PR disaster alert: Asus attacks on Linux

Posted on Tuesday, June 9, 2009 by Erlik

ASUS Linux netbookSo ASUS decided to part way with Linux, the operating system that made the brand famous, to join forces with Microsoft. And they decided to make it in a very public way by stating a nice 'better with Windows campaign'. Well, sorry to disappoint you ASUS, but this is turning into a Public relation disaster!

As the articles here and here as well as the discussion here point out, leaving Linux is not only a bad move from a technical point of view but the way it was done also angered and insulted members of the Linux community, many of which are your customers. Guess what? They are not you consumers anymore. Worse, these are usually people responsible for purchasing the computing equipment for their families or their companies, so the loss goes much deeper than just a few Linux users. Let's look at a few chosen comments from the articles above:

Sorry Asus, but while I was open to buying an EeePC, you're now in the lower echelons of my list of vendors. And, just so you know, I have a reasonable list of mothers buying PCs for the kids to take to school who are looking to me for guidance. A word from me and Asus is off the shopping list, even if the alternative has Windows.

My current laptop is from ASUS. My next purchase will not be from them.

Over many years as a custom computer builder, I had used and recommended ASUS MB's and other parts. However, as a linux lover and open source advocate for years, I can no longer recommend or buy their products.

I have nothing but contempt for Asus now , Helping in purchasing decisions of a company that pays well over 80,000 on parts annually , Those parts will not have an Asus brand on them , I swear to that. Nor will I suggest to customers to buy anything from Asus again , Period.

The problem for ASUS is not so much losing the potential sale of a Linux computer, it is destroying a reputation that took ASUS years to build in just a few days. Now ASUS lost Linux customers, Windows customers, enterprise customers and motherboard customers. Oh, and don't expect many of these people to buy an ASUS graphic card any time soon either.

Imagine if tomorrow Toyota announced that in their opinion hybrid vehicle sucked and that they would revert to traditional combustion engines, don't you think they would lose face and customers? The Prius is the symbol of Toyota innovation as the Linux eeePC was the symbol of ASUS innovation, a symbol they have now lost. Without that symbol they are just another Asian computer manufacturer, nothing special anymore.

Nowadays being friendly to the Linux community is a Public Relations matter more than anything else! Don't forget that a lot of the Linux geeks out there have day jobs supporting, assembling and purchasing Windows computers. If you insult Linux you insult them. Yes, to you the choice of OS is just a business matter, but for them it is a very personal thing, and when they shop for new equipment or recommend it to someone else they do it with their feelings as much as their heads. This is something that Dell, HP and Acer have understood, but that ASUS still has to learn apparently...

Will the way ASUS insulted the Linux community change your purchasing decisions? Let me know by posting a comment below!

Image cc by jaaron

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60 Responses to "PR disaster alert: Asus attacks on Linux":

Anonymous says:

Nobody cars abou Lunix you dumb ass piratte!

It's WINDOWS ALL THE WAY YOU CRACKA NIGGA!

-Ibod Catooga

Anonymous says:

On a positive note, there are many good Netbook alternatives which include Linux these days.

It's not worth sticking with a vendor that is so out of touch with their user base.

Maybe they just wanted to use Linux when it was a niche market. Now that the market is getting saturated, they see more money by partnering up.

Anonymous says:

Agree 100% with the article. Asus is in my black list for lots of reasons and the first is they quit using Linux and became just Windows priests! Lousy OS windows is. I recommend Linux but if you want to pay for an OS pay for something with a little quality, and that is not Windows.

Caitlyn says:

I have a Sylvania netbook I'm very happy with. As it happens I may need to purchase another unit, one as small and light as possible. The original Asus 4G with Linux is still available. I'm no longer considering it after the company's recent "apology" at Computex and their public dismissal of Windows.

Anonymous says:

Our business offices on average for last 5 years buys close 200k in asus. As of today we no longer purchase Asus Products.

Was mainly due to fact of our linux systems and there hardware support. But this is no longer Viable to our company.

Anonymous says:

As a system builder I have used Asus motherboards for years to build both Windows and Linux systems for customers. That is over.
Hug the moronic first "Nobody cars abou Lunix" poster close to your chest Asus. He is the "bright" shining example of your future Windows using customer base you're so desperate to hang on to.

Anonymous says:

I have bought and liked ASUS products up to press. Like many other linux users I also help a great deal of friends, friends of friends and even their families with computer issues. Often pointing them toward suitalbe products. The recent comments ASUS made has secured no further sales directly or indirectly from me, or the company I work for.

