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Microsoft Boasts 96% Netbook Penetration

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the sure-you-did dept.

Microsoft 774

An anonymous reader writes "Citing figures from market research firm NPD, Microsoft says Windows' share of the US netbook market has ballooned from less than 10% in the first half of 2008 to 96% as of February. 'The growth of Windows on netbook PCs over the last year has been phenomenal,' wrote Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft's in-house Windows blogger, in a post Friday. Information Week author Paul McDougall notes Microsoft's 8% decline in Windows sales is due to netbooks sporting Linux. How does Redmond make an 80% gain in netbook market share without the sales numbers reflecting that gain?"

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774 comments

Steve Ballmer Says (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27483611)

Chair penetrates netbook 96%.

Re:Steve Ballmer Says (4, Interesting)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483793)

I'm pretty sure Ballmer would be able to put a chair 100% through a netbook.
At least, as long as he hasn't gotten himself winded by running around like a lunatic [youtube.com] .

On the other hand....

How does Redmond make an 80% gain in netbook market share without the sales numbers reflecting that gain?

I wouldn't be surprised at all if they're using pirated Windows statistics to up their market share. So they haven't actually sold anything, but Windows is on the system, therefore it belongs to them.

Re:Steve Ballmer Says (4, Funny)

x2A (858210) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483895)

Very easy with a tiny bit of perl (microsoft use perl, right?)

$spc="<a href=\"http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/technology/technologynews/5105!!!"
$spc=~s/[^0-9]//go;
print "Sales increase: $spc%\n:wq";

Puts netbook sales increase at 5101%, and as overall netbook sales have increased by 6375% (a well known figure), that places MS's new market share at 80%. QED.

Re:Steve Ballmer Says (5, Funny)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483999)

Please don't abuse Perl like that... at least have the decency to call it from a shell script to disguise what you're doing.

Honeymoon is over (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483631)

For a short while people were willing to forgo Windows for the form factor and price of a netbook. Then Moore's law ticked over and Microsoft was able to enter that market - same price for the machine but with the specs that XP needs. Next iteration they'll be selling units with Vista on them. The only way to keep Microsoft out is to race to the bottom and there's no economic incentive for the hardware manufacturers to do that.

Re:Honeymoon is over (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27483663)

one word: ARM

Re:Honeymoon is over (5, Funny)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483705)

Actually, it's an acronym. ;-)

Re:Honeymoon is over (1)

Fex303 (557896) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483883)

Actually, it's an acronym. ;-)

What's you're point? It's still a word. ;-)

Re:Honeymoon is over (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27484001)

I think his're point was actually a joke.

Re:Honeymoon is over (4, Insightful)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483813)

MS has an IA64 release of Windows and it probably costs them a fortune to maintain for little benefit other than to let Intel know they support them, even when they are epic failures. I wouldn't hold my breath for an Windows 7 ARM edition.

I guess regarding this farfetched 96% statistic... Look who it's coming from. Brought to you by the same market researchers who contended the 13-17 year old music listeners would accept ad-supported music. The 96% figure seems more likely to be a massive error in calculation than anything.

I've spoken with a few retailers about their Netbook selection and as far as I can tell, Linux dominates based on price. Sure, I don't have hard data to back it up but 96% seems off-the-map implausible.

http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS137134+31-Mar-2009+BW20090331 [reuters.com]

epic failures (1)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483969)

Very droll, and sadly true. For this HP killed off PA-RISC?

Re:Honeymoon is over (5, Funny)

motek (179836) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483667)

Is there any other way to call it? 'Race to the bottom' sounds so crass. Perhaps 'delivering better customer value by focusing on essential factors while reducing extraneous costs?' I raced to the bottom once and I found really weird stuff there...

Re:Honeymoon is over (3, Interesting)

swb (14022) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483807)

Your euphemism is clever. When your PHB uses it to describe why your job has been eliminated, let us know if it still sounds clever.

Re:Honeymoon is over (1)

motek (179836) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483919)

Been there, done that. It always sounds clever when you say it the right way.

Re:Honeymoon is over (1)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483671)

The only way to keep Microsoft out is to race to the bottom and there's no economic incentive for the hardware manufacturers to do that.

You're personally willing to make that sort of technological sacrifice just to keep Microsoft out?

Re:Honeymoon is over (5, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483855)

You're personally willing to make that sort of technological sacrifice just to keep Microsoft out?

What sacrifice? It's good for customers. It's no sweat for Linux distributions. And hardware manufacturers have shown that they can make sufficient margins to make sub-$300 systems profitable, or they wouldn't be making them at all.

Re:Honeymoon is over (4, Insightful)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483711)

The only way to keep bloated software out is to race to the bottom, the only way to keep Microsoft out is to provide an alternative that surpasses it in desirability.

