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Windows Loaded on 96 Percent of New Netbooks

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 29 comments

Walk into a computer store and you’ll see nearly all notebooks preloaded with Windows Vista. Check out the netbooks, and you’ll see it’s nearly all Windows XP -- and nearly as in 96 percent.

We’ve been hearing lately that Windows XP will live on through various download programs, but until Windows 7 Starter Edition ships, the eight year old XP will still be ruling netbooks.

Citing NPD data, Microsoft says that 96 percent of all netbooks sold throughout February 2009 came with Windows. We presume that the vast majority of Windows-based netbooks run Windows XP rather than Vista.

Microsoft boasts that this is a huge win, as the same NPD source also had Windows as having less than 10 percent of the netbook pie during the first half of 2008.

That means that there’s been a dramatic shift away from Linux-based OS and towards Windows. Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc explains in the Windows Experience blog, “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. Here’s a telling stat: In the UK, Carphone Warehouse dropped Linux-based netbook PCs, citing customer confusion as a reason for a whopping 1-in-5 return rate.”

LeBlanc also explains that consumers are now expecting more out of their netbooks. Gone are the days of the small 7-inch screen that’s just to run Firefox and Open Office, users are now wanting the same things as a notebook, only smaller.

“Some believed consumers wouldn’t want or need their netbook PC to be a full-featured PC,” wrote LeBlanc. “In fact, the exact opposite turned out to be true – a number of analysts and researchers following the space see ample evidence indicating customers really DO want netbook PCs to work like their larger brethren – and that the way the vast majority of consumers make that happen is by buying a netbook PC with Windows.”

This point is no better proved than by the Asus Eee 1004DN with its inclusion of an optical drive. The Dell Mini 10 also includes an HDMI output, and promises eventual TV tuner and GPS support.

Obviously Microsoft likes having 96 percent of the market share (and probably wants more), but it cannot continue to run on Windows XP forever. LeBlanc reiterated the company’s aim to put Windows 7 on netbooks once again, saying, “Looking forward, we can confidently say that no matter how netbook PC hardware evolves, we’re gearing up to ensure that Windows 7 will run great on them. As we mentioned at PDC, we’ve been testing Windows 7 on netbook PCs since before Windows 7 was feature complete, and our plan is to enable these small notebook PCs to run any edition of Windows 7.”

Perhaps the best thing thrifty consumers have to expect from Windows 7-based netbooks is a price tag of around $200.

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  • 1 Hide
    blazer_123 , April 7, 2009 3:44 PM
    If these numbers, which come from Microsoft, have any validity then what was the worst possible outcome has occurred. Low cost niche computers have been bloated with costly/unnecessary software and hardware.

    Why don't people just start calling them what they really are: Full Fledged Notebooks.
  • 3 Hide
    theJ , April 7, 2009 3:55 PM
    blazer_123If these numbers, which come from Microsoft, have any validity then what was the worst possible outcome has occurred. Low cost niche computers have been bloated with costly/unnecessary software and hardware. Why don't people just start calling them what they really are: Full Fledged Notebooks.

    No kidding. A linux netbook to me is the best netbook you can have. It's fast, reliable and safe. You don't have to worry about adding virus protection and all that.

    Why would you need Windows just to surf the internet?
  • 0 Hide
    tayb , April 7, 2009 4:04 PM
    blazer_123If these numbers, which come from Microsoft, have any validity then what was the worst possible outcome has occurred. Low cost niche computers have been bloated with costly/unnecessary software and hardware. Why don't people just start calling them what they really are: Full Fledged Notebooks.

    Has the cost of netbooks gone up? Oh...
  • 4 Hide
    mforce2 , April 7, 2009 4:11 PM
  • 0 Hide
    mforce2 , April 7, 2009 4:20 PM
    thejNo kidding. A linux netbook to me is the best netbook you can have. It's fast, reliable and safe. You don't have to worry about adding virus protection and all that.Why would you need Windows just to surf the internet?

    Well I thought that was obvious, there's no IE for Linux. The Linux users have been praying for MS to come and deliver the Internet as it should be to them but unfortunately it seems we'll have to make due with Firefox or Opera. Besides where's the fun in it if it's not easy to pick up some viruses on your netbook , will you have the same PC experience then ?
    Seriously now I can understand Windows as an OS of choice , the interface is familiar to people ( though KDE looks pretty much the same ) and all the apps you know run perfectly. Software support is still lacking on Linux, Skype for instance has a pretty poor version for Linux compared to the Windows one and they're not open sourcing either.
    Anyway the netbooks are going to split in 2 groups pretty soon , one will be high end Windows models and then there will be the arm based one for your basic needs. As a more geeky person though I have no problem with Linux and I can get almost all things I want done without Windows.
  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , April 7, 2009 4:45 PM
    I got myself a portable 7" netbook with Linux. It runs fine, no problems browsing the web or chatting via IM (though I do turn off Flash so a webpage with a million ads doesn't choke-out my C7 processor). I even downloaded a few linux games to play in my sparetime (Simutrans is fun).

