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back to article Dell charges £16 TO INSTALL FIREFOX on PCs – Mozilla is miffed

The Mozilla Foundation has begun an investigation after tech juggernaut Dell appeared to be asking customers to pay more than £16 ($27) to install its free web browser Firefox on newly purchased Dell kit. A dialog box that popped up while a reader was trying to buy hardware at Dell (click for the full enlarged glory) A …

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Pint

Sounds about right

Any time I get asked to install something on my friends/family member's computers I charge them a half dozen premium beers.

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Pint

Re: Sounds about right

That's my rate as well although it could be double or more if I have to remove crapware that was inadvertently installed, the number of beers varying with the difficulty in removing the crapware. I'm looking at you Conduit Search!

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Pint

Re: Sounds about right

Single Islay Malts are more to my taste, but a decent beer is welcome too.

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Re: Sounds about right

I wish I had asked for that before I said "yeah, sure, I can have a look at why your laptop is running so slowly". You'd think I'd learned by now to avoid the horrors that lurk on laptops...

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GBE

Re: Sounds about right

I'll publically admit to knowing very little about MS Windows, so my response when asked about slow-running Windows computers is usually something along the lines of "I can wipe the disk and install Linux if you like."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sounds about right

I'll publically admit to knowing very little about MS Windows, so my response when asked about slow-running Windows computers is usually something along the lines of "I can wipe the disk and install Linux if you like."

You're supposed to use the "mindless fanboi" icon when posting that. Unless you were being sarcastic - there's an icon for that, too.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC Re: Sounds about right

What's wrong with someone being Windows illiterate ? That man was still trying to be helpful with the poor, abused Windows user.

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Re: Sounds about right

You're supposed to use the "mindless fanboi" icon when posting that. Unless you were being sarcastic - there's an icon for that, too.

If the goal is to deter people from asking you for help with Windows, then it's the perfect answer.

"Well, yes I am a doctor but my specialty is in removing organs for transplants. I can tell you why you have that pain in your abdomen, but I would have to take out your liver and both kidneys to do it. Is that okay with you?"

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N2
Bronze badge

Re: Sounds about right

I'll drive over it in my Land Rover, that'll fix it for you...

Fairly swiftly the topic of conversation changes & I continue to enjoy what ever I was doing before it started.

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Linux

Re: Sounds about right

I was so sick of having to deal with the computers of relatives that I decided that I will only help them if they want assistance to install/use Linux.

Nothing MS does or produce is even remotely interesting.

Linux may not be for everybody, but what I'm sure of is that MS is not for me, the overwhelming feeling of not being able to tell what the F*** the computer is doing is too much to bear.

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Silver badge

Re: Sounds about right

"I'll publically admit to knowing very little about MS Windows, so my response when asked about slow-running Windows computers is usually something along the lines of "I can wipe the disk and install Linux if you like."

You're supposed to use the "mindless fanboi" icon when posting that. Unless you were being sarcastic - there's an icon for that, too."

Chill, it's a survival trick, one that I've learned to use myself after nearly chewing my own eyes out* while helping someone fix their mess.

Now I just say "Sorry, I don't run Windows myself, can't help you."

*You really, REALLY, don't want to know the details!

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Happy

Re: Sounds about right

This deserves a lot more upvotes . . . from doctors, for whom the final paragraph is an excellent model for the answer to be given to individuals asking for free medical advice, especially in the middle of some social function.

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FAIL

Re: Sounds about right

What a bunch of miserable, misanthropic curmudgeons you all are.

I try and fix computers for friends and reliatives whenever I can. It's a skill I have, and they are people I like, so I try to help them out. They, in turn, do things for me when they have skills that can help me out.

GJC

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Thumb Up

Re: Sounds about right

Well said Geoff C!

Me too, I help out when I can and I do it for nothing, in turn they might take my kids to the cinema one Saturday so I get a bit of peace or they might come round and help me when I need a pair of hands for DIY job. Like Geoff said, I have a particular skill and it's good to use it to help people who will actually appreciate it. Sounds like you lot don't hate fixing computers, you hate dealing with your rellies!

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Trollface

Re: @AC Sounds about right

If the bath water is cold, taking a dump in it wont help

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Re: Sounds about right

>What a bunch of miserable, misanthropic curmudgeons you all are.

I am indeed, but the reason I try to dodge helping people with their laptops is the infinite number of ways a laptop can be FUBAR'ed. Rootkit anti-theft software which isn't compatible with a system update? "Helper" software? Every toolbar under the sun (and some which clearly would turn to stone if exposed to light) installed? Corrupted registry? Vendor shovelware? DRM? Speed up teh yu0r c0mputer software? Disk errors? Crappy hardware? Worse drivers? All of the above?