If we all used $100 machines, that were 500mhz, and 10GB's of HD space etc, Microsoft will just create trimmed down versions to run on it, thus not getting rid of Microsoft.

But if you have something that personal and corporate users prefer over Microsoft's products, then it doesn't matter how low or highly spec'd the machine is, they'll want that software.

Re:Honeymoon is over (5, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483755)

> The only way to keep Microsoft out is to race to the bottom and there's no economic
> incentive for the hardware manufacturers to do that.

There is no incentive for the CURRENT manufacturers to do that. But if you aren't in the laptop/pc business right now there is good reasons to see an opportunity to have the first $150 laptop and sell the ever luvin crap out of them as Xmas impulse items through retail outlets that won't care about cannibalizing their laptop sales because they don''t currently sell computers at all.

By your logic we would have never seen the $24.99 DVD player because "Who wants to race to the bottom." No, Sony or Phillips didn't do it but no name Chinese outfits did it and make a profit at it. The computer is poised to make that last transition to disposable consumer electronics.

They won't be trying to kill Microsoft, it will just be that they can't give em enough royalties to matter when selling on consumer electronics margins. So even if Microsoft made em a deal, once the marketplace finishes the move to consumer electronics Microsoft is going to be a shadow of it's former self. And Apple is just as boned.

Re:Honeymoon is over (4, Interesting)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483907)

As Torvald's once said I have not set out to destroy MSFT it is a completely unintentional side effect.

Re:Honeymoon is over (5, Interesting)

greekBruin (998483) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483785)

The article also mentions that: "Not only are people overwhelmingly buying Windows, but those that try Linux are often returning it," wrote Leblanc, noting that the United Kingdom's Car phone Warehouse dropped Linux-based netbooks after seeing return rates as high as 20%."

Re:Honeymoon is over (2, Informative)

Blackhalo (572408) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483943)

"The article also mentions that: "Not only are people overwhelmingly buying Windows, but those that try Linux are often returning it," wrote Leblanc, noting that the United Kingdom's Car phone Warehouse dropped Linux-based netbooks after seeing return rates as high as 20%.""

That does not make sense. The primary purpose of a netbook should be to launch a browser, the new API. If "netbooks" are being returned because they do not have windows, they were likely, not netbooks. ASUS pretty much created the netbook market by selling 200$ netbooks with Linux in Europe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netbook/ [wikipedia.org]

Re:Honeymoon is over (5, Informative)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#27484069)

Car Phone Warehouse sold an early version of the MS Wind which came with Linux but which didn't have drivers for the wifi or webcam. Wouldn't you return that? Unless you were a Linux geek or installing Windows, I'm sure that you would.

Re:Honeymoon is over (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27483841)

I couldn't wait any longer so I bought at Costco Canada the Aspire One notebook with XP. I have wi-fi and can create text file. As soon as my buddies can get debian or another Linux version running with wi-fi on the Aspire One, I am back to Linux with all the features. My other computers all run Linux but nobody can get wi-if operating because of all the chip secrecy. Short-term windows is okay.

Re:Honeymoon is over (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483877)

The biggest factor is probably the nebook's move from appliance to mini-notebook. The original netbooks had very limited specs and were sold like any other appliance. The early market was also dominated by techies.

Once 1GB RAM replaced 256-512MB and 160GB hard disks replaced 4GB SSDs as the standard, XP was the obvious choice. Once Win7 comes out, the specs will be high enough to accomodate that and a lot of apps (though you'll likely be limited to three by the OS).

I still have hopes for Androis and ARM, but I expect that Linux will continue to sit at 10%. Only one netbook in Amazon's top 25 runs Linux, and it sits at #19.

Re:Honeymoon is over (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483911)

Um, wouldn't these all be on MS's books as Vista sales, with the customer 'requesting' a downgrade to XP?

Re:Honeymoon is over (4, Insightful)

initialE (758110) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483927)

It's a phyrric victory. They've sacrificed the perceived cost of Windows by selling it at rock bottom prices. And prolonged the lifespan of XP at the cost of Vista penetration. In mitigation, they impose a bunch of arbitrary restrictions on OEMs for selling XP - http://www.netbooknews.it/en/netbook-xp-ecco-i-vincoli-microsoft/ [netbooknews.it] for details.

Re:Honeymoon is over (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27483939)

XP was the only way I could get my 1000he, no linux offered. Switched it out immediately.
95.99999% penetration. puh-leease.
booting from an SD chip is pretty much a linux only option, when you can put fedora 10kde live on an SD chip - add 4 gig of persistant storage and keep 5 or six chips around each setup slightly differently but with all your data on it. Microsoft can claim what they want, I did in fact buy my eee pc 1000he with xp - because that was the only way it was offered.
no flame - no troll.
windows is great for formatting my 16 gig sd chips to fat32. but after that its useless to me.

