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Microsoft Boasts 96% Netbook Penetration 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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Microsoft Boasts 96% Netbook Penetration

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  • Honeymoon is over (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <qg@biodome.org> on Monday April 06, 2009 @09:24PM (#27483631) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by jeffmeden ( 135043 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @09:26PM (#27483653) Homepage Journal

    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?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 06, 2009 @09:27PM (#27483663)

    one word: ARM

  • by Myopic ( 18616 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @09:29PM (#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.

  • by Vectronic ( 1221470 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @09:33PM (#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.

  • by ShooterNeo ( 555040 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @09:34PM (#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.

  • by leeosenton ( 764295 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @09:39PM (#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.
  • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <`gro.uaeb' `ta' `sirromj'> on Monday April 06, 2009 @09:40PM (#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.

  • by digitalunity ( 19107 ) <digitalunity&yahoo,com> on Monday April 06, 2009 @09:47PM (#27483813) Homepage

    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]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 06, 2009 @09:52PM (#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.

  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <bruce@perens.com> on Monday April 06, 2009 @09:53PM (#27483855) Homepage Journal

    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:WinCE vs Linux? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by domatic ( 1128127 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @09:53PM (#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.

  • by Shadow7789 ( 1000101 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @09:57PM (#27483887)
    Let's not forget that Microsoft had to be dragged kicking and screaming into this market.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 06, 2009 @09:58PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 06, 2009 @09:58PM (#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.

  • Re:WinCE vs Linux? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <`gro.uaeb' `ta' `sirromj'> on Monday April 06, 2009 @09:58PM (#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.

  • by initialE ( 758110 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @10:02PM (#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.

  • by bgerlich ( 1035008 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @10:08PM (#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.
  • Linux user here. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 06, 2009 @10:15PM (#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.

  • by ladislavb ( 551945 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @10:16PM (#27484039) Homepage

    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...

  • by schon ( 31600 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @10:25PM (#27484101)

    IIRC Acer's VP said that returns of their Linux netbooks are 30% higher than the Windows versions, however ASUS's CEO says that return rates for EeePcs are the same for Linux models as for Windows [laptopmag.com]

    This probably reflects a difference between Acer and ASUS. Acer netbooks are sold as small notebooks, while the Eee aren't really sold as notebook replacements, but rather as their own, separate type of computer. Basically, people expect the Eee to be different than their Windows notebook or desktop, and so aren't immediately put off by the interface, whereas Acer customers are sold a "tiny laptop computer", buy the Linux version, and get upset when it's not exactly like what they're used to.

  • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @10:25PM (#27484103)

    I think what happened is that lots of people want a "portable computer" to do more than just access the web. They want something they can use to do word processing, spreadsheets and presentations (which for most people means Microsoft Office). They want something to connect to their email (which often means they need Outlook). Lots of people are sold on the idea of a device that can do these things that doesn't cost as much as a laptop (with some cellphone carriers offering bundles of netbooks and mobile broadband, its even more attractive)

  • by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @10:29PM (#27484135) Homepage

    Linux beat Vista by infinity percent, though.

  • Re: epic failures (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- ( 624050 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @10:34PM (#27484159) Journal

    That made me sad. Alphas were good chips.

  • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @10:37PM (#27484175)

    Especially the newer LinuxBIOS, which kicks the tar out of that piece of proprietary and undocumented debris that AMI has been foisting on suckers for the past decade or so. Being forced to cooperate with a superior, open source BIOS such as that on the OLPC project. I'm looking forward to massive delight to Microsoft having to hold its news and get comfortable with the superior, much faster booting system to make Microsoft's painfully slow boot processes look bad.

  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @10:38PM (#27484189) Homepage Journal
    I maintain that a netbook running Windows, or even a standard Linux build, isn't really a netbook. It's really just a small, underpowered laptop.

    The whole point of netbooks was supposed to be that they *weren't* PC's, they were consumer electronics devices. Quickie access to the Internet, a little photo sharing and music playing ... all of the things that you didn't really want to drag out a PC to do, but didn't really want to cram onto a phone either ... and with a snappy operating system that boots up quickly and gets the job done without calling attention to itself. If you have to run Windows Update on your netbook to protect it from the worm-of-the-week ... you've totally missed the point.

    I'm more interested in the next generation of netbooks -- the ones that will cost $150-200 and run for eight or nine hours on one battery charge -- running low-power ARM and a designed for small form factor OS like Android. That generation of hardware will prove that a netbook isn't supposed to act like a PC. (And even if Microsoft weasels its way into that market by building Windows for ARM, they'll still find themselves at a disadvantage because x86 Windows software won't run on it. In fact, they'll even be faced with an unprecedented rate of customers returning them for just that reason.)

    Let PC's be PC's and let netbooks be netbooks. They're not the same thing.
  • by Gordo_1 ( 256312 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @10:47PM (#27484235)

    I got one of them fancy Samsung NC10 netbooks (Atom 1.6GHz, gig RAM, XP pre-installed).

