, because the large online retailers can sell items that cost consumers less, especially when it comes to expensive electronics. States also claim that they are losing billions in sales tax revenues. States further state that shopping locally provides jobs, which is good for the local economy. Tax opponents claim that city, county, state, and federal governments have overspent these tax dollars for frivolous pet projects. It is also claimed by some that taxing online sales would become a nightmare for some smaller retailers online who would also be forced into having to collect taxes. This in turn would force many mom and pop online companies out of business. No matter whether a sales tax is imposed or not, I believe I would continue to shop online. I enjoy the convenience of letting my fingers do the work without having to go to a store and fight the crowds to obtain the same product. I also find it less expensive to shop online now that gas prices are continuing to climb. So for me it is more about convenience than cost. Don’t get me wrong. I checked out prices as well to make sure I am getting the best deal. But what about you? Would you stop shopping online if sales tax was imposed? Comments welcome. Source – SF Gate

Walmart Is Offering Free Online Shipping To Increase Sales

Walmart is going to be providing free shipping on their online Web sites beginning now until December 20, 2010, The retailing giant is hoping to increase its sales by using free shipping as an incentive to consumers to do their shopping with it. They company hopes that this offer will lure shoppers from the likes of Amazon and other online retailers this holiday season.

One recent article states that:

But given Walmart’s scale and influence in the marketplace, its free pass for shipping sets a new high — or low — in e-commerce. And it may create an expectation among consumers — free shipping, no minimum, always — that would make it harder for smaller e-commerce sites to survive.

Walmart says it will not raise prices to offset shipping and will not press shippers, like UPS and FedEx, to absorb the costs. But Walmart and other big retailers already have low-price contracts with shippers, and the stores maintain distribution centers nationwide that reduce shipping distances and costs.

For smaller retailers and Web sites, which pay regular mail rates and may ship from only one location, free shipping is not nearly as affordable and often must be added into prices.

This is one statement that I agree with:

Retailers say that shoppers have already started to revolt against shipping fees. While consumers are sensitive to what an item costs online, shipping costs can have even more influence, according to market research.

I will not order an item online from any retailer when I see a high shipping and handling rate. I have seen some items offered for sale on Amazon or eBay where the shipping fee is more than the cost of the item. If online retailers want my business, they’d better offer free or low-cost shipping on the items they sell.

What about you? Are shipping costs a factor in your online purchases?

Comments welcome.

Source – NY Times

5 Sales Pitches That Sucker Us Into Buying More Than We Want

As the holiday season approaches, we will be seeing more and more sale items. These sale pitches are designed to lure us into spending more of our hard-earned money that we originally planed on. But who can not resist a sale? Here are 5 of the basic sale pitches that are used over and over again that many of us fall for.

1. “Shop today and save 50% next week.”

Aimed at: Your best intentions.

Why you fall for it: The promise of bigger savings in the future appeals to people who think they can game the system, says Lars Perner, an assistant professor of clinical marketing at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. You figure on buying just one or two things now, then returning to pick up a few more. But volume-driven retailers are using the now-and-later tactic this year to steer consumers back to stores when they know they’ll have new stock or other promotions that help you buy more than you planned.

2. “Limit five per person.”

Aimed at: Your competitive spirit.

Why you fall for it: Limits trigger a feeling that the deal is so great that, if not for that limit-four-per-customer rule, shoppers would be filling their carts to the brim, leaving none for you, says L.J. Shrum, the president of the Society for Consumer Psychology and the marketing department chair at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Setting a limit increases the likelihood you’ll buy at least one, and it’s even more effective if you were already planning to buy one of the item.

I just fell for this. I bought the grand kids Wii games on Amazon which had a buy 2 get one free sale. What a deal! The only problem was that this was not their most popular games, but just the games that have a low sale volume. The sale was limited to one order per customer.

3. “Our Big Sale ends tomorrow/today/in a few hours.”

Aimed at: Your survival instincts.

Why you fall for it: Fear, pure and simple. This tactic appeals to a basic instinct to grab what’s available or be left without, says Noah Goldstein, an assistant professor of human resources and organizational behavior at the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles. Think of the crowds stocking up on bottled water and canned goods before a major storm comes through. In those frenzied hours, it’s a matter of survival.

4. “Get 23% off.”

Aimed at: Your love of a bargain.

Why you fall for it: Real estate brokers have long known that uneven pricing (say, $524,755 versus $525,000) catches buyers’ attention, because those odd numbers suggest a bargain that has already been marked down — whether that’s actually the case or not.

5. “We have a great deal on the accessories for that, too.”

Aimed at: Your long-term investor.