Re:Honeymoon is over (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27484011)

Don't be too quick to take MS FUD for what it is. I just saw an article on theregister.co.uk claiming only 10% of new Netbooks have Linux on them and another one claiming that the return rate for Linux netbooks is 4x as high. So let's post stories like, OMG Windows is taking over again. But this time people bought notebooks because they chose to and were happy with Linux. I doubt that a campaign trying to sway netbook owners away from Linux with claims that *look everybody else is using it* is going to work. Linux is mature and people should try drugs just cause their friends are using it. The only impact I can see this having is to have other manufacturers say "Windows is going to be on other competitors notebooks (as shipped), we better too or we are going to lose out." and create mass hysteria that people will actually prefer a Windows netbook. Nice try though. Can't wait to get my lower powered ARM version with Windows 2017 on it with a resource draining antivirus program or play games (the only reason I would use Windows) with the super-powerful graphics card that comes with it. Good luck Microsoft I wish u well.

Yeah, I'll penetrate your netbook... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27483635)

...with my PENIS!

Didn't see that coming, did you? You unwashed *Nux homos wouldn't know sophisticated humor if it crawled up your leg and bit you on the dick.

Re:Yeah, I'll penetrate your netbook... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27483765)

Yes because raping computers is much more sophisticated than consenting adults.

Re:Yeah, I'll penetrate your netbook... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27483823)

You scoff now, but just wait until you try it. I tell you, when it comes to the penis skills I'm like Moliere with a typewriter.

I'm sorry (0, Redundant)

techprophet (1281752) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483637)

I'm sorry, I'm braindead, I was going to put some witty comment in here asking whether it ran linux or if 96% of your base are belong to us, but I can't.

Come back tomorrow, maybe I'll have come up with something.

96% percent penetration eh? (4, Funny)

cortesoft (1150075) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483639)

Way to go Netbook! Getting to home base 96% of the time would make any frat boy proud.

Freebie? (4, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483643)

How does Redmond make an 80% gain in netbook market share without the sales numbers reflecting that gain?

By giving it away? B-)

Re:Freebie? (4, Interesting)

AgBullet (624575) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483799)

Imagine a company sold 4 copies of some software last year, with 3 copies for desktops and 1 copy for netbooks. This year, they managed 1 desktop copy and 2 netbook copies. Overall sales are down 25%, but netbook penetration is up 100%. I think this kinda answers the question. Right? Or did I miss something? Dammit. Need coffee. Brane daid.

VIsta Compatible (1)

lemur3 (997863) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483651)

"How does Redmond make an 80% gain in netbook market share without the sales numbers reflecting that gain?" they only count the ones that have the little window sticker

Simple question, simple answer (4, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483653)

How does Redmond make an 80% gain in netbook market share without the sales numbers reflecting that gain?

That's easy, netbooks aren't sold in a comparable quantity, so a staggering increase of 80% reflects a tiny shift in the overall license count. Got any other braindead statistics questions for me?

Re:Simple question, simple answer (2, Insightful)

bgerlich (1035008) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483971)

There is also the possibility that the study defined the netbook as the article does:"low-cost laptop computers that are optimized for simple tasks like surfing the Web and e-mailing." This includes the whole market of 15 inch, ten pound laptops that most of us don't consider a netbook.

Next Gen Arm based netbooks. (5, Interesting)

tpgp (48001) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483661)

Assuming that these figures are correct & MS has managed to grow their share of the netbook market....let's not forget:

1) They had to keep XP around to do so.
2) Linux has proved itself good enough that manufacturers will consider it.
3) Pulling the same stunt on the rash of $150 arm-based netbooks that will be hitting the shelves later this year will be much harder.

Re:Next Gen Arm based netbooks. (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483851)

It also burned a lot of companies with the high rate of return on Linux laptops. Don't assume they'll be so quick to stock Linux a second time around.

Re:Next Gen Arm based netbooks. (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483901)

do you have any evidence of this?

Wee CPUs (0, Offtopic)

QuincyDurant (943157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27484017)

The Alphasmart Neo is a useful device that apparently runs on a Motorola DragonBall chip running at 16Mhz and change. http://pdadb.net/index.php?m=cpu&id=c68328ez [pdadb.net] It runs for 700 hours on three 2AA batteries. Of course, it doesn't do much. http://www.flickr.com/search/groups/?q=motherboard&w=39436080%40N00&m=pool [flickr.com]

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics (4, Insightful)

Myopic (18616) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483677)

I wonder if they count my shiny new Acer Aspire One? Yeah, it came with XP, and yeah, XP is still on the hard drive, but I installed Linux on the first day, and have spent about 1% of my time in Windows since then. I would call that a Linux computer, but I suppose they call it a Windows computer.

