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Re: Tesco enters S/W market?

  • Subject: Re: Tesco enters S/W market?
  • From: "[H]omer" <spam@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 02 Oct 2006 13:41:12 +0100
  • In-reply-to: <1966031.37V99yedN4@schestowitz.com>
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
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  • Organization: Slated.org
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  • Xref: news.mcc.ac.uk comp.os.linux.advocacy:1163272
Roy Schestowitz wrote:
> __/ [ Mark Kent ] on Monday 02 October 2006 06:41 \__
>> [H]omer <spam@xxxxxxx> espoused:
>>> B Gruff wrote:

>>>> "Tesco is to launch a range of budget own-brand PC software, in a
>>>> move that will pitch the grocery giant against the likes of
>>>> Microsoft and Symantec"
>>>> "Tesco said it would offer six packages, including office
>>>> software, security systems and a photo editing tool"
>>>> "Britain's biggest retailer said each title would cost less than
>>>> Â20, challenging what it described as the current "high" price of
>>>> PC software"
>>>> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/5396488.stm

>>> Good for them.
>>> If they're serious about undercutting the competition, maybe they
>>> should consider selling OpenOffice.org at Â1 a disc, which is
>>> probably better (and cheaper) than Ability Office.
>>> Maybe we're not too far away from seeing Linux distros in UK
>>> supermarkets. Now *that* would be an interesting development.

> I had to read that BBC article twice because, initially, judging by
> the excerpt, it seemed likely that Tesco offered an alternative --
> Linux.

That's what I thought too, initially. However, rather than offer
"cheap" proprietary software, Tesco would do well to compile their own
disc of Windows FOSS, comprising OpenOffice.org, Firefox, Thunderbird,
MPlayer, The Gimp, Blender, Gaim, PDFCreator, ClamWin Antivirus, etc.,
etc. It would expose FOSS to a large proportion of people who would
otherwise be oblivious to it, thus familiarising them with the kind of
applications people typically use under Linux.

The PC experience is primarily about the applications you use, rather
than the OS, so familiarising ordinary people with FOSS means that if
they switch to Linux then they already have a head start, and the
change won't be so much of a culture shock. In fact, with such a huge
range of Free and high quality software, it might even *encourage*
them to switch their OS as well. If 90% of the FOSS they use is also
available under Linux, they might be inclined to think that they're
wasting money by using a proprietary OS (especially one which causes
them so much grief).

> Why would anyone want to sell anything less capable than OpenOffice?

Ability Office is an odd choice, especially when OOo is so much
better. You might find that the initiative was actually Formjet's, and
it was they who approached Tesco, rather than the other way
round. Then again, the commercial world of high street chains does not
really have the right mindset to comprehend the nature of FOSS, or in
many case, even be aware of it's existence. Now might be a good time
for someone to approach them and say "Here, try this".

> There is no restriction that prevents them from putting the 20
> pounds price tag on an OpenOffice CD.

It might sound like an odd thing to say, but they might be better
making OOo even *more* expensive, since it's a commonly held belief
that if something costs less then "there must be something wrong with
it". Like I said, there are groups of companies and individuals who
simply don't "get" the FOSS concept.

> You can also contain versions for various platforms on a single
> CD. And what about NeoOffice...?

Or the compilation disc I proposed, comprising *lots* of different FOSS
applications, and yes - why not make it multiplatform, including OSX.

>> Tesco certainly has the financial might in the UK to take on MS,
>> and has a logistics capability which is comprehensive, although it
>> does suffer serious "shrink".

Nonetheless, as you say, they have the distribution power and
*presence* that makes them the ideal candidate to penetrate a certain
untapped market for FOSS/Linux software (i.e. the Mom and Pop
market). Selling to typical supermarket shoppers will have the knock
on effect of penetrating other markets, like the under 20's for
example. Tesco and other supermarkets have close links to the
educational system (the "Computers for Schools" scheme, for example):

| Tesco Computers for Schools is now in its 13th year.  Since the
| scheme began in 1992 schools have received over Â84 million worth of
| computer equipment, including almost 52,000 computers and more than
| 550,000 items of additional equipment, such as scanners, printers and
| software.  Tesco estimates the value of the scheme to schools to be
| about Â7.5m per year.

 - http://www.rm.com/BSF/Generic.asp?cref=GP345444

If the parents *and* their children are all using primarily FOSS at
home (from their Tesco compilation disc), then there would be a
greater inclination for schools to adopt that same software.

> There have recently been several initiatives that push a
> Windows-friendly Linux distribution into the 'mass market'. Here is
> one example.
> Linux Distributor Interactive Ideas To Deliver Xandros' End-to-End
> Windows Alternatives To UK
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | "I see a bright future for Xandros in the UK. We have seen a
> | steady growth in the UK market for Linux servers, and with the
> | approach of Windows Vista, both users and resellers are beginning
> | to understand the tremendous value and opportunity that the Linux
> | desktop presents as well, so the timing couldn't be better,"

Yup, it is a very good time to be pushing FOSS *and* Linux, when the
world of proprietary software is looking less attractive than ever.

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