    However, when I bought my fiancee a netbook, I got her one with Windows installed. The main reason was software support. I didn't want to buy her a portable computer that she couldn't use to play her favorite Shockwave games (lots of them still require IE or Windows). Everything else would have worked fine on Linux (Open Office, Opera/FireFox, IM), but it was the desire to take her games on the go that killed Linux.

    Sadly, until software vendors realize that simple applications don't need to be tied to a platform (open protocols and languages like Java allow portability everywhere), we'll continue to see a world dominated by Windows, even for something as simple as a netbook.

    This is, of course, ignoring people that want to transform a netbook from a portable net device into simply a "Cheap Notebook". Those people need to realize that's not what a netbook is for, thats what a cheap notebook is for.
  • 1 Hide
    deltatux , April 7, 2009 5:12 PM
    I'm surprised people are surprised by these figures as Windows does dominate about 90% of the world's operating system market so it isn't quite shocking to me.

    To me, Netbooks are just not worth it, it doesn't save you any cost for what you're getting. It's like getting an Athlon X2 desktop for $1000, doesn't make sense to me.
  • 2 Hide
    michaelahess , April 7, 2009 5:15 PM
    I just got a dell mini 9 with bt and webcam for $220. Can't beat that. Came with Ubuntu and I tripple booted OSX and XP. Ubuntu is the easiest and fastest of them. Course I also put in 2GB of ram. I wouldn't use XP/Vista on this for anything if I didn't have a couple apps that won't run on the other two.
  • 0 Hide
    jsloan , April 7, 2009 5:30 PM
    lets face it windows is pretty much a mass consumer product, and linux is not, go down to walmart, best buy and see what they sell. buy something then try to install it on linux netbook, no way it wont even install because it's windows software. thats the problem, all the software that people easily pick up is written for windows. sure their is some linux stuff, but nowhere near what is available for consumers under windors. linux is something for people who dont like windows, its the alternative for the 5% crowd that never agrees with what everyone else agrees with, they will put up with ctyptic manual installation, anything, just not windows.
  • 3 Hide
    LuxZg , April 7, 2009 5:32 PM
    Well, I have to say that it's a dream comming true for me. I always imagined a world where any hardware, no matter how small, would run the exact same application as do their big brethren on desktop.

    If I have a favourite application, or several of them indeed, I want them on my desktop, laptop, netbook, kitchen PC, TV, and mobile phone as well.

    So I'm all for this, and I can't wait for Win7 to come out, so people can trully have one OS that works on all these types of hardware. Well, except on mobile phones.. we'll leave that for Windows 8 or 9.. :D 
  • 1 Hide
    zedx , April 7, 2009 6:06 PM
    Really Linux and OSS have more than almost everything for work. The only reason to use windoze would be to play demanding games or if you are mentally retarded to learn a few useful thing for using a new OS / GUI, no I'm not talking of money. And I can see little reason except some hardware support for not using a linux laptop. After all you won't run crysis on a netbook and if you want a few games you have a few simple games like planet penguin racer / supertuxkart / wormux /gnome-kde games etc etc. Or if you want a better game you can play tremulous.

    And yeah devs really need to develop cross platform apps. Java's great for simple apps and has become quite a standard. And also in games if you don't need crysis like graphics why can't you simply build a cross platform app using something like OGRE or Irllicht?
  • 8 Hide
    The Schnoz , April 7, 2009 6:10 PM
    The reason most consumers want there netbooks to be full fledged ntebooks is because thats what they think they are. they don't know what a netbook is. To them they just see a tiny portable notebook without a dvd drive, which in most cases is acceptable. They don't know what an Atom processor is, how lame the Intel integrated graphics are, and most consumers probably don't even know what an operating system is. I bet many consumers aren't even aware of Linux and just think that if it ain't a Mac it must have Windows on it. Tech saavy people know what a netbook is and what it is for, but your average consumer doesn't have a fucking clue when it comes to computers.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 7, 2009 6:48 PM
    I think this is pretty simple - often you can't buy selected model without Vista or you must pay almost the same for netbook without windows (sometimes netbooks witch Vista are cheaper in store (I know I from my beautiful country Poland :p )).
  • -2 Hide
    kelbo , April 7, 2009 6:49 PM
    This is ridiculous!
    Windows in a netbook rules?! what about your antivirus, antispyware, firewall, antispam, antiphishing......
    when you realize, you have paid a huge amount of money and have shrank your resources to the ground, and what are you going to do?? install office and internet explorer???
    Linux is just great for this, since you do not have to worry about all those, do not have to pay for any protection of office suite, and works well.