Why you fall for it: Once the consumer has already made a decision to buy and to pay, it’s easier to convince them to add related — but maybe unnecessary — items to their purchase, Shrum says. That’s because in your mind, you already own the product, making you more vulnerable to pitches for things that promise to make the purchase more useful or less vulnerable. A 2009 Carnegie Mellon study found that consumers were more likely to buy warranties on purchases if they thought doing so would extend the life of their gadget or preserve its value. And shoppers who felt they were being offered an un-advertised deal were 42% more likely to buy.

What sale gimmicks do you fall for?

Comments welcome

Source – Smart Money

7 Major Annoyances Courtesy Of Your Local Retailer

I read an article this morning that I thought I would share with you, concerning some of the tactics retailers use to squeeze every dollar we have from our pockets and purses. Some of the tactics have been around for a long time, but some are new and just plain annoying. The list contains 15 annoyances which I have trimmed down to the 7 that annoy me most.

Here is my list:

Constantly Rearranging the Shelves
Shoppers want to find the item they came for quickly. Yet stores often rearrange displays as a way to get customers to scan more shelves. One reader writes of a retailer that was constantly moving items so she couldn’t find the one brand of shampoo she was looking for. “I realized they were trying to get me to look at everything every time I went in there so I would be tempted to buy more. I stopped going there.” Another reader came up with a name for the supermarket version: “I call this the ‘Hide the Groceries Game.'”

I hate this one. One of our local stores just got finished playing this game. I now shop at the competition. It may not do any good but it makes me feel better.

Staples Are in the Back A familiar complaint is the time-honored supermarket tactic of putting the most sought-after staples at the back of the store. “I hate it when they stick the milk, eggs, butter all the way in the furthest back corner of the store,” writes one reader. “Then they put all that candy, gum, soda, and magazines at the register.”

Telling You How Much You “Saved”
Many readers find it annoying that, as they’re paying their bill, the cashier will often tell them how much they supposedly saved by shopping there. “That I call insulting your intelligence,” says one commenter. Even worse, another reader notes that when you turn down the much-despised store credit card offer, the salesperson will sometimes say, “‘You could have saved X dollars if you had our card.’ It’s like you’re a child, and they’re scolding you.”
The next time a clerk tells you how much you saved, stick out your hand and tell them you’ll take it in cash!
Putting a Coupon on the Receipt
These deals often require another trip to the same store in a week’s time to take advantage of this new deal. One reader complains: “So to save $10 dollars using the certificate, you must return to the store, spending time, gas and mileage added to your car, and then spend another $50 dollars or more. This circle is vicious!”

Too Much Fine Print
Our readers are getting quite tired of the complexities of discount offers and promotions. Several respondents gave examples of times they brought coupons to a store, picked out items and were told at check-out that the item is excluded from the sale. One reader vents:”You have to be a bloomin’ lawyer to get that fourth 12-pack of Pepsi for ‘free.'”

Rebates
Need we say more? Not only are they a bureaucratic nightmare, but stores count on many consumers forgetting to mail in the documents. This frustration was common: “I always seem to miss the mail-in rebate somehow. So ‘free’ is never free for me. Not at all.”

Mispriced Items
Readers say they frequently find that the price listed on the shelf — or even on the item itself — is lower than the price rung up at the register. Many think stores do this on purpose, hoping customers won’t notice or bother to complain. “I want it at the cost that was marked,” says one reader. “Get the manager.”

What annoys you the most? Share your thoughts with us.

Comments welcome

Hackers Love To Attack Hotel Databases To Grab Credit Card Info

In a recent survey it was found that 38% of credit card hacking cases happened at hotels. In its report, Spider Labs, which is a data-security consulting firm for Trustwave, confirmed this fact. For many of us who thought that most credit card thefts occurred at retail locations, this should be an eye opener. The hotel industry wants to keep the information away from the public, since the current recession has already cut deep into its revenues. The report also stated that because of the decline of revenue, many hotels are unable to upgrade their security which adds to the problem.

In a recent N.Y. Times article it went on to state that:

Why hotels? Well, to paraphrase the bank robber Willie Sutton, hackers hit hotels because that is where the richest vein of personal credit card data is. At hotels with inadequate data security, “the greatest amount of credit card information can be obtained using the most simplified methods,” said Anthony C. Roman, a private security investigator with extensive experience in the hotel industry.

“It doesn’t require brilliance on the part of the hacker,” Mr. Roman said. “Most of the chronic security breaches in the hotel industry are the result of a failure to equip, or to properly store or transmit, this kind of data, and that starts with the point-of-sale credit card swiping systems.”

