Microsoft Boasts about Windows Usage on Netbooks
Article by George Norman
On 08 Apr 2009
A market research conducted by NPD has revealed that about 96% of netbooks sold on the US market in February were shipped out with the Windows operating system pre-installed. From a worldwide perspective, of the 15 million netbooks that were sold last year, about three quarters ran on Windows. This is not such good news for Linux, but it is great news for Microsoft, company that one year ago (February 2008) held less than 10% of the netbook market. It is twofold good news if you keep in mind that analysts have estimated global shipments of netbooks are going to range between 20 and 30 million units in 2009.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since we first started to see netbook PCs running Windows come to market. Little did we know that these devices would evolve so much in such a short time. A year ago, they were Internet-centric devices defined mainly by their tiny size and low cost. An interesting concept perhaps, but sales didn’t really take off until the category evolved into the more capable small notebook PCs we see on the market today. The growth of Windows on netbook PCs* over the last year has been phenomenal,” comments Windows Communication Manager, Brandon LeBlanc.


The increase of Windows usage on netbooks can be explained by one simple factor: as netbooks became more powerful, users wanted them to run in a similar fashion as their desktop machine would. Netbooks nowadays can truly be considered “small PCs”, and as such the user expects to get the same kind of functionality from a netbook as he gets from a regular PC. This extends to the operating system as well; the user that has Windows running on his desktop machine will want to run windows on the netbook.

One other interesting thing has been revealed by the research: users return Linux loaded netbooks more often that Windows loaded ones. Brandon LeBlanc again: “Not only are people overwhelmingly buying Windows, but those that try Linux are often returning it. Both MSI and Canonical stated publicly they saw Linux return rates 4 times higher than Windows. Why such a disparity? Because users simply expect the Windows experience. When they realize their Linux-based netbook PC doesn’t deliver that same quality of experience, they get frustrated and take it back. Why are consumers choosing Windows? Because its’ easier to use, just works out of the box with people’s stuff, and ultimately offers more choice.”

At least one European organization is happy with having ditched Windows for Linux: the Gendarmerie Nationale (details here); and at least one US State has had enough of Windows (Vista): Texas (details here).

Tags: Microsoft, Windows, Linux, Netbooks, NPD
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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