Re:Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483721)

Of course they are. Mine too.

BTW, the Windows restore partition will be gone by April, when I install Ubuntu 9.04. I have better use for those 5 GB.

Re:Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483741)

By April? The first thing I did was format the hard drive on my Wind.

Re:Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483875)

The damn thing came with a hard disk twice as large as my last notebook. It takes a while to fill it up.

And a didn't leave space for a /boot partition anyway. April is the time I will need one, if Grub still doesn't know how to deal with ext4.

Re:Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483953)

Because April is the cruellest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land? XD

Re:Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics (5, Interesting)

calorifer (913009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483729)

well, here's another piece of anecdotal evidence for you: most of my friends that got netbooks with linux installed windows on them (pirated or licensed) mostly because either the linux version was cheaper or the same price but bigger hdd.

Re:Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics (2, Funny)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483781)

"I wonder if they count my shiny new Acer Aspire One"

And, BTW, it's not personal. Their bonuses depend on it.

Re:Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27483853)

Anyways, even with your pathetic loser install, still a windows license was sold with your computer. Microsoft is a dominant power and Bill Gates is the richest man in the universe because they don't care about what shit pathetic losers driving corollas do.
He is rich, 40 billion dollars rich, is so much money that if you take all the momma's basements in the US and fill them with money and the pathetic corpses of Linux losers, there still will be money spilling all over the street.
So, Linux won't ever win because winners hate losers, and losers love Linux.

Which distro? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483869)

I wonder if they count my shiny new Acer Aspire One? Yeah, it came with XP, and yeah, XP is still on the hard drive, but I installed Linux on the first day

Which distribution would you recommend? My cousin has an Aspire One, and he's looking to split off about 10 GB of the hard drive to play with Linux.

Re:Which distro? (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27484055)

Wait till the end of the month and give the jaunty (ubuntu 9.04) "netbook remix" a try.

Re:Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics (1)

vio (95817) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483967)

Of course they do... you're not doing Linux (or FOSS in general) any favours by buying a throwaway MS license with your hardware...

I think this is an important fact that cannot be ignored... sure, Microsoft got a (license) sale out of it, but I know a few people now that have purchased one with XP as a "good to have" and then blew the partition away and installed Ubuntu instead. I'm sure they're in the overall minority, but...

A friend of mine just got his shiny Acer Aspire this weekend (with XP, of course) and spent a couple of hours getting Ubuntu up and running how he likes it... why did he buy XP? "you never know when you'll need to run Windows software".

Guess its the same reason why my Ubuntu-powered Thinkpad still has the Vista license sticker underneath... score one sale for MS.

No cause for alarm, totally expected (5, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483681)

This isn't shocking at all. The netbook market isn't what it used to be, mostly I suspect because Microsoft AND the hardware makers recoiled in horror from what was happening. Look at the original netbook:

Old cheap Celeron CPU
7-9" Display
2-8GB Flash storage
512MB-1GB RAM
Weight 1KG
Price centered around $350 +/- $50

Now look at what passes for a netbook:

1.6Ghz Atom
10" Display
160GB HDD
1-2GB RAM
Weight 1-2KG
Price $300 to $500

The original specs couldn't run XP very well, and it wasn't an option. Vista was right out. So Microsoft brought back XP and everyone amped up the specs until it ran nicely. After all the new above average netbook was a kick ass desktop when XP was introduced.

Add in the fact all of the major netbook makers also make notebooks and desktops and thus need Microsoft's good will and it is easy enough to see how most netbooks now ship with Windows. Anyway, at the current prices and specs they are more like small laptops anyway and pretty much 100% of those have always shipped with Windows.

Wait for the ARM invasion. If hardware CAN run Windows vendors are always going to get pressured to load it. The ARM machines simply can't do it. Give a choice between a full Linux desktop, Android and WinCE and Microsoft's offering is going to come up a little short.

Sooner or later we will see netbooks under $200 and that is where things will get fun. If they give out Windows licenses cheap enough to put it on sub $200 units it will either force an across the board cut in all OEM licensing or really tick a lot of people off.

Re:No cause for alarm, totally expected (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483761)

There is no way to make a netbook that can't run XP well with current parts. Nobody makes processors that slow these days.

There is, however, a completely Windows-proof option: ARM-based netbooks will start selling this year at price-points, weights and power-envelopes below those reachable by Atom-based netbooks.

I don't care for people who run Windows. I will be perfectly happy as long as Firefox, Evolution, OpenOffice, Emacs and Django run well.

Are you CErtain that ARM is Windows-proof? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483891)

There is, however, a completely Windows-proof option: ARM-based netbooks will start selling this year

Are you certain of this? I've used Windows Mobile on ARM-based PDAs made by Symbol. Some things about CE are a pain, but overall, it should be possible to build CE into something that competes with "netbook remix" style distributions such as the version of Xandros that comes preloaded on an Eee PC.

