Walmart.com Tests Windows-less PC Sales

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Mar 22, 2002
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Wal-Mart recently began marketing a Microtel personal-computer package online at Walmart.com only for just under $400. To make that price possible, Wal-Mart omitted an operating system, the software that enables a computer to function, and a video monitor.

Cynthia Lin, a Walmart.com representative, says the company hopes this deal appeals to everyone although it was created specifically with technology enthusiasts in mind. “The feedback we were getting from customers was that they wanted the same computers seen on our Web site, but with another operating system loaded,” Ms. Lin says. “We couldn’t provide those other systems. We don’t have the tech support for them. So this was the next logical solution.”

According to the New York Times, however, Wal-Mart has a new marketing plan that extends beyond discount retail, which it already dominates, to attract niche consumers such as tech-savvy types. “We’re already known for low prices and value for what you’re getting,” Ms. Lin says. “All of this with the computers is only a test, to gauge customer response.”

Moderator Comment: Where do you think Wal-Mart is
heading with this concept should the test succeed?

Consumer choice is king. The attempt here by Wal-Mart
is to be applauded although the folks most interested in configuring their own
PC are not going to have a great interest in this particular product. Still,
it is an interesting first step. Wonder where Wal-Mart is headed with this?

As long-time Mac users, we have to admit being sorry
to see that Wal-Mart has not worked out an agreement with Apple for its OSX
operating system. It’s the bomb and not the type normally associated with Windows
(yes, that was a gratuitous shot). [George
Anderson – Moderator
]

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