Dell is too late for this one buyer.
Here is my only experience with Dell Computer.
First off, I build Linux computers only, but they are a little costly because they are top drawer systems.
This story happened last week on Thursday April 12 in Portland, Oregon USA.
Richard, a friend asked me if I could build a Windows XP system for his daughter in California. (She is a student in a university)
Her Windows computer was very old and was dying, I had just rescued all of her files from the computer as the hard drive had failed... I used a Debian Linux system to force it relinquish its data to rescue efforts successfully.
He asked me to help build a new system for her. My price was higher (With the Retail Windows XP I could get) than they wanted to spend and I offered to help them buy an “appropriate” XP system instead. I know that the sweetheart deals made by the big boys like Dell in bed with Microsoft could best my price anyway, using Windows.
Richard, I and my wife went to a Dell Direct Store at the Portland Lloyds center to help Richard pick out and buy a computer around the $1000.00 price point.
We found this pathetic kiosk which apparently was the “Dell Direct” store in the middle of the mall pathways. Never mind the aesthetics, we are on a mission.
I previously saw the web site promoting only the Microsoft Fistula system and was sure that I could get them to relent to my authority on the subject anyway.
We went to this Kiosk with me wearing my Red hat cap. (just to give them advanced warning of my flag, I knew that the Debian Logo would not be recognized so... Red hat it was for the cap.) And we presented our case and desire to buy a “quality” Dell computer with Windows XP Pro installed with StarOffice or OpenOffice if possible. ISO Standards are important after all.
After wearing down the poor little attendant that we speared and finally getting him to give up on promoting the latest DRM infection from Microsoft, they showed us the Open Source solution which consisted of FreeDos, at the same price as the full meal deal, but without the patty in the middle (Windows). He finally showed me that indeed as a corporate customer they would offer a Windows XP pro system in the $3,000.00 price point.
Even I, could build a dual boot Linux based media bending road monster eating the Internet, with little windows tagging along for laughs, for that kind of money... but that was not the point.
It was a sad and dis-hearting adventure for all of us and we all were angered at the treatment we got. Dell is Dull as far as I am concerned.
We waved a final goodbye to the hapless sales person who was in no position to close an easy $1000.00 sale because XP was verboten.
We walked out and went to a competent VAR in the area... Budget Computer in Beaverton, OR. and for under $1000.00 they built a good dual core computer for the college girl in California. With MS Windows XP Pro licensed and all of that other muck... Oh yes with OpenOffice and Firefox as well. Happy ending after all :).
So now I hear that Dell will offer that XP Stuff again. Too late bucky.