Re:Are you CErtain that ARM is Windows-proof? (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483995)

99% of what makes Linux inferior to Windows is the lack of drivers that are not written with the x86 ISA + Windows OS in mind.

Half of the functionality there is due to x86, not Windows.

Microsoft probably is praying that ARM stays out of the laptop market.

Re:Are you CErtain that ARM is Windows-proof? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27484059)

99% of what makes Linux inferior to Windows is the lack of drivers that are not written with the x86 ISA + Windows OS in mind.

In the case of machines running Windows Mobile or pre-installed Linux, the manufacturer makes sure that drivers for the included hardware are installed on the machine. Or are you talking about things like CUPS?

Re:Are you CErtain that ARM is Windows-proof? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27484081)

CE is a bigger pile of shit than any other version of Windows ever has been. It's got a horrible interface, it's sluggish, it's a resource hog... if MS could grow a clue about how to build a decent performing, decently usable system for anything other than the middle/top-of-the-line PC segment, I'd be amazed. CE would be a performance dog with lot of memory leaks and a miserable interface.

Also, as mentioned previously, it DOESN'T run your old Windows software, so they can't leverage that old tie in either.

WinCE vs Linux? (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483825)

Wait for the ARM invasion. If hardware CAN run Windows vendors are always going to get pressured to load it. The ARM machines simply can't do it. Give a choice between a full Linux desktop, Android and WinCE and Microsoft's offering is going to come up a little short.

Would you be so sure about that? The whole point of a netbook is that you can basically do a few simple things. If you can do that with WinCE as well as Linux, then what difference does it make? The whole value proposition of Linux is that it has a full server stack with it. You don't need that with a netbook.

Re:WinCE vs Linux? (2, Insightful)

domatic (1128127) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483861)

WinCE won't have the attraction of WinXP. WinCE won't run J. Random Intel Win32 App. So you can license a bunch of mobile phone apps and WinCE or just skin a Linux install.

Re:WinCE vs Linux? (5, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483899)

> If you can do that with WinCE as well as Linux, then what difference does it make?

First off, Linux has a full software stack. A real working Firefox with most of the expected plugins, OO.o, etc. WinCE has what exactly? To date it, and the apps written for it, have mostly been geared around PDAs and smart phones, usually with a touch screen.

WinCE isn't Windows. The main advantage Windows has for the average customer is the known quantity. It's Windows, just like on the other machines they interact with at home, school, work, friends, etc. The same programs run, etc. WinCE has none of those advantages, in fact the association with Windows will only confuse as it will lead the clueless to think it IS Windows and then be disillusioned when it is discovered to be something completely different.

WinCE will raise the per unit cost of the machine though, and if it isn't to cut too deeply into Microsoft's profits it is going to have to cost a lot to keep the monopoly rents flowing in. Meanwhile the pengin is still Free except for the ARM port of the Flash plugin.

Re:WinCE vs Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27483929)

Yes; WinCE is a joke - it's worse than windows 3.1 for browsing the internet. At least in 1994 I had the choice of installing Netscape.

Android is the obvious choice for ARM netbooks and good luck to them. I don't understand the obsession some people have with selling Linux to the masses.

Sadly Window$ is still the king. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27483893)

What devices do you think they are readying the new version of windows mobile for? smart phones and ARM devices.

FOSS has almost no penetration in the home markets. Sadly M$ plans to keep it that way as best they can. The only hope here is if enough vendors push Android or a FOSS solution despite the pressure they will have from M$.

After the debacle most of the vendors had in Linux support on their netbooks, most will be happy to use M$ if the licensing fees are low enough to offset the support cost savings.

Re:Sadly Window$ is still the king. (2, Informative)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27484007)

> After the debacle most of the vendors had in Linux support on their netbooks..

Yes, many though they could simply wave the magic Pengin around and make the whole software side disappear from the balance sheet. Idiocy like shipping a SuSE on a machine with a webcam but no driver support. I'd have returned turds like that too.

On the other hand Asus and some of the more clueful OEMs got it right. They report return rates in line with other computer products.

> ..most will be happy to use M$ if the licensing fees are low enough to offset the support cost savings.

But that is the upcoming problem. To keep Microsoft going in the style they are accustomed they have to reap serious coin per user. That was easy when computers almost always cost >$1000. It showed strains as prices fell to $500. By accepting lower prices and bringing XP back from the dead they survived the $400 netbook and have managed to suck it up as lowball prices fell to $350, then $300. But even Dell doesn't pitch XP when they do the Mini 9 on promo at $199. And if the ARM invasion succeeds $199 will soon be an expensive SKU. There just aren't enough dollars there to feed Microsoft's need for revenue.