Anonymous says:

It's ridiculous that Asus CEO has to apologize to Microsoft because his company was showing an Android netbook at Computex! This guy has no dignity. I was a big fan of Asus products but I will definitely avoid buying Asus or recommend their products anymore. As with the marketing compaign "It's better with Windows", I feel Asus is insulting my intelligence.

Mace says:

Actually, I'm thankful to ASUS for doing this. I had been purchasing ASUS equipment, and hadn't explored their competition. After their annoying about face, I picked up a couple of SuperMicro motherboards that I'm very happy with. Instead of an ASUS netbook, I'll be looking at a competitor's netbook or smartbook. We get into the habit of buying and recommending products repeatedly from the same vendor. It's good to find new sources.

Anonymous says:

ROLMAO! I'm sure the ASUS marketing department is shaking in fear at your pathetic threats to influence marketing and sales. Your infantile and near hysterical rants are pathetic. Keep up the histrionics! I couldn't pay for entertainment this good.

Anonymous says:

It gets worse. Those of us who aren't big purchasers but field advice questions from less-savvy computer users might have been likely to recognize Asus as "one of them", an undistinguished member of a commodity pool, if at all. Then came the eeepc, a real innovation, and Asus was a real brandname... And then they turn around and diss the innovation by bending over for Microsoft, who's trying to erase the whole product category because they don't make enough money in it? So now, that's what Asus stands for. Real brand-building there. They took the Dark Mark in public -- how stupid can you get?

orlando says:

As many people have said, the web site of the "campaign" is a fake.

There is only 1 "Asus" site that links to itsbetterwithwindows, ant the whois records don't belong to the official Asus headquarters.

Nothing to see here, just a fake.

Judland says:

If this is how ASUS is going to play it, they've lost my business as well.

joel says:

I used to think asus was a decent brand, and worthy of my consideration. I've bought a number of asus components over the years. However, they've just burned me with that bizarre anti linux move, and lost a customer for good.

I will never buy another asus system or component again, and if I see asus on a list of proposed vendors for any systems I'll be involved with, or have any influence over, I'll make damned sure asus is taken out of the picture and replaced with a suitable vendor.

Anonymous says:

Just bought a netbook. It wasn't asus due to dropping linux.

Mart

tracyanne says:

I am involved with a small computer retail company, we will no longer support Asus.

I will ensure that Asus computers and parts are never purchased by our company, and therefore never sold by us.

Jeff says:

I have always bought Asus motherboards for all my systems and the ones I have built for others. I have also bought their video cards, and other gadgets. Not anymore. I will be shopping elsewhere from now on.

tracyanne says:

Pioneer Computers in Australia will build Linux for anyone who wants them, my company retails Pioneer Computers with Linux.

Anonymous says:

I no longer recommend Asus. I support several small corporate networks. Hardware spending approximately 250,000usd every 5 years. Tyan makes much nicer boards.

Omar S. Hafez says:

Yes, I was really interested in buying an EeePC but now they ditched Linux in such disgusting way? I wouldn't even think of buying one, nor will I ever recommend it to a friend anymore.

Anonymous says:

I often do computer builds for myself and others, and will not be putting ASUS products on any of them. Goodbye.

Anonymous says:

Thats the problem the people use another people work for their advantage. They used Linux, get rich and famous and then drop it and talk bad about it. All this capitalist companies always do the same they just care the cash cow.

Linux, OSS/FSF it is a philosohpy and a way of living that does not match the real thing,This article shows that. Thats why I begin to belive that OSS/Free software is not for business, It is just for geeks. People wake up and check that the big corporations are stealing your work for free.

Kranium says:
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erlik says:

@Orlando
I first believed also that the better with Windows site was fake, but after further analysis it looks like this is true. have a look at this post from the forum thread: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/showthread.php?p=3562179#post3562179

Daniel Hedblom says:

I will tend to that no system we buy in the future is from or has parts from Asus. Im very disappointed and i cant imagine why they does this. Asus was a rising star and then just caved in. An OEM must be totally crazy taking sides like this.

Some serious money most have changed hands in this deal and the winner sure arent Asus owners.

Leon RJ Brooks says:

Microsoft (since Day One) have always been about control, not functionality. They have, if you like, corporate passive-aggressive personality disorder,

Asus are about to learn this all over again, the hard way.

