how much does Windows volume license cost per machine for a big manufacturer?

or, equivalently, how much money could the consumer hypothetically save by buying from a hypothetical manufacturer that would install a free OS on its machines? And do such manufacturers actually exist outside of the netbook niche?

When I bought this Dell last August, the Ubuntu version was 30 dollars cheaper than the MS Vista version. It’s an Inspiron 1545 if that matters. Not great but definitely not a netbook.

To answer your last question, Dell sells full-size laptops (and I think desktops, too) with LTS (Long Term Support) versions of Ubuntu. As far as I know they’re the only company that does.

Also, while I think that sums up the OP, the question in the thread title is different. Windows boxes usually come preinstalled with loads of crapware which partially subsidizes the cost of the OS. I don’t know what OEMs pay for their licenses, but it’s probably more than $30.

And here I thought you meant something like a workplace, where more people are trained on Windows, and thus having it can actually be cheaper.

And I’d also point out that there were some netbooks that sold with Linux, but then later sold for $50 more with Windows. So I’d guess it cost less than half of that for the manufacturers.

What I think is funny is that Microsoft makes more money from the sale of their OS on new PCs than they do on retail.

I do know that in 1990, the OEM price was $30. Last time I was in the MS employee’s store, then were selling Vista for $35 (that was before Win-7). The thing is that they have no cost. They sell one master disk and you report to them how many machines you have installed the OS on and pay the royalties.

You can buy OEM system builder channel packages if you’re a small operator. Big companies like Dell and HP negotiate better discounts since they sell in the millions, but it’s not a huge discount.

The volume licensing program is also available to schools and universities. We buy our software through a company that won the state contract. They work with Microsoft and Adobe to get us the best possible volume licensing prices. Adobe especially has been very, very generous in their pricing. It’s good business for them to have their software in our computer labs. The students leave college with those skill sets and that follows them into their professional career.

A down side to volume pricing is it leaves you open to a Microsoft license audit. They can come in with very little notice. It keeps our IT people on their toes. They track every pc and what software is installed on it. We don’t take any chances on coming up short on licenses.