    My OS of choice?

    Mozilla Firefox.

    At least that's where I spend 99% of my time on it.

    Aside from the fact that MS probably counts shipped units to come up with its "96%" claim, does it really matter whether Linux geeks or Microsoft (or both) claim me as a user? The underlying OS identity is about as relevant to me as the manufacturer of the 2.5" hard drive the unit comes with. I stuck with XP since it was the path of least resistance.


  • by jav1231 ( 539129 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @10:50PM (#27484259)
    "The whole point of netbooks was supposed to be that they *weren't* PC's, they were consumer electronics devices."

    Ummm...no that's apparently what you thought. If that were the case more of them would have shipped with such OS's. Wait, they didn't exist.
  • by guruevi ( 827432 ) <`moc.stiucricve' `ta' `ive'> on Monday April 06, 2009 @11:00PM (#27484331) Homepage

    They did it in a time that there was a difference between server-grade, enterprise-grade and desktop-grade software. Their desktop software was DOS and Windows NT wasn't really usable for any type of desktop use. The code base was very small, 1 or 2 API's to speak off, the video and some other subsystems were in userland (not integrated in the kernel) and only a few simple apps. They were also helped by IBM and had developers that were used to programming for multiple architectures.

    Now things have become a mess. Over time, those architectures have died off in the mainstream in favor of x86. You can use Windows Server on a desktop, Windows XP as a server, they're all the same really. A whole lot of stuff that's now ultimately complex sits in the kernel and would need re-developed and rebuilt from the ground up to be usable on other architectures (DirectX, .NET, Internet Explorer, a whole lot of device drivers...). Just look at the problem it is to get an x86 extension (64-bit) supported decently.

    On the other hand Linux over time has always been modular and over time has been kept running (willingly or not) on hardware that's classically Big Iron (Unix) domain and lately handheld and embedded devices even though some of it (PPC Linux) might be slightly outdated it still works. That's because the main developers (Linus and friends) don't necessarily need to be involved in the development for such hardware whereas Microsoft does need to be involved for such changes (and if it's not profitable, it doesn't get done). A single company or even a single developer can keep track of it in his spare time as long as it's profitable for them, they don't need to wait on their vendor.

  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @11:03PM (#27484357)


    Every netbook article on Slashdot, somebody brings up the ARM chip. Fine. ARM.

    Here's a challenge: link me to an ARM netbook I can buy right now. Not a "development platform" not some in-development idea, but an actual physical piece of hardware I can walk into Fry's right now and buy off the shelf. Sure you can find AMD netbooks, but ARM netbooks? Nah. Far and away, it's Atom.

    This weird Slashdot hallucination that ARM matters in the netbook market gets sadder and sadder as Intel Atom CPUs dominate more and more. ARM netbooks only exist in Slashdot mythology, not in the real world. They're not going to take over the market, because *they don't exist*.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 06, 2009 @11:05PM (#27484369)

    Forgive me for requiring people on Slashdot to make coherent arguments, but what does this have to do with anything?

    Posting tripe like this or arguing over the definition of netbook is exactly why Linux won't succeed on the desktop. When things get rough (as that pesky real world tends to be), apologists are too quick to jump in and either make a thousand excuses as to why it didn't work out (but *next time* they'll win) or, worse, argue that it actually did win in a way that only makes sense to the original poster. This is actually the worst possible way to deal with these situations; instead of learning from them and adapting, you chalk it up to things outside your control and continue frothing at the mouth. It accomplishes nothing overall.

    IMO, in this situation, the right thing to do would be to focus more on the end user experience on netbook-level machines and see if it can be improved. I'm talking about things like UIs working well on smaller screens, app/computer start times, and trying to figure out how to make that damn keyboard a little more tolerable. Also consider highlighting things that Linux does but Windows cannot. (Don't devolve into nerd porn and start discussing kernels and all that, people don't care.) Finally, the assumption I see thrown around here is that Linux makes far better use of hardware than XP does. However I don't know that it is enough for the average user to notice it -- I don't notice much in the way of difference in responsiveness between Ubuntu and XP.

  • by waferhead ( 557795 ) <waferhead@EEEyahoo.com minus threevowels> on Monday April 06, 2009 @11:15PM (#27484439)

    "There are no longer any Linux netbooks for sale at physical retail stores where I live (USA). No, it's not that they're out of stock frequently (as some Windows models are); they are no longer kept in stock.

    Target is the only retailer that even lists Linux models on their website; they used to sell the 7" Eee PC in stores. Now they sell Windows models in-store & advertise them, as do all the other retail stores that sell computers."

    The conspiracy theory loving part of me wonders if that was actually sales driven, or driven on the golf course. :-\

  • Wiped and linux'd (Score:2, Insightful)

    by w0mprat ( 1317953 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @11:22PM (#27484485)
    A good fraction of netbooks have Win XP or Vista basic wiped in favor of Ubuntu et al. Not to mention many being sold with it preinstalled. I would go so far as to say linux has a much higher penetration on netbooks than it does on consumer desktops. It's funny how MS has spun that the other way.
  • by cenc ( 1310167 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @11:34PM (#27484613) Homepage

    Yea, love my linux netbook. I am going to order another.

