Walmart.com is taking a stab at attracting more technology-savvy customers by selling PCs that don't come with an operating system already pre-loaded.
In an unusual move for a general retailer, the Microtel computers are being offered without operating systems as part of a test to gauge the response among tech-oriented customers who may want to load their own operating systems, Walmart.com spokeswoman Cynthia Lin said.
But one analyst has said that Wal-Mart Stores and its Internet unit should stay focused on serving their core customers. "The techie types interested in tinkering with their computers are far more likely to buy computer parts from the 500 million far more geeky stores on the Web," said Steve Baker, a research analyst with NPD Techworld..
Like most general retailers online, Walmart.com usually sells computers with operating systems, most often Microsoft Windows, Lin said. But computer sales are down, and Web stores are searching for ways to spur demand.
Walmart.com says it is trying to cater to a rise in customer requests for computers with different operating systems. "We decided to sell the computers without an operating system so those customers who didn't want Windows could load the OS of their choice," said Lin, adding that another attractive element in not offering an operation system is that eliminating Windows considerably drops the cost of PCs.
For example, on PCs that sell for $599 or less, Windows becomes one of the most expensive components in the mix. Linux, of course, can be obtained for free.
News source: CNet News
View and Purchase: Walmart.com - Microtel PCs without Windows