Re:No cause for alarm, totally expected (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 5 years ago | (#27484021)

The original specs couldn't run XP very well
Afaict the original EEE 700 was pretty poor whatever OS you used due to it's very small display and very small storage, very few others made netbooks that crappy though.

The EEE 900 (cheap old celeron CPU, 12G-20G flash, 9 inch 1024x600 display) runs XP ok. Installing software is a bit slow because of the slow write speed of the flash, the small vertical resoloution is annoying (but this also applies to most 10 inch netbooks) but other than that it's fine.

and it wasn't an option
XP home was still availible normally when the first netbooks came out. Indeed my brothers EEE 900 has a normal ASUS windows XP home license sticker not a ULCPC license sticker.

I beleive that loading linux on the intial models served two main purposes

1: get the price as low as possible
2: In light of the impending XP deadline make it clear to MS that they consider shipping with linux and letting customers pirate XP themselves to be a viable option.

Afaict "netbooks" currently serve two markets
1: cheap ultraportable laptops
2: portable internet terminals

The arm netbooks will probablly takeover the former leaving the wintel machines to keep the latter. Which will prove more popular remains to be seen.

How? (1)

rampant mac (561036) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483689)

"How does Redmond make an 80% gain in netbook market share without the sales numbers reflecting that gain?"

The same way the Mac was 400% faster in Photoshop competitions? Select a minuscule market where you want to see growth -> See massive growth -> Expunge data.

Oh, you mean netbooks that have a 800x600 screen & flash drives with only 2 gigs of storage? Yeah, then we meant 0.01/4 growth instead.

Stupid Question (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483691)

How does Redmond make an 80% gain in netbook market share without the sales numbers reflecting that gain?

Because an 80% increase in netbook sales is still tiny compared to 8% of total Windows sales.

Penetration, sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27483697)

We all know what Microshit means when they talk about "market penetration."

Re:Penetration, sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27483747)

It means it's fucked. And not in a good way.

Re:Penetration, sure... (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483993)

"Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense."

Microsoft is probably telling the truth (5, Insightful)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483719)

This goes against the prevailing wisdom here, but Linux is not necessarily the best OS for netbooks.

The newest netbooks have about as much CPU power and memory as a notebook computer made 3 years ago. That's enough to run windows XP and older Microsoft applications such as office 2003.

And, Windows has the overwhelming advantage it always did : it has an enormous existing software library that still dwarfs that of Linux. An operating system is an enormously powerful natural monopoly. It's time to admit that the only way Linux or MacOS could ever pull ahead and have the diversity of software Windows has is if Microsoft royally screws up over a period of years. Windows ME didn't even scratch Microsoft's monopoly, because everyone kept using Win98, and it appears that Vista is the same way.

Finally, I've heard many complain that the netbook manufacturers don't properly choose a good Linux distro and configure it with all the software a user is likely to ever need. If the manufacturers did that, pre-installing open office and VLC media player and firefox and the rest, and tuned the distro behind the scenes to run blazing fast on a flash disk, then Linux might have stayed a viable option.

I would assume Microsoft has also adapated to this market : they must be offering a substantial discount on the software license for a netbook. Wouldn't surprise me if they were selling "XP for netbook use" for $20 a license. It could very well be that it is cheaper to pay Microsoft than it is to pay the technical support costs for Linux.

Re:Microsoft is probably telling the truth (4, Interesting)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483801)

That's funny, the exact reason I bought a Wind was because I don't play fancy ass games much and that's why I prefer Ubuntu...

Since it's such a bitch to refund the copy of XP that came on my Wind, I just ripped off the key sticker and sold it to my friend for $25.

Re:Microsoft is probably telling the truth (2, Informative)

leeosenton (764295) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483849)

This goes against the prevailing wisdom here, but Linux is not necessarily the best OS for netbooks.

The newest netbooks have about as much CPU power and memory as a notebook computer made 3 years ago. That's enough to run windows XP and older Microsoft applications such as office 2003.

And, Windows has the overwhelming advantage it always did : it has an enormous existing software library that still dwarfs that of Linux. An operating system is an enormously powerful natural monopoly. It's time to admit that the only way Linux or MacOS could ever pull ahead and have the diversity of software Windows has is if Microsoft royally screws up over a period of years. Windows ME didn't even scratch Microsoft's monopoly, because everyone kept using Win98, and it appears that Vista is the same way.

Finally, I've heard many complain that the netbook manufacturers don't properly choose a good Linux distro and configure it with all the software a user is likely to ever need. If the manufacturers did that, pre-installing open office and VLC media player and firefox and the rest, and tuned the distro behind the scenes to run blazing fast on a flash disk, then Linux might have stayed a viable option.