The one thing it almost never is, but the user always thinks it is, is viruses.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sounds about right

"I will only help them if they want assistance to install/use Linux."

I guess that's one way to ensure a quiet life...

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Re: Sounds about right

I too fix various family, friends and friends of family PC's and do so with a vague hope of my services being somehow repaid if really needed, but am still awaiting for my lawn to be mowed, kitchen redecorated, car washed, drains unblocked etc. And all to be carried out late into the evenings and/or on Sunday afternoons.

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TRT
Silver badge

Re: Sounds about right

I got a BJ the other day as thanks for sorting a craptop out. Could have shaved first, though - I've got terrible stubble rash.

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Big Brother

Re: Sounds about right

"I know the cause of your pain and can fix it by giving you something much worse to worry about. My bill will be in the post." Sounds to me like the sort of reply you would expect to get from a Microsoft type.

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Re: Sounds about right

… so why aren’t you using the “mindless MS Windows fan” icon?

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Silver badge

Not to worry

...because Dell will be out of the consumer and SME hardware business pretty soon.

That'll be sad, because I still remember the days way back yonder, when Dell were not only good value, but well supported by native English speakers, and (notwithstanding glitches from time to time) they were a safe bet to recommend to friends and family, knowing that nine times out of ten Dell would sort out problems so that the family go-to-guy didn't have to get involved.

Now...well, over priced, not very good, unbelievably poor offshore support for consumers (can't speak for SME). Sixteen quid to instal Firefox is the least of a Dell buyer's concerns, IMHO.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not to worry

This is good news. They screwed the pooch in recent years, yet people are unwittingly still buying from them. But why? The sooner they get out of the retail market and let someone else do what they used to do, the better.

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Bronze badge

Re: Not to worry

Dell lost it when they went to black cases. The old smoke stained creamy GX1's were awesome little workhorses. The black GX150's complete and utter crap.

But it is nice to see that they will happily charge me £16 for putting a tick on a script in order to get Firefox, saving me a massive amount of time that I can then use to catch up on the 18 months of OS updates they didn't bother with.

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Re: Not to worry

Indeed, I remember the days of yore when Dell workstations and servers were top notch pieces of kit. And when you spoke to support in Ireland you were speaking to someone who knew your server inside out. Shame they lost the plot.

On the subject of the browser installation fee, considering the amount they charge for the sorry excuse that their PCs and laptops are these days, £16 sounds like an absolute bargain. Not.

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Re: Not to worry

Actually they won't be out of that business.

Also Dell has native English speaking tech support. If you buy a Pro Support warranty you will speak to a native English speaker usually from Glasgow if you are in the UK. Dell does still do a very basic warranty for those who are able to take the hardware apart and work out what is wrong with it themselves. As there is no profit in this because the prices are driven so low you get to speak to someone in India. The Enterprise tech support agents are in Ireland and Glasgow and they all speak English. Although Dell is moving into services the company still wants to be an end to end service provider and still makes a small profit on those consumer products.

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WTF?

Cheeky fookers

that is all.

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Pint

Re: Cheeky fookers

I'll charge you a discounted rate of £1 for this comment

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I need to re-think my charging!

Genius, charge for a rebuild on a per software install.

Let me see an average home build -

Firefox

Chrome

Adobe Reader

VLC

Google Earth

Libre Office

Spotify

iTunes

MS Security Essentials

Skype

Flash

Picasa

Thats just for starters at £195.00!

Perfect.

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Re: I need to re-think my charging!

And then just fire up ninite.com while you sip your cuppa :)

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Silver badge

Re: I need to re-think my charging!

Ninite is a great thing and has saved me time in the past.

First thing you need to visit after installing your OS and sorting out the drivers.

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Re: I need to re-think my charging!

^^^^^

What they said. Ninite is a very good tool.

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Re: I need to re-think my charging!

I did not know of this, I'm almost impressed enough to send you sixteen pounds!

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Coat

Re: I need to re-think my charging!

I'm sorry, but if you're installing iTunes on a Windows machine, you should pay a hefty compensation to the victim for such a heinous crime against humanity

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Bronze badge

Re: I need to re-think my charging!

"I'm sorry, but if you're installing iTunes on a Windows machine, you should pay a hefty compensation to the victim for such a heinous crime against humanity"

No. After they try to use iTunes on Windows they will never, ever, ask you to install anything on anything of theirs ever again. That's a win-win; get paid for installing bumf, and never get bothered by that person again. Time to do the Happy Dance(tm).

