Asus has quietly ditched its ludicrous policy of charging $50 more for the Linux-based Eee PC 901 than the XP one.
As APC reported back in May, in most parts of the world the Linux and Windows XP versions of the Eee PC 900 have been selling for the same price (the Linux version offered 20GB of storage compared to the XP model's 12GB). In Australia, however, the XP 900 was launched at $599, while the Linux model was $649.
Six weeks later, Asus is singing a different tune. Both versions of the 901, which is due out in "late June" according to an Asus press release, will sell for the same price: $649. Unsurprisingly, this results in a price drop for the still rather new 900, which is now $549 — no matter which operating system you choose. Sanity, it seems, has prevailed in the ASUS pricing department. Or maybe (and this is pure hypothesis, unfounded rumour and vicious speculation) Microsoft decided buying marketshare for Windows wasn't such a great idea after all.
Asus is also still selling the original Eee PC model for $479, though just how long this will continue for is open to speculation. Several online retailers have offered the machine for under $350 in recent weeks, and the return to equality in pricing for Windows and Linux versions across the series might remove a key incentive to buy the smaller-screened version. (Speaking as a frequent traveller, I'll take the reduced weight over the increased screen size, but that doesn't seem to be the majority view.)