Dell's OfficeWorks retail deal: No Linux yet, XP to come

Customers can configure their own Dell machines in selected OfficeWorks stores – but Ubuntu Linux is not on offer yet.

Dell's retail partnership with OfficeWorks to deliver its range desktop PCs and laptops will offer Australian customers the chance to configure their own Dell machines in selected OfficeWorks stores -- but Ubuntu Linux will not be on offer just yet.

A select number of OfficeWorks stores will have staff on hand to assist customers in configuring their own machines, using its build-to-order facilities.

"With our consumer range, we don't have Linux as an option here in Australia," said Evan Williams, Dell general manager of consumer sales and marketing for South Asia.

Williams did confirm that Dell has been looking closely at providing a Linux operating system on its consumer range of PCs and laptops, and will continue to consider it based upon customer feedback and its success in other countries.

"No we don't have a time frame at this stage, but it has been successful [in other markets]," he said.

Dell currently offers Ubuntu Linux 7.10 on its US range of consumer laptops and PCs, including its Inspiron 530 n-Series, Inspiron 1525N, Inspiron 1420N, and XPS M1330 models.

Evans also confirmed that Windows XP will be available as an option in its build-to-order offering for customers not wanting to move to Windows Vista.

According to OfficeWorks spokesperson Felicia Booth, the PC and laptop stock that is going into its 104 stores nationally next week will only have a Vista operating system available, but the retail outlets will be adding to that range in the coming weeks and some of the systems to be stocked will offer Windows XP.

OfficeWorks will set its own pricing for in-store inventory and it will offer 10 PC models, most of which will offer different specifications to those Dell sells online and will initially be based on Windows Vista. Prices will range from $999 to $1800 and the PCs will be available from May 5. OfficeWorks will also be selling Dell laser printers, LCD displays, projectors and accessories as part of the new retail deal.

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