As Dell and Acer Duke it Out, Their Open Source Stances Matter
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As Dell and Acer Duke it Out, Their Open Source Stances Matter
by Sam Dean - Jun. 29, 2009Comments (9)
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For so many years, Taiwan-based Acer was an under-the-radar computer manufacturer. Although it has been the number three player, behind Hewlett-Packard and Dell, for a long time, even the company's previous business strategy tended to keep it anonymous. Acer used to make computers that other companies would put their brands on. It was better known overseas than in the United States.All that is changing now--big time--and how both Dell and Acer approach open source is an important component of the competition between the two companies. As The New York Times reports, Acer now stands a good chance of surpassing Dell as the number two computer manufacturer. Among other things, Acer made shrewd moves in the laptop arena, particularly when it comes to netbooks. The New York Times quotes Roger L. Kay, an analyst and president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, as saying "Acer is a real comer," and Intel CEO Paul Otellini as saying "they have done a spectacular job." The Times also gets most of the reasons why Acer is threatening to surpass Dell. Acer quit its strategy of making no-name PCs that others could put their brands on a few years ago. It shifted its focus toward laptops, which has paid off as consumers have started to buy more laptops than business people do. (That same trend has hurt Dell.) Its line of Aspire One netbooks is a huge hit, based in part on slick, consumer-friendly designs, and larger keyboards than many netbooks have.Acer ships its Aspire One netbooks in both Windows and Linux versions. Meanwhile, Dell has a new line of netbooks out, which are available with either Windows or Ubuntu. Dell would like to have the same kind of success that Acer has had in the netbook arena, but that may take time, and Dell is suffering from a punishing business hardware buying environment.Dell has recently launched an effort to ship computers to buyers in the small- and medium-sized business (SMB) market, pre-loaded with free, open source software. The effort is dubbed "SMB in-a-box." Meanwhile, Acer seems to be putting more focus on selling Windows-based laptops and netbooks than on Linux-based ones, although the company does have plans to ship Android netbooks starting in the third quarter.I'm betting that Dell's SMB in-a-box strategy may work well, as smaller business face tough economic times. That's especially likely if Dell supports the bundled open source software. It will take time for the company to catch up to Acer in the netbook arena, but I like the fact that buyers of Dell netbooks can pick Windows or Ubuntu. If Dell, which has always had a close partnership with Microsoft, continues to explore new ways to offer consumers and businesses cost-savings and efficiencies through open source software, it can only improve the company's odds in competing with Acer. That competition has become a game of inches.
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by Richard Carmody on Jun. 29, 2009It is amazing to see Acer, without a significant marketing budget, just plug away and is now almost past Dell. Wow. I guess the netbook market has been friendly to Acer too. Good for them!
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by eggdeng on Jun. 29, 2009Acer got a head start on Dell in the netbook market but IMHO Dell's Inspiron Minis are way ahead of the Aspire Ones in terms of both build quality and OS version (fully-fleged ubuntu vs hacked & crippled fedora aka Linpus). I recommend anyone considering a netbook to take a good look at the Inspiron 10v.
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by David Gerard on Jun. 30, 2009Anyone with a netbook should just put the latest Ubuntu Netbook Remix on it. It's really nice and fantastically usable. I've been using it on an MSI Wind U100. I'm a years-long KDE devotee saying this: they've made GNOME not suck. In fact, I'm about to put it on a couple of full-sized laptops (12" and 15").
The only possible minus point for the serious Unix fan: the window manager runs all windows maximised (because netbook screens are little). I haven't found this much of a nuisance in practice, but your mileage will of course vary.
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by an anonymous user on Jun. 30, 2009David,
It's not the windows manager that maximizes everything, it's a program called maximus that starts up when you log in. You can disable it and your windows won't be maximized.
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by Prakash Bhargav on Jul. 01, 2009The growth of Acer has been steady and consistent for quite a long time. The launch of eMachines in the Indian subcontinent has vindicated that they are looking for a wider maket than before. The machines are purely value for money and have features worth to brag about. The revolutionary product that they have in their basket is surely the Revo!!!. No wonder they are numro uno in nettops and second in laptops section.
Love and Peace
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by Alex Luft on Jul. 09, 2009I have an acer and believe that it is much better than the latter.
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by cheap computers on Sep. 14, 2009I think it shifted its focus toward laptops, which has paid off as consumers have started to buy more laptops than business people do.
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by an anonymous user on Sep. 24, 2009acer is way better than dell!
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by David on Apr. 21, 2011I have 4 dells and have been burned with two of them. Would like to see Acer succeed.
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