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At OpenSource World (formerly LinuxWorld) in San Francisco this week, Todd Finch, Dell senior product marketing manager, decided to set the record straight on return rates for Dell’s Linux-based Inspiron Mini netbooks, writes Gavin Clarke in The Register. Saying Linux return rates were a “non-issue,” Finch is quoted as saying that Microsoft was “making something of nothing.”

Finch was further quoted as saying, “We don’t see a significant difference between the return rate for Windows versus the rate for Linux. We’ve been quite pleased with the stability and technical soundness of the Linux machines.”

A PC World story, apparently covering the same event, reports that Finch revealed that in a few weeks Dell will offer Linux OS upgrades to Ubuntu 9.04. PC World also reports that Finch said Dell is looking into manufacturing ARM-based netbooks and “smartbooks”. Finally, Finch was said to have revealed that “in certain quarters” close to a third of all Dell netbook shipments are pre-loaded with Linux. Finch’s comments about netbook returns appeared to be in response to Microsoft COO Kevin Turner, who claimed at Microsoft’s annual financial analysts’ meeting that retailers selling Linux netbooks had told him they are experiencing return rates “like four or five times higher than what we’re seeing on other PCs that have Windows.”

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