A very long time ago (Monday), a Newegg customer wrote to the Consumerist tipline, complaining that her laptop exchange was denied because she had installed Linux on the machine. After we published her story, Newegg rushed to issue her a refund and told us that changing or upgrading the OS of a computer doesn’t mean that you can’t exchange it if it’s defective. Which would be a nice happy ending and all, except for how customer service reps are still telling customers the exact opposite of that.
Yesterday, we shared the story of Norma, whose new Thinkpad notebook computer from Newegg had a serious display glitch after only a few days of use. She sent the defective computer back, only to be told that they wouldn’t exchange it because she had installed Linux. “This voids Newegg warranty,” the RMA department told her in an e-mail. “Unit cannot be accepted or resold as received.” We reached out to Newegg for clarification, and they told us that this is not their policy, and they do accept computers back after the operating system has been upgraded or changed. Yay?
One would think that Newegg, beloved electronics supplier to the world’s geeks wouldn’t have a problem with customers installing different operating systems on their systems after delivery. Heck, they should expect it. Which is why Norma was surprised when she returned her new Thinkpad that had a glitchy display after only three days, and Newegg refused the RMA. Why? Well, she had installed Linux Mint on it, which voids the Newegg return policy for computers. Update: Newegg tells us that, oops, this was all a terrible mistake.
A small Texas computer company won a $5 million district court judgment against Google, which a jury found in violation of a Linux-related patent due to proprietary code for storing and retrieving information that was found in Google software.
Installing a different operating system on a computer does not change its hardware. This is a simple enough concept…unless you work in technical support for HP. Their phone tech support have joined their Geek Squad brethren in insisting that a Linux-infested laptop was no longer under warranty.
Kyle didn’t want to put Windows back on his netbook just so his problem would fit phone support’s standard script. He tried to make tech support see logic…and eventually they did. (Or gave him a new battery so he would go away, but the end result is the same.)
Adam ordered an older netbook from geeks.com. When it arrived, the wireless Internet didn’t work, so he upgraded the version of Ubuntu Linux from 8.04 to 10.04. This just broke almost everything else on the computer. He returned the netbook to geeks.com, but didn’t expect them to offer a full refund of the purchase price and shipping — which goes against the stated return policy.
Dell sells lots of computers that run on Windows. It sells a few that run on Linux. Apparently eager to sell a few more of the latter, Dell boasted on its site that the free operating system is “safer than Microsoft Windows.” Bad idea. The claim has vanished, replaced by the less specific “Ubuntu [Linux] is secure.”
Apparently the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, New York took a look at available cheap computing power and decided that the PS3 with Linux was the way to go — until Sony removed the ability to install the OS with their latest firmware update. Now the Air Force is stuck with a lot of PS3s that can’t be repaired if they break — because Sony will update the firmware to remove the option to install Linux.
For some reason, Citibank won’t let customers using Linux computers log in to their online accounts. Adam argues that in 2009 this doesn’t make sense, especially when no other major corporate website blocks him like this.
A recent flurry of reports on the internets claim that Microsoft has been training Best Buy employees to push customers away from Linux and Mac systems to those running Windows. While some posts claim that the Gatesians are teaching Best Buy workers to become “Linux assassins,” most of what’s going on looks like typical retail marketing: a deep-pocketed supplier working with a chain to hawk its products more aggressively. However, Linux pros are up in arms about “inaccuracies” in the Microsoft program that walks customers through the advantages of Windows vs. Linux.
Recently a Texas teacher confiscated Linux OS discs that a kid was passing out in class. She then sent a nasty email to the nonprofit that built and donated the Linux-loaded computer…
If you’re planning on taking part in the One Laptop Per Child “Buy 1 Give 1” sale next month, be warned that there have been delays in starting production. Although everything is now up and running, the foundation is predicting a shortage of laptops and said that although some U.S. and Canadian customers may see their personal laptops arrive before the end of 2007, orders would be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Early adopters, geeks, technology bargain hunters and idealists rejoice: One Laptop Per Child is opening its high tech stash to private consumers, at least temporarily, in an effort to help get their project off the ground now that production has begun. For two weeks beginning November 12th, you can purchase one of their green and white, portable, solar powered, open source laptops with the super-bright screen, for yourself for a tax-deductible $399, and a second laptop will be given to a needy kid somewhere else.
In what is sure to launch another tiresome Mac/PC debate, the Journal of Consumer Research has released a study that shows familiarity to be the deciding factor when consumers are asked which product is superior:
“The costs associated with thinking about and using a particular product decrease as a function of the amount of experience a consumer has with it. Thus, repeated consumption or use of an incumbent product results in a (cognitive) switching cost that increases the probability that a consumer will continue to choose the incumbent over competing alternatives.”
So, basically, people are too lazy to learn something new, even if it’s easier to learn than what they already know, because, well, they already know it.