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Retailer kills £100 Linux PCs in store

Wal-Mart removes Everex system

US retailer Wal-Mart has stopped selling Everex's Linux-based PC in store due to weak demand for the open-source software-based system from consumers.

Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the US, agreed last year to carry the product as a test and stocked it in about 600 stores where it saw high interest in computers. However, the customer response to the $199 (£100) Everex TC2502 Green gPC desktop was not as high as expected, said Melissa O'Brien, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman.

"The idea was to see if shoppers in our stores would respond as they do online to the offering. The answer is that customers did not respond to expectations, so we decided not to restock," O'Brien said.

"We are America's retailer, so the decisions on what we offer in our stores is based on how our customers vote with their purchases," she said.

She played down the decision, which has been seen as a setback for Linux on the desktop. "We did not 'pull' Linux from our shelves or make any kind of 'announcement' on this," she said.

Wal-Mart has had little success in the past selling low-cost Linux PCs. It has also offered Linux-based Lindows and Microtel PCs, but the retailer eventually removed those too from its shelves.

Wal-Mart will continue to sell the Everex PC through its website, where it is able to sell products that appeal to "a more targeted consumer," O'Brien said. Wal-Mart also sells Everex's Linux-based Cloudbook laptop online.

The gPC2 desktop includes a Via Technologies C7-D processor running at 1.5GHz, 512MB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive. It does not include a monitor.

Everex said the gPC desktops had mostly sold out from Wal-Mart's shelves, with only a few units left.

"The sell-through was brisk, I am surprised at the decision," said Paul Kim, director of marketing at Everex.

Wal-Mart's decision to sell Everex laptops and desktops online should offset any drop in sales, he said. Everex is also continually adding distributors to sell its products, he said.


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