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Stop

Re: I need to re-think my charging!

Sorry but I wouldnt pay you anything if you were going to put Picasa, iTunes, Libre Office, Google Earth or Skype on my machine...If you were to do that I would charge you instead for the hassle I was about to receive.....

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Re: I need to re-think my charging!

James,

Don't think for a minute I'd put those on my PC or your PC. No, its what the average Joe expects and wants. Trust me I do this a lot.

In my head I'm screaming "WHY? WHYYYYY?" Trust me.

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Re: I need to re-think my charging!

Do not forget PCDecrapfier either,

great tool for getting rid of junk from a brand new pc as sold by most box shifter's

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Anonymous Coward

It's a service charge, not a licence.

Why is it any different to an enterprise having Firefox on the Approved Software list, and internally charging for it to be deployed to company hardware? It may be "wooden dollars" in the enterprise, but still....

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TRT
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Because it's appearing on the bill, that's why!

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Boffin

RE: service charge

Good point, and pretty much what I was thinking.

The software itself may well be free, but Dell are providing an employee to do the install. That employee requires a wage, and on top of that they have direct financial demands on the employer (employer's NI contribution, pension contribution, etc.) on top of their salary. And they'll require the tools to let them do their job....things like a chair and desk, etc.

Before you say "but they'd have that anyway" remember that if they weren't installing Firefox they'd be doing other work...other work which is currently being done by someone else, who brings with them their own overhead cost.

If your time is sufficiently low-value, then sure you can spend 10 minutes installing Firefox yourself. But if you're a professional, working at professional contract rates, then that 10 minutes of not working/earning could easily cost you in excess of the £16-odd that Dell are asking for.

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Re: RE: service charge

Yes. And I'm sure they install the OS and all of their utilities from scratch as well. Do you not think it's quite likely that they have this automated?

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As long as they are not charging for Firefox itself, I don't see that Mozilla has much of a comeback. Dell are charging for the service of installing the software.

That is how the open source model is supposed to work, the software is free, but "consultants" are free to charge for additional services around the product, such as installation support, training, general support etc.

If someone is mug enough to fork out 16 quid, fair dinkum to Dell.

That said, putting Firefox as an additional component in the image would probably cost Dell a few cents at most, over the volume of machines they would potentially deliver with Firefox installed.

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Re: RE: service charge @TMH

The employee does it once, to create an additional install package for the standard image. That cost then needs to be divvied up between all the machines sold with Firefox pre-installed.

There is a cost to creating that package, but it isn't going to work out at 16 quid a machine, unless they are planning on selling only half a dozen machines in total.

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Re: RE: service charge

Do you not think it's quite likely that they have this automated?

Good job that the automation fairies don't charge to set that up (and I know that Dell automation fairies take a long time and several attempts before they get it right). It is hardly the first time that software charging models don't mirror the cost centres or a headline price is cross-subsidised by "value"-add services.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: RE: service charge

If your time is sufficiently low-value, then sure you can spend 10 minutes installing Firefox yourself. But if you're a professional, working at professional contract rates, then that 10 minutes of not working/earning could easily cost you in excess of the £16-odd that Dell are asking for.

If you're a professional who can't find something else to be doing with that multitasking computer you're sat in front of, whilst the Firefox installer does its thing, you shouldn't be getting paid anything, by anyone.

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Re: RE: service charge

If you think Dell has some person personally sitting there installing Firefox on every machine where it's required, please post the number we can call to order the stuff you smoke before posting your comments. That is the dumbest post I have ever read.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: RE: service charge

Aren't Dell computers supposed to be multi-tasking? Surely you click a couple of times and then it goes off. At least on Mac OS it does.

Or do you need to watch if for 10 minutes straight on Windows?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: RE: service charge

The issue isn't so much if what it costs Dell to do the job....it's what it would cost a punter to do it themselves. If it'd cost someone £x to do something, then that's the value of that thing to them, even if the person they pay to do it incurs a cost of less then that.

I'd happily pay a few quid for a cable which I know only costs a few pence. Why? because it's not worth the bother of me sourcing bare cable, sourcing connectors, tools to fit everything together and then doing the assembly.

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Re: RE: service charge

"If you're a professional who can't find something else to be doing with that multitasking computer you're sat in front of, whilst the Firefox installer does its thing, you shouldn't be getting paid anything, by anyone."

Yeah...cos when you're getting paid contractor rates to sit in a client's office and do the work they're paying you top coin for, there's nothing the client likes more than for you to not work on the job in hand and to p*** about setting up software on your own machine

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