Dell users face heavy premium for Vista

Dell’s customers are paying a heavy premium for personal computers running Microsoft’s Vista, according to data compiled by ComputerWorld UK's sister site Techworld.

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And it is not just the price differences between Vista and Ubuntu that are interesting. It seems that once again UK users are paying more for a Linux-based machine compared to European users.

For example, as already stated, the UK Inspiron 530n desktop (running Ubuntu) costs £398.99 (including VAT).

But the same entry level Ubuntu Inspiron 530n in Germany is 7.3% cheaper than the UK at only 548.99 euros (or £371.76 calculated at current exchange rates). Meanwhile, in France the entry level Inspiron 530n is 11.4% cheaper at just £358.21 (or 528.99 euros), and the French machines comes with more RAM (512Mb) on its Nvidia GeForce 8300GS graphics card, compared with the 124Mb that comes as standard on UK and German machines.

But it is when this same machine is compared to the United States that the price difference is the most startling, with the US Ubuntu Inspiron 530n some 34.5% cheaper.

In the US, a similarly specified to the UK version Ubuntu Inspiron 530n costs $599, which translates to just £296.67, making the machine over £100 (and 34.5%) less expensive than the UK equivalent.

Dell could not provide a spokesman for interview, but the PC maker did state that “costs vary from region to region for a variety of factors such as local promotions and local taxes.” Yet it is worth noting that VAT levels are higher in France and Germany than that of the UK.

Dell is not the only PC maker to ship PCs running an open source operating system. Rival Lenovo has said it will start shipping Thinkpads pre-loaded with Novell’s Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 (SLES10) in the fourth quarter of this year. HP has yet to commit to installing Linux on consumer boxes.

Meanwhile, Dell has also announced that it also intends to factory-install Novell’s Suse Linux Enterprise Desktops on its hardware in China, although no further details have yet been provided.

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