With all the attention Linux has been getting recently, especially in the form of attention from major hardware vendors, the impact of Walmart’s decision to bring to market a $200 Linux PC (Everex TC2502 Green gPC w/ Via C7-D Processor) should be surprising.
The customers seem to love this computer, if you go by the product reviews: 56 reviewers gave it an overall 4-star rating. There were only two buyers who left one-star reviews, complaining about lack of performance or inability to run Windows XP (not true, since the hardware was certified as XP-compliant).
But what really surprised me was the fact that the item is listed as "out of stock", with a note explaining how you can "Step up to the Everex GC3502 for Double the Memory and Windows Vista Basic" instead. For an extra $100, you get: the exact same computer, but with an extra 1/2 gig of RAM and
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic.
Which is kind of funny, because you wouldn’t be able to run Vista on a PC with only a half-gigabyte of RAM.
Anyway, RAM’s pretty cheap these days. You can buy a full gigabyte from Walmart online for $40 or so. Which means you’d be paying roughly $60 for that low-end edition of Vista. In other words, you pay a 25% "Vista tax" on a $240 PC.
The big question is this: does Walmart make any money selling a $200 PC for $200, or is it just a loss-leader to get people in the store and sell them $240 PCs for $300?