I would assume Microsoft has also adapated to this market : they must be offering a substantial discount on the software license for a netbook. Wouldn't surprise me if they were selling "XP for netbook use" for $20 a license. It could very well be that it is cheaper to pay Microsoft than it is to pay the technical support costs for Linux.

The MS license that accompanies Dell Mini 9s is $50 (the linux Mini 9 is $50 cheaper). I started with Windows and ended up with Ubuntu Linux. I disagree with the idea that Windows XP may be more suitable for a netbook than Linux. Try installing XP, setting up your hardware, load a few applications, and then load office. It will take a fair amount of your day. Then do the same with Ubuntu (a common choice for netbooks). I spent an hour and everything worked: hibernate, wireless, compiz for fancy window effects, and even printing to a wireless printer. If you haven't tried Linux in a while, then you should revisit soon. You will find installation, maintenance, security, and usability are all better than XP.

Re:Microsoft is probably telling the truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27483961)

Your suggestion that Linux distributors package more software with their basic distro is odd to me, seeing as Windows does not do that unless the OEM includes it. As I see it, Windows may have a larger software library, but Linux has a tremendous advantage in the form of software repositories. Adding all those programs under Windows generally involves seeking out the website for each individual program and running a ton of executables that you really can't be sure are all legit. Compare this to, say, Ubuntu, where the entire repository is easy to browse and you can feel reasonably secure as to the safety of the files you're downloading.

I'm really not seeing where Linux has a disadvantage here.

Re:Microsoft is probably telling the truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27484031)

Oh, please...'an enormous existing software library'...of mainly junk, and costly junk at that.

I'll never use windows again, regardless of the 'enormous existing software library', which costs a fortune.

Linux, and it's 'enormous existing software library' has everything I'll ever need...and it's free, and I can modify it if I wish...this is FAR more valuable than the 'enormous existing costly buggy windows software library'.

Well, have fun downloading and installing all that junk from the windows 'enormous existing software library'.

Meanwhile, I'll be far ahead, never having to waste time with innumerable windows software problems, malware, defragmenting, etc., etc., that you evidentally enjoy along with your 'enormous existing software library'.

I might be uninformed (3, Interesting)

wicka (985217) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483739)

How many netbooks actually come with a full version of Linux? Admittedly I don't follow the latest netbook developments much, but most of the Linux models I've seen have some rainbows and unicorns OS that is only suitable for people under 10 years old.

How Do They Count Netbooks Like Mine? (2, Insightful)

leeosenton (764295) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483751)

A sale does not constitute usage. I bought mine with XP and later tried Ubuntu from a live CD using an external drive. My system ran faster and better on Ubuntu. So I installed it and I have not missed Windows on my netbook. Something tells me MS still counts me as an installed base.

Re:How Do They Count Netbooks Like Mine? (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483913)

A sale does not constitute usage.

Indeed, my last 2 computers have been factory installed with XP, yet coming with Vista upgrade CDs. Now I still occasionally boot XP when work requires me to test under windows. But according to MS, two sales of Vista. :)

Re:How Do They Count Netbooks Like Mine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27483923)

They don't care. MS get the license fee, it gets ticked up as a PC sales, everyone is happy. Why do you think MS disallowed naked PC sales? Because piracy was really an issue? No because they did not get the license fee.

It's probably true (0, Troll)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483757)

"...Microsoft says Windows' share of the US netbook market has ballooned from less than 10% in the first half of 2008 to 96% as of February..."

To know why, we need to look at the alternative:

Linux: This offer more often than not, suffers from the following issues:

1: Poor and often inferior hardware specs as compared to systems loaded with Windows

2: Microsoft became smart and did that fast! They were about to retire Windows XP but decided to let it live. [lifehacker.com]

3: Software on Linux systems still sucks big time, though folks at KDE appear to be doing a better job than those at GNOME.

4: Folks around Linux still cannot understand that in the software world, choice while good, breeds confusion. On this very point Bill Gates stated it bluntly while referring to UNIX. He said..."With so many different (Unix) versions, said Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corp., 'There's always been Tower of Babel sort of bickering inside Unix, but this is the most extreme form ever. . . . This means at least several years of confusion.'"

Who gained out of this confusion? Microsoft.

How did they count them? (1)

Todrael (601100) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483759)

Maybe they're also counting machines with intellectual property thefted (so much easier to say 'pirated..') XP on them. I've definitely heard of lots of people buying these little machines and then throwing on the "free" version of XP...

Or, perhaps... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27483769)

Like me, I bought a Dell Mini 9 netbook with Windows because they were trying to get rid of them *cheap* ($250 US), and immediately ditched it for hackintosh Mac OS X...