ABC News reported that Destination had been victimized by “an intense database attack that lasted over three months,” and quoted law enforcement authorities saying that losses, which totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars, averaged $2,000 to $3,000 on each of the estimated 700 credit card numbers stolen.

Which brings up two things I do on a regular basis: I check my credit card statements several times a week looking for any suspicious activity; I also have a credit card I use when away from home that has a $1,000 limit. I also use this same card to make purchases on the Internet from various online merchants.

What do you do to protect yourself?

Comments welcome.

Source – N.Y. Times

What Are The Best Places To Buy An HDTV? Share Your Thoughts

Any time I read an article about the best places to buy anything, I wonder if the stores that are recommended are paying to be ranked higher on the list. So when I read an article about where the best places are to buy a HDTV, I actually used my own buying experience, which agreed with what the article had recommended. Does this mean that these are the absolute best stores at which to shop? You decide.

A recent article stated:

Our research for this story covered ten retailers: Amazon.com, Best Buy, CDW, Newegg, RadioShack, Sears, Staples, Target, TigerDirect.com, and Walmart. Nationally, the highest-ranked retailer for large HDTVs was Best Buy, which im­­pressed us with the range of models it had available. The Best Buy salespeople we spoke to earned high marks for their answers to our HDTV questions. The best information came from staffers who worked in the store’s television department; they usually explained technical details—such as refresh rate and contrast ratio—with accuracy, clarity, and patience.

Here are how the other  retailers were ranked in the article:

Amazon was the top online-only retailer of HDTVs in our research, thanks in large part to having the best, most diverse selection of models and manufacturers.

Both Newegg and TigerDirect have a reasonable selection of HDTV models and regularly offer good deals.

In our research, most Sears employees impressed us with their polite, professional attitude.

Target and Walmart are best left to consumers who seek smaller sets (32 inches and under) and aren’t looking for answers to tech questions.

RadioShack has a quite limited selection of HDTVs.

My personal experience includes HDTV purchases from Best Buy and also from Amazon. Both purchases met my needs and pocketbook at the time and I would recommend both companies. I also have to agree with the take on Walmart employees. They provide little knowledge in my experience.

What do you think?  Who would you buy a HDTV from?

Comments welcome.

Source – The best places to buy HDTVs

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Home Depot To Pay Ex-Employee $25M For Invention

When Michael Powell invented a device called ‘Safe Hands’ that protected workers from slicing off their fingers while cutting wood at Home Depot, he offered to sell his invention to the company at $2,000 per installed protector. Instead, Home Depot executives stole his invention, duplicated the device, and installed it at 2,000 stores. One arrogant Home Depot executive, when confronted that the invention belonged to Powell, stated ‘F**k Michael Powell, let him sue us.’ And that is exactly what Powell did.

A recent news article states:

The crass response typifies the company’s attitude toward Powell, who crafted a simple, yet ingenious, way to keep Home Depot employees from slicing off their fingers while they’re cutting wood for customers, a federal judge said Monday.

“Home Depot knew exactly what it was doing,” U.S. District Judge Daniel Hurley said. “They simply pushed Mr. Powell away and they did it totally and completely for their own economic benefit.”

Calling the company callous and arrogant, he ordered it to pay the former Boca Raton man $3 million in punitive damages. That’s on top of the $15 million a jury in March said the company should pay him for stealing his so-called “Safe Hands” gadget that is now affixed to radial saws at nearly 2,000 Home Depots nationwide.

The damages for Home Depot don’t end there. Hurley also ordered the firm to pay Powell’s attorneys the $2.8 million they say they are owed, and to pay Powell an estimated $1 million in interest annually on the judgment. The interest began building in 2006 and will continuing accruing until Home Depot pays up.

The roughly $25 million judgment could have been avoided had the company agreed in 2004 to pay Powell the $2,000 he offered to charge for each device. That bill would have come to $4 million.

I would venture a guess that the Home Depot executive will still get a hefty bonus, despite his arrogant behavior that cost the company money. After all, that does seem to be the way corporate America functions!

Comments welcome.

Source – The Palm Beach Post News

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CompUSA & Circuit City Are Being Resurrected From The Dead

Two of the major electronic retailers, CompUSA and Circuit City are posed for a comeback if one company has their way. That company is little known Systemax, which is not exactly a household name. But you may know one of their companies which is Tiger Direct.

Thus far Systemax has brought back 3 CompUSA stores in the Tampa, FL. area. Currently Circuit City is only available online for purchases. But other plans are on the way. According to one recent article it states that:

Along the way, Systemax also bought the intellectual property and brand of CircuitCity, another victim of the downturn. That brand is coming back to life. Systemax is operating CircuitCity as an online-only merchant, in some respects competing with Amazon or other Internet retailers.

