January 15, 2001

Tuxtops.com suspends Linux laptop sales

Author: JT Smith

- by Tina Gasperson -

Graham Hine, president and CEO of Tuxtops, today confirmed that the company will no longer sell laptops pre-loaded with Linux. Hine said that Tuxtops is changing its focus to software development, but wouldn't say exactly what the company's plans are.A statement on the tuxtops.com Web site reads:

Dear customers and friends,

In the past year, working on our critically acclaimed line of Linux
laptops, we've recognized a great opportunity for Tuxtops to develop
an exciting software product. We'll announce the product in due
course, and we're sure you'll like it. This new direction will require all
our resources, and we are consequently retiring our laptop computer
sales.

Tuxtops has ceased selling laptops from our web site. We may still be
able to handle special orders, and are working on referral
arrangements to help our customers find what they're looking for.
Contact sales@tuxtops.com if you've specific needs.

Our toll free support line (877-735-0638) remains open for our
customers, and the 'chump' will still be there for you to stump with
your crazy 'how do I do blah on my laptop' questions. Our hardware
warranty is, as always, backed by ARM Computer. They're 10 years
old and counting, and can handle any of your hardware support
needs.

Yours truly,

Graham Hine
CEO

In a telephone conversation on Monday (January 15) Hine said that the company plans to develop software. "I can't disclose too much about the new project," said Hine. "We're talking to investors and so on. I can tell you that it's in the software management arena; it came out of some technology we developed in the course of selling the laptops, particularly the OneStep Linux."

Selling Linux on laptops isn't the innovation that it used to be, and that could be part of the reason Tuxtops is changing its focus. From his home in Sunnyvale, Hine shared some of the reasoning behind the decision to suspend sales of laptops. "[It] was a difficult business to maintain. The competition was growing, including big companies -- when we started there were very few competitors."

Nowadays, the big guys like IBM and HP are offering buyers the option to have their notebook systems shipped with Linux, so it's hard for "little" guys like Tuxtops, and other small companies like Linuxlaptops.com to keep up. "A lot of companies want to buy [all their hardware] from one place," Hine said. "We have better products than those big guys, but it's really hard to convince somebody who's not on top of the situation that we really are better. We were critically acclaimed but unfortunately, that doesn't make up for lack of volume."

Former Tuxtops customers need not fear loss of ongoing support from the California company, said Hine. The company is maintaining its offices and a special toll-free support number. "We wouldn't let our customers down," he said.

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