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Dell to Ship Some PCs for Corporate Market Without Windows

Earlier this week, CNET News.com reported that Dell plans to ship a new line of PCs without Microsoft Windows. Dell plans to exploit an apparent loophole in its contract with Microsoft by shipping a copy of FreeDOS inside the PC's shipping box. This allows them to stay in compliance with a contract provision that reportedly requires Dell to ship PCs with an operating system.

Camworld suggests that this is what Microsoft gets for charging so much for its operating systems. Of course, Cam is both right and wrong in this conclusion. With desktop PC prices as low as they are today, Windows has become the largest single component of a PC's price. But, the biggest issue for corporate buyers is that the operating system configuration of the PC when it is delivered (known in many IT departments as "the standard build") is inappropriate. Dell knows this and has been shipping PCs with bare hard drives to its very largest corporate customers for a few years.

We suspect that the Dell N-Series announcement is an attempt to take this successful corporate delivery program to another level. It is not the audacious swipe at Microsoft that it appears to be from the headline. The PCs without Windows will cost exactly the same amount as the PCs with Windows. This is ridiculous if you think about it, and is a true indication of Microsoft's power over its OEMs.

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