CompUSA was always a good place for real computer people to get oddball hardware or doodads to amp up their PCs – a graphics card, a new motherboard, etc. And much of that will stick around. There’s a large service desk for PC repair and upgrades.

Recently, the store hosted “Overclock” contests, where true propeller-head guys open up demo PCs, and retool their innards to run at a higher pace – kind of like ramping up a four-cyclinder Toyota to absurdly high RPMs.

“We had one contest where people were cheering and chanting ‘Overclock! Overclock!’ until the hardware snapped,” Paul said. “We’ll still have things like that.”

But now, TVs take a much more prominent role, with more than 65 different models from 19 inches to 73 inches, something never seen in an old CompUSA.

As for how CompUSA will compete against other electronics giants, Paul said he expects store managers to make more decisions locally about how to help customers work through their problems. Something akin to a neighborhood electronics shop, but with the deep resources of a national chain.

What is great about these stores coming back to life is that will offer additional competition in the electronic retail market. I am sure we all can agree that the more competition there is, the better the prices are for we consumers.

Comments welcome.

Source.

Microsoft Is Hiring At Its First Retail Stores

If you live in or near Mission Viejo, CA or Scottsdale, AZ, Microsoft may have a job offering for you. The company is hiring sales managers, sales associates – full & part time, and also other positions are being offered. Its career site states:

Microsoft Store Careers

You have unique experiences, skills and passions—and we believe you can bring them all to Microsoft for a rich, rewarding career and lifestyle that will surprise you with its breadth and potential. Just imagine the excitement and satisfaction of what you can do, where you can go, and the difference you can make with the resources of Microsoft behind you.

Take a look at the jobs that are being offered at the site below.

Comments welcome.

Microsoft employment site

Windows 7 Pricing Is Finally Here

It seems that Microsoft is finally letting us in on their pricing scheme for the newest Windows operating system. On their Windows 7 blog they list the following pricing policy:

So here’s the low-down on pricing for Windows 7. The estimated retail prices for upgrade packaged retail product of Windows 7 in the U.S. are:

  • Windows 7 Home Premium (Upgrade): $119.99
  • Windows 7 Professional (Upgrade): $199.99
  • Windows 7 Ultimate (Upgrade): $219.99

And the estimated retail prices for full packaged retail product of Windows 7 in the U.S. are:

  • Windows 7 Home Premium (Full): $199.99
  • Windows 7 Professional (Full): $299.99
  • Windows 7 Ultimate (Full): $319.99

This means that Windows 7 Home Premium full retail product is $40.00 less than Windows Vista Home Premium today.

But there is more:

Finally, as a way of saying thank you to our loyal Windows customers, we are excited to introduce a special time limited offer! We will offer people in select markets the opportunity to pre-order Windows 7 at a more than 50% discount. In the US, this will mean you can pre-order Windows 7 Home Premium for USD $49.99 or Windows 7 Professional for USD $99.99. You can take advantage of this special offer online via select retail partners such as Best Buy or Amazon, or the online Microsoft Store (in participating markets).

This program begins tomorrow in the U.S., Canada and Japan. The offer ends July 11th in the U.S. and Canada and on July 5th for Japan or while supplies last. Customers in the UK, France and Germany, can pre-order their copy of Windows 7 starting July 15th and will run until August 14th (or supplies last) to ensure folks don’t miss out on this. Act fast if you want to be the first in line to get Windows 7 at this screaming deal! Note: The special low pre-order price will vary per country.

So there you have it. The official pricing from Redmond.

Opinions?

Comments welcome.

Source.

Microsoft To Stop Selling Boxed Money Plus Software

Microsoft is changing the way it will distribute its personal finance software. The company plans to stop selling Money Plus in boxed form. Also there will be no release for the year 2009. The company feels there is no need for incremental improvements. In a blog statement the company also says the following:

Annual Release Change

  • Microsoft Money Plus continues to be a valuable tool for our customers; however the feedback we are hearing is that the incremental updates to the software don’t merit a new product every year. Given this, we have decided against releasing a 2009 version of Money Plus.
  • We are moving off of an annual release cycle for Microsoft Money Plus (no Money 2009 version in the fall), with future release dates TBD. Money Plus continues to be a valuable tool for our customers, however the feedback we are hearing loud and clear is that, after 17 years in the market, the incremental updates to the software don’t merit a new product release every year. Given this, we have decided against releasing a 2009 version of Money Plus.

