Wal-Mart Yanks Linux PC From Shelves, Keeps Them Online - InformationWeek

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3/11/2008
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Wal-Mart Yanks Linux PC From Shelves, Keeps Them Online

The sale of Everex gPCs was a test run more than a gung ho endorsement of Linux's readiness, according to the retailer.




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Based on the gOS Rocket Linux operating system, Everex's gPC2 now sells for $199 at Walmart.com.


After only a few months on the shelves, the plug has been pulled on the Linux experiment at Wal-Mart stores.

Wal-Mart had been selling Everex's gPC for $199 since November, but decided to scrap the offering in its stores. The retailer will continue to sell the PC at its online store. "It looks like this particular product serves our online customer space best and that's where we'll continue sales of Everex," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Melissa O'Brien said in an interview.

Wal-Mart.com sells nine different Everex models, including two Linux laptops and the gPC's successor gPC2, which is a Linux desktop like the gPC. The Linux models range from $199 to $399. They all run gOS, a Linux distribution created by Good OS that comes bundled with icons to launch a number of Google-run and other online services. A company spokesman told InformationWeek last year that the gPC had been a "top performer" online.

Other major retailers, including Best Buy and Sears, also sell Linux-based PCs through their Web sites, though not in stores.

The sale of Everex gPCs in Wal-Mart stores was a test run more than a gung ho endorsement of Linux's readiness, according to Wal-Mart. The company only offered Everex gPCs in 600 of its more than 6,800 stores worldwide, with some stores only getting one Everex gPC to sell.

"It has to do with what customers are shopping for in our stores," O'Brien said. "There's a limited amount we can sell and display in stores." Wal-Mart is known for doing extensive data mining to figure out what items should be sold and how at Wal-Mart stores.

O'Brien earlier told the Associated Press that Wal-Mart had sold out of the first run of Everex gPC's, but she wasn't able to express that same certainty to InformationWeek. Thus, it's unclear if the company decided to cancel the offer due entirely to a lack of demand.

Linux is not necessarily Everex's strong suit. On its own Web site, Everex recommends Windows Vista Home Premium to buyers, not gOS. The gPC is also a relatively stripped down desktop. Its 512 Mbytes of RAM is barely enough to run the cheapest versions of Microsoft Windows Vista, and it doesn't come with a monitor. Everex didn't respond to inquiries in time for this article.

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