    The problem lays in mis-information from the very sellers!! they do not know any of this, and the buyer asks them for info? One seller even asked me what the s-video was when I was looking for a laptop!! and that is the man who recommends windows.... cant't believe it.
  • 0 Hide
    matt_b , April 7, 2009 6:52 PM
    "Microsoft boasts that this is a huge win, as the same NPD source also had Windows as having less than 10 percent of the netbook pie during the first half of 2008."
    This should read more like it's a huge loss at customers are unwilling to take a chance with the current OS and instead are switching or downgrading. As far as "less than 10 percent of the netbook pie", perhaps they were referring to Windows - as in Vista. So this prediction could still have truth to it.
  • 0 Hide
    vaskodogama , April 7, 2009 7:11 PM
    why would I go to a OS that has very little support of the world? not mentioning only linux or OSX, even XP cuz it's the end of it's life cycle. if I choose windows [7 and vista], cuz it has got the best and the most support. the dark side is the viruses and malwares, and that is solved with only an antivirus and malware protection software!
    it's not accidental that windows is Prosperous! simply, it's the best!
  • 0 Hide
    jsloan , April 7, 2009 7:38 PM
    people still dont get it go down to best buy buy a $5 card game, it wont run a a netbook that has linux installed period. forget the fact that they may be a linux version somewhere, they are not going to search the web for it. then call comcast and say that you have a problem connecting to their service and they ask you what version of windows you are running. windows is the standard. its like with cars here in the us have the driver on the left side, if you buy a car with driver on the right side most places cant handle it, you most likely will have problem getting it registered in most states, you will have problems when you go to your garage for fixes, they won't know what to do, they wont have the parts, everything will cost you more and be more of a hassle so most people go out and buy the default car, in this case the default os, and the default is windows.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 7, 2009 8:08 PM
    I think most people buy a XP powered netbook because it costs only slightly more than a Linux one. After purchase it's easier to equip the netbook with either version, and get away with an XP licence key!

    Also drivers, most drivers of linux based systems come opensource, while the installation of XP often is modified from an OEM version.
    Meaning, installing drivers on a Linux will be just the same as when you purchase a linux, while installing XP on a Lin system you might miss some drivers or software that come pre-installed on an XP pre-installed system!
  • 0 Hide
    jsloan , April 7, 2009 8:25 PM
    also, ive worked for extremely large organizations, their it departments dont want to support n flavors of consumer linux installs, they have enough problems supporting windows. i remember they buy basically the same old sh*t with the same software, they have images with what you get depending on what you do, so you get windows, developer tools, office, vpn software, ect they dont really install things manually, they often lock down the machines so you can't really install your own stuff. if most people buying netbooks are for large companies, they are just not going to deal with the linux nightmare of different releases. the vpn, backup ect software most likely does not have a linux version. so they cant support linux. also they most likely going to install outlook and tie it to their exchange server, so linux is out. they are not going to install for you open source stuff, that they dont control, have tested, support.

    i remember working developing software at these firms and i was not even able to update the perl version that they gave me. if i did i was like on a list of people to get rid of my stuff would not be deployed, ect.

    here is a better one, i remeber when i worked at sun they would not even deploy the stuff i did in java, yes java!, it took forever, took a blessing from god, their it folks were like very nervous, because they had still not blessed java to be used, sure they were telling the world to use it. they feared java had some hole which would create a hole in their network, surreal, but it's true.

    one more funny thing about sun, all their executives had / wanted very expensive laptops running the latest version of windows and the latest version of microsoft office, not solaris, not open office. it was surreal, but true.

    so i'm not surrpised, however sadden, by the news item.
  • 0 Hide
    pharge , April 7, 2009 8:47 PM
    I believe a lot of (if not most) people out there who bought a netbook were because it is "cheap" not because they want to buy a "netbook" instead of a "laptop". So it is not surprise that a lot of netbook users would like their netbooks run like laptops (similar OS as in laptops and similar (if not same) softwares as in laptops) (even if is slower).
    So is this news a big surprise? to me... though it is sad to say..... but it is not really a surprise to me....
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