100% Online distribution (out of the packaging business and physical retail store shelves)

  • More and more retail consumers are going online to shop the endless rows of digital shelves. In response to our retail partners’ needs, consumer behavior and business efficiencies, Microsoft is focusing distribution efforts for Microsoft Money Plus software online via download and discontinuing traditional box sales of the software at retail.
  • Microsoft Money Plus will continue to be available at retail outlets while supplies last. We have stopped shipping new product to retail outlets.
  • We have been listening to our customers and analyzing market trends and business dynamics and feel that distribution the software product online will provide our customers with the right mix of products and services that will meet their needs.

The combination of Money Plus and MSN Money will continue to provide a comprehensive source for our customer’s money and personal finance needs. Through the various tools and tight integration with the site, Money Plus customers can get a complete view of their finances, understand what bills have been paid and which are due, access stock information and tap into the extensive list of financial experts on MSN Money for tips and guidance.

Microsoft also states that this in no way is an indication that the company is getting away from boxed distribution of its software. Instead it will distribute the software online. This comes as no real surprise since for years it haa been expected that retail boxed software was on its way out in favor of online distributions.

What do you think? Is this the start of online distribution of future software?

Comments welcome.

Source

Buying Computers Online vs Buying From A Retail Store

There was a time when the only way to buy a descent computer system was to order one directly from the OEM’s. Dell, Gateway among others, were the sole proprietors of the online computer business. This usually required a call to a sales representative who would take your order, and also try to steer the consumer over to a more expensive model. Since the representatives were paid a commission on the sale, the more expensive the unit, the more they made.  I recall as little as 5 years ago, clients inquiring about a Dell system, were advised to call Dell direct or hop online to place the their order.

Today, most of the major retail outlets such as Best Buy,  Circuit City, Wal-Mart and so on, carry pre-configured systems that the consumer can buy direct. For the most part a consumer can purchase a fairly decent system at a reasonable price, especially when a unit is on sale. But there are sevral problems that have surfaced recently that makes one wonder if these purchases are the right way to go.

Take Dell as an example. Best Buy now carries the Dell laptop and desktop systems. But buyers must be aware that even though a system may carry the Dell name and logo, it is Best Buy’s Geek Squad that provides the service for warranty repairs. Though a consumer may call Dell for extremely limited support, I believe that is only for about 5 minutes, while the bulk of technical support must be by the Geek Squad.

Most of us are also aware that if you buy a system from Dell and get a businesses model, you get stateside technical support and if you qualify, on site repairs.

FWIW – Gateway will be only selling on the retail market.

Which brings up a question I have. Do you think it is a good idea to buy a system from one of the retailers, or is it better to still buy direct?

Comments welcome.

Source.

Ubuntu Linux To Be Sold At Best Buy For $19.95

Ubuntu Linux [Canonical]  has decided to offer a boxed retail version for folks who can not or do not wish to download the freebie version. In a statement from Canonical it mentions that the boxed version will come with a manual and also 60 days of support. The announcement also states:

The aim is to provide Ubuntu to users who want the software and support conveniently presented in a boxed set. Making it available through Best Buy is an opportunity to reach users who are unaware of Ubuntu or who are bandwidth restricted and don’t want to download Ubuntu themselves

The Valusoft and Canonical teams have worked hard on the packaging to show how Ubuntu has a program for the common activities that users need such as “Web Browsing”, “Productivity Suite” and “Email”. This makes it much easier for a consumer to work out if Ubuntu is right for them. I think the teams have done a great job presenting Ubuntu simply and concisely.

Bringing Linux and free software to new categories  of users is fundamental to our mission at Canonical. Valusoft. By adding a 60 day support service, ValuSoft are making it easier for consumers to install and get started with Ubuntu. Installing an operating system of any kind is still a scary task for many people so offering a ‘helping hand’ is a great reassurance for the new user and will help tremendously with the success of the product in this category.

We’ve very happy to be working with ValuSoft to make Ubuntu available to a wider range of users. And if you’ve been thinking about  a great  way to introduce someone new to Ubuntu then you could always hop to your local Best Buy for a brand new Ubuntu in a box!

Hmm………..the timing is interesting. Just when Xandros buys Linspire, both of which were paid Liunx versions, it seems strange that Canonical would take this approach. Or is it that Linux as a freebie can no longer survive? I always wondered what motivated people to provide a free operating system. Both Microsoft and Apple make a tidy sum with paid versions of operating systems. Why not Linux?

Is this the start to the end of the free Linux effort? Why haven’t people flocked to Linux?  If it is free why do people continue to  pay for operating systems from Microsoft and Apple?

Comments welcome.

Source.