Because they are NOT NETBOOKS (0, Troll)

markdavis (642305) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483771)

How is it possible? Because what MS (and many companies) are calling a "netbook" are *NOT* netbooks. Netbooks were supposed to be:

1) Small, light
2) Inexpensive
3) Lower specs/speed/ram/resolution
4) Solid state storage

and in all original incarnations

5) Linux based

So, the answer to the questions is: just change the definition of a "netbook" to the same specs as a regular entry-level notebook, ressurect XP, give XP away for nearly free, and then marvel at the market penetration. Sorry, I am not impressed.

Re:Because they are NOT NETBOOKS (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27483897)

You're doing the same thing by making up your own definition which excludes XP.

The fact that once XP is included in the definition the number of netbooks with XP on them vs Linux on them kind of implies that XP has some bearing on what people want on their netbooks.

A monopoly is self-perpetuating... (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483775)

... regardless of the poor quality of the product. Even Microsoft says that people buy Windows only because people are accustomed to and comfortable with all its problems.

.
The only way to break the monopoly is a computing paradigm-shift, similar to what the smartphones are doing.

Forget $199 netbooks (1)

voss (52565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483777)

Whats microsoft gonna do when $99 arm netbooks come out?

People say race for the bottom like its a terrible thing... im quite happy with my $19 dvd player thank you very much. Make it cheap, easy to use and good enough.

And remember Windows Mobile (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483955)

Whats microsoft gonna do when $99 arm netbooks come out?

The same thing it did when ARM-based PDAs and phones came out: make a distribution of Windows CE called Windows Mobile.

Re:Forget $199 netbooks (2, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483981)

NT4 came for 4 different architectures.

They could do it again.

Selective bragging... (1)

Onyma (1018104) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483783)

Funny how Microsoft is so quick to tout big gains in OS adoption but they probably aren't shouting too loudly that it's an OS they have been trying desperately to kill off. "Yay! Selling like hotcakes! Now die... Die... DIE!!!"

Lie, cheat, steal ... (1)

LordThyGod (1465887) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483805)

.. who knows. They don't exactly have much of a track record in the honesty or integrity department. The one thing they do really well is hype.

at least 90% windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27483817)

There have been other sources for quite a while now that have confirmed the huge shift in netbook sales to Windows. The last one I heard was some months ago, at which point 90% of netbook sales were on Windows.

The simple fact that most slashdotters don't want to admit is that people *want* Windows. They don't want Linux. We can all sit around and speculate on the reasons, but the basic fact is unchanged. They want Windows, and if they have any idea what Linux is at all, they consider it a "cheap knockoff". They want the real thing.

2 months vs 6 months data (1)

Mishotaki (957104) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483867)

So:

1- Take 2 months of data

2- Take the data from the first 6 months of a year prior

3- Compare data

4- ....

5- Profit!

Let's not forget... (5, Insightful)

Shadow7789 (1000101) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483887)

Let's not forget that Microsoft had to be dragged kicking and screaming into this market.

Well, it probably was true... (1)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483991)

... until I replaced it with Mac OS X. (Acer Aspire One / 1.5GB RAM / 8GB SSD / Broadcom Networking Card)

Linux user here. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27484035)

Even though I am a Linux user, if I were to purchase a netbook, it would have Windows on it. This is because of M$'s licensing scam. If I purchased one without Windows and then would up needing it later, it would cost me about $200 for a copy. The Windows netbook doesn't cost much more, and the Linux distros that ship on them aren't the ones for me. Thus it makes no sense for me to buy a Linux netbook. I can just install my favourite distoro on it anyway, and I have a copy of Windows for the thing if I need it later.

Where can I buy a Linux netbook? (5, Insightful)

ladislavb (551945) | more than 5 years ago | (#27484039)

Last week I walked into no fewer than 20 different computer stores here in Taiwan (the home of ASUS, Acer, MSI, etc), big and small, in order to buy a Linux netbook. But despite the fact that some of them displayed as many as 20 different brands and models, I found exactly 0 (zero!) netbooks shipping with Linux. Zero, nada, nothing! It just doesn't exist any more.

So yes, I believe Microsoft and its 96% figure. While people had choice between Linux and Windows, the figure was very different, but since the consumers are no longer offered a Linux option, even 96% seems low. The situation with netbooks is now exactly the same as with laptops - it's 2009 and it's still impossible to buy one without Windows pre-installed!

I always have to laugh when I read news about EU suing Microsoft for bundling a browser or a media player with Windows, but fails to see the real issue - Microsoft's complete stronghold over hardware manufacturers. ASUS, Acer, MSI, Dell, HP - they all "recommend Windows for everyday computing" on their web sites. Out of their free will, no doubt...

the way i read this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27484053)

the way i read this was that microsoft has f*#ked 96% of netbooks... =p

96% penetration? (1, Funny)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 5 years ago | (#27484085)

That's not what she said.
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