I don’t envy them their destiny.

Anonymous says:

I am not buying asus motherboard next time i get new motherboard, probably buying one with SLI soon.
Linux support for the motherboard is nessesary - main OS is Ubuntu.

I have to search what is supported best on linux (that is not asus).

Recommendations for friends, family, or anybody who's asking, has changed.

Anonymous says:

I have built several of my machines from ASUS parts and was generally sympatetic to ASUS when I had to choose from competing components.

With that silly "better with Windows" move, they wrote themselves out of my book of serious companies. If they don't have at least as much ethic as not spreading outright lies to their customers than they won't have my business.

Peter says:

I've bought two ASUS Eee PCs in the past year. I've also helped 2 friends buy Eee PCs. All of these had GNU/Linux pre-installed. They were 701 and 1000 models.

Now, I can't find any Eee PCs for sale without Windows. Most recently, I had a friend who wanted to try moving to GNU/Linux but by dual booting. So I recommended the Eee PC with Windows. When we tried dual-booting, we found this newer model's wireless hardware had completely changed compared to the older model and was not GNU/Linux compatible. After struggling for a week to try to get it to work, we gave up. We returned it and bought an Acer.

Until I hear clearly that ASUS will once again make Eee PCs that are GNU/Linux compatible and available for purchase without MS Windows, I will not be buying them.

Frederic says:

Good article. The question that is left unanswered is the source of Asus' sudden reversal on Linux. It seems there is a co-marketing campaigh with MS. However, the inevitable loss of goodwill (as your article proves) probably justified a large payoff from MS.

So how much did MS pay to get Asus to turn its back on Linux? And what about other netbook makers? Can they extract money from MS by espousing Linux too?

vitaly goji says:

Thanks for warning. I am shopping for laptop. I will not even look at ASUS.

Riccardo says:

Thanks for this article, Asus is now another line in my black list; I guess I will soon need a new sheet :-(

MKx says:

It's a shame. Since I knew about Asus Linux netbook offering last year, I've been recommending it for people (alongside dell).

It's a shame that now they feel it's necessary to advertise that Linux is inferior just to make microsoft happy. I am not going to recommend Asus to anybody anymore. Actually, I'm going to advise against it.

People supported Asus back then because people needed it, now it's not needed anymore.

MKx says:

Also, you know you have a real problem, when even moderator of one of your biggest fan sites (eeeuser), say they are going to drop Asus if that was its stance.

Rui Seabra says:

To those idiots claiming it's a fake:

1) itsbetterwithwindows.com is regsitered in the name of a senior Microsoft employee named Michael Sharp: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/bb643315.aspx

2) asus.co.uk exists since 1997

Registrant:
Asustek Computer Inc

Relevant dates:
Registered on: 23-May-1997
Renewal date: 23-May-2011
Last updated: 22-May-2009

Registrant's address:
West wing first floor West wing fir
Mark Road
Pei Tou
Hemel Hempstead Industrial Estate
HP2 7BW
GB

What is the current address of ASUS UK?

http://www.locallife.co.uk/hemelhempstead/moreinfo.asp?uniqueid=29467&dispmode=map&directions_view=yes

Anonymous says:

It remains to be seen whether Asus decision will help or hurt.

Linux people would do well to consolidate and collaborate. Linux needs a couple netbook distros that truly work and not a dozen that almost work. Yes, there are those who will say that their Linux netbook works perfect. These are the same who said the same about KDE 4.0, and ext4 in 2.6.28, and hot plug SATA, etc. Yes, it usually works and sometimes it works well, but it isn't fully, reliably, functional.

If Linux people find a way to add polish and excellence in the current fragmented approach, then Asus made a mistake. Otherwise, Asus did the right thing.

GoatTuber says:

I've purchased 2 EeePCs, both with Linux on them, and I was really happy when they offered me that choice. I replaced Xandros with Eeebuntu, but still, it came with a Linux distro preinstalled and I didn't have to waste money on a Windows license.

It's not better with Windows, not even close. And now, it's better without Asus. I won't be buying from them again.

Anonymous says:

No more Asus for me.Last computer I built had Asus mb,never again!

Anonymous says:

Who gives a crap what they sell it with? Nothing stops me from installing Debian GNU/Linux on it. I don't need their official technical support to tell me how to restart my computer so something will start working. Thanks. Can you really expect a vendor to not be in bed with Microsoft? Come on, that's just not the world we live in. Get over yourselves.