    If there is someone to blame in this mess, it is the netbook makers for insisting on putting their own bastardized versions of linux on them. Jut put one of a million stock distros on it, and provide the drivers. The community will do the rest. Once they figure that out, their profit margins for linux will double.

  • by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Monday April 06, 2009 @11:36PM (#27484637) Homepage

    Can you explain why I, as a consumer, should care about having an open-source BIOS?

    Pragmatic responses only, please. The average consumer doesn't care about open-source ideologies.

  • by AnalPerfume ( 1356177 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:16AM (#27484965)
    Well, it was posted on w Windows blog and we all know Microsoft have a special relationship with the truth.
  • by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:31AM (#27485069) Homepage

    With new booting software and Linux, your computer will now turn on faster than your cell phone.

    To a full-fledged desktop linux?

    I was under the impression that the true "instant-boot" linuxes were generally tiny distributions that could fit into EPROM (or whatnot).

    I get the fact that it's nice to cut out many of the unnecessary functions performed by legacy BIOS, though that seems like a rather tough sell to consumers, especially given that EFI seems to do much of the same.

    Although I'm sure there's room for speed improvements with BIOSes, booting the operating system still takes at least an order of magnitude more time.*

    *BeOS is one exception to this generalization. Even back in its heyday, it booted up blindingly fast. However, I suppose you could argue about its qualification as a full-fledged OS.

  • by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:36AM (#27485097) Homepage

    I went off-track too, but a little differently.

    The first thing I thought was "In related news, Malware Writers Boast 96% Netbook Penetration".

  • by ShooterNeo ( 555040 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:44AM (#27485137)
    You're a competent computer user, relative to the average user. You are not the bread and butter customer being catered to by MSI.
  • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:46AM (#27485151)
    Shhh.. dont tell anyone.

    It is the most widely used CPU in the world, but has never had any significant market share in the general purpose computing segments.

    Its a processor for embedded devices, pure and simple.
  • by Divebus ( 860563 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:49AM (#27485171)

    That means that 4% of netbook owners have wiped off XP and installed Ubuntu. C'mon, people, you can do better than that!

  • by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @01:47AM (#27485447)

    Yeah! Good thing Microsoft doesn't have a lightweight OS developed to run on ARM! Take that Microsoft. Bet you never thought to develop a Compact Edition of your OS to run on embedded systems! When ARM takes over you'll be left... selling windows ce. wait a second...

  • by Lennie ( 16154 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @03:00AM (#27485857)

    But Windows CE sucks and people know it. Although it's not everyone yet, like Vista, but really, a lot of people already know Windows CE sucks.

  • by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot...kadin@@@xoxy...net> on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @03:15AM (#27485991) Homepage Journal

    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.

    Then they'd at least have to start competing on the merits of their software, rather than simply being able to shove it down the throats of all concerned, as a sort of entrance fee for getting a computer that plays well with the rest of the ecosystem.

    There's nothing wrong with that; if Microsoft can produce software that people actually want to buy, versus feel that they have to buy because everyone else is using it, kudos to them. That's the sort of behavior that we should be encouraging.

    A lot of smart people work for Microsoft (they do pay fairly well, after all) and they ought to be able to turn out some good stuff; that they seem to regularly turn out steaming piles of crap is a testament to what I can only imagine must be truly abysmal management. But if they were forced to really compete on a level playing field I suspect a fair amount of cool stuff could come out of there, if they put their collective minds to it. There is something to be said for being the largest software company in the world: it's not as though they don't have the capability.

    (Just as a sidebar: Microsoft's Mac division actually used to produce some fairly nice products; I think they were most compelling when they weren't the dominant tools on the platform, and Mac users were more evenly split between Word/Claris/Nisus/etc. They've gotten a bit lazier in recent years, seemingly aiming just for parity with the PC version, but there were several versions in the past that had very unique features, like a synchronized audio/text notebook in Word -- I've still yet to find anything like it. And Microsoft's hardware, particularly their mice, have never been bad, probably because they've always had to compete with the rest of the market.)

    Microsoft doesn't just hurt the rest of the IT industry with its dominance, it also handicaps itself -- albeit in a way it finds comfortable (and profitable). Companies are only ever as innovative as they need to be, and Microsoft's position has allowed it to be very lazy for a fairly long time.

    IBM showed that it's possible for a former monopolist to re-invent itself and contribute to the same industry it once attempted to contain, so I have hope that Microsoft could do the same thing if they could kick the dependency on what's effectively a rent drawn from most of the world's desktop systems. They'll never do it willingly, but I think eventually it'll happen and they'll have no choice.

  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @03:33AM (#27486077) Homepage

    ... "penetrate better with 150% better penis" or some such nonsense. It's got as much validity as what MS is spewing here. You expect us to believe you, when even your internal