According the recent sales figures by Dell, the Inspiron Mini 9 netbook running Ubuntu Linux has been remarkably successful and experienced supremely low return-rates.
Unfortunately, MSI has been returned a great deal of its netbooks by consumers. A few months ago its MSI Wind netbooks running SuSE Linux brought in return rates four times greater than those of Wind netbooks running XP.
Dell’s Jay Pinkert, however, is pleased with Linux sales: “A third of our Mini 9 mix is Linux, which is well above the standard attach rate for other systems that offer Linux.” He thinks the growth of Linux netbooks by Dell is due to competitive pricing on Ubuntu SKUs. To Dell senior produce manager John New, price is key:
“When you look at the sweet spot for this category it is price sensitivity, and Linux enabled us to offer a lower price entry point.”
The extra energy Dell puts into explaining what Linux is may dissuade less savvy consumers from instantly going for the lower price, leading to the low return rates. In addition, the Mini 9 has a nice new graphical user interface for easier netbooking, which may contributed as well.