Anonymous says:

> No more Asus for me.Last computer I built had Asus mb,never again!

Good luck finding any hardware from a vendor that officially supports Linux. Damn tool.

flipouk says:

I agree 100% with you. I'll never buy Asus again. I recommended them with much enthusiasm when they released the EeePc, but today I feel ashamed, I feel betrayed.

Anonymous says:

If you don't treat Linux like a damn religion, then you won't feel "abandoned by god" and so betrayed.

Paulo Marcondes says:

Yes. This recent move from Asus has definitively changed my shopping decision.

I am moving away from ASUS.

BM says:

The biggest problem with Asus is that it shows they have no morals or values to back their company policy.

And since it's obviously a flat out lie that "it's better with Windows" I tend to believe they also have no dignity or respect for their former/current/future customers.

Even if they believe their message it's true, then the message is basically: "All the dudes that bought the previous Linux Eees, you just got screwed - thanks for the money, but hey, buy from Asus".

If it's better with Windows, why don't they reimburse the "poor" guys who bought the Linux versions?

I'm simply disgusted.

Anonymous says:


Drop dead, ASUS! See you bankrupt, you MS bitch that you have become.

Shawn J. Goff says:

While I am not a large figure, my opinions do directly affect technical decisions of about 15 people. In addition, I have a blog and post to several forums and social sites, where my writing may have an effect on people I don't know.

I am not sure of the veracity of the "apology" story or the authenticity "itsbetterwithwindows.com" campaign, if upon further research these items have merit, or if Asus remains silent, it will affect my decisions regarding the Asus brand.

Harley says:

I'm not going to bother with ASUS parts anymore.

Anonymous says:

It's better with Xwindows.

Anonymous says:

must be shattering news for all 17 of the linux community

Anonymous says:

Agree with the article, but this "...just another Asian computer manufacturer..." statement is an insult to Asian computer manufacturers everywhere :-P

Anonymous says:

I don't know why this surprises anyone. It wasn't that long ago that Asus didn't support Linux on their motherboards. There were some questionable chips that didn't have any support at all and, when approached, Asus just said to lump it. This action is nothing new for Asus.

Anonymous says:

I still have some Asus nvidia based cards and a well functioning nForce2 Motherboard lying around... somewhere. Their hardware never disappointed me. But from now on I'm not gonna buy Asus stuff anymore. People around me ask me for their computer problems or for buying advice.... Asus will not be considered as a good buying choice. And whats more important is I work in a shop and I am the one managing all IT / computers related stuff. That includes buying entire desktop / laptop computers, computer parts and peripherals. Asus is no more an option at that place too. It's a 3 strikes against you Asus... all by your fault.

Patrick (having fun with Kubuntu since 2007)

JaY says:

Why do people get all upset when these things happen? Asus can do whatever they want to make money. If this is how they do it then so be it.

They are a hardware vendor. It never made sense to do software with support at asus. Any savings would be paid in support or worse... RMAs.

Just my 2cents.. (yes I do use linux as a desktop)

The Mad Hatter says:

When a company is stupid enough to upset the Free Software Movement, well, THINK OF IT AS EVOLUTION IN ACTION.

I won't be buying, or recommending ASUS any more. At least not until the CEO apologises publicly to the community. Ad me to thousands of others, and yes, they are going to loose a lot of sales.

scottiger says:

I dropped asus hardware a long time ago... Still, not very nice what Assus did.

Anyway, I am waiting for the ARM netbooks to come out, will probably buy an Acer.

listeningToDarkTranquility says:

If I want a Linux netbook, Asus loses out.

But if I not buying a Linux netbook, it doesnt matter anyway.

What is the percentage of Linux netbooks sold in the market?

Nothing new with what Asus did, a lot of advertizements by HP, Dell and other manufacturers display things like "We recommend Microsoft Vista"

Anonymous says:

I was just about to buy Asus for everyone on our sales force... say goodbye to a 200 netbooks sale.

I'll never buy anything from Asus anymore, period.

Anonymous says:

More of a question: is it true (in the experience of more people) that the EeePC is no longer compatible with any Linux distro? Specifically: what are the show stoppers?

Anonymous says:

well.....who cares with hardware things....all capitalist will only think about money...money...money....they can speak US$ 1 is cheap...but not for the Indonesian like me....as long as GNU/Linux is still exist and free...i believe i can work with every hardware even those are the old ones...:D

Computer Technical Support says:

Thanks for sharing this info article.