Sure, Dell Inc. sells desktop and mobile PCs with Ubuntu Linux preinstalled. But will the company actually advertise those systems? Such a move would stun Microsoft Corp., which had expected 2007 to be the year of Windows Vista. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that Dell is taking a look at a potential Ubuntu ad campaign.
Visitor’s to IdeaStorm, a Dell-hosted Web site, are pushing Dell to introduce an ad campaign promoting everyday families that have made the switch to Ubuntu. At first glance, it’s a compelling concept. My entire family now uses our Dell/Ubuntu PC at home. The only major glitch we run into involves occasional FireFox browser crashes. But we find Ubuntu fast, reliable and easy for beginners to navigate. Surely, hundreds (perhaps thousands?) of Dell/Ubuntu customers have had a similar positive experience with Ubuntu.
But will Dell really open the marketing wallet and promote Ubuntu to the masses? It may be a bit early for that, folks. Dell likely receives heavy financial incentives to promote Windows as the preferred operating system on its PCs. Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates would charter a flight to Austin, Texas, if Michael began advertising Ubuntu systems.
On the other hand, few people would have predicted Dell’s decision to pre-install Ubuntu on selected systems the very year that Windows Vista arrives.