Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Linux is losing ground on netbook sales

There is a company, Ovum, that researched the netbook market share and reported the following:

after a strong start, Linux netbooks have now been overtaken by Windows netbooks and Linux is lagging increasingly behind in terms of sales.

This is the high point of the report as it takes on a much darker aspect of the Linux market.

Linux's performance in the netbook segment is still outstanding compared to its overall performance in the desktop market.

Ouch! but possibly true.

Let's take a look at this report. Linux had a strong start until Microsoft came along and started doing their borderline illegal tactics. They basically begged and paid vendors to help them advertise Windows XP with incentives. In many cases, this meant that you could get a Windows netbook with better hardware then a Linux netbook at equal or cheaper price point. In other cases, it meant that Windows had hardware that was not available on Linux but you still could get a discount that made it a no brainer to choose Windows. In either case, Microsoft got away with murder because they were able to abuse their power. Maybe the reason they had to lay off 5,000 employees and their stock price is unstable.

The big loser here is still Vista as it was the first Operating System Windows attempted to use in netbooks. Did the report say anything about Vista having zero market shares in the netbook market? I don't think so. Any how netbooks are cool devices but I don't think Microsoft currently has an answer to MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices) runing on the ARM processors. If these devices sold at a lower price of netbooks become popular during this economic downturn, Microsoft may have a weak spot. When people get used to Linux on MIDs they may turn to it on netbooks and from their on to desktops. Reversing the research done by Ovum.

The other chance Linux has is through Google's Android Operating System. If Google chooses to compete on the desktop market with Microsoft, it could lead to some exciting times in the Tech industry. As Google has the muscle and weight to counter act anything Microsoft has. This is a fight I am willing to report on, if only Google would take the first step.

The other thing that must be said is that Windows 7 is not out yet. Many report Windows 7 as the right stuff to replace Windows XP. I don't know if this is true but can Windows 7 actually run on a netbook with anti-virus software and an Office suite. I believe that it can but will be limited in functionality. If so, Linux may still have a chance in reclaiming more netbook market shares.

Recommend story to read:

Linux loses ground on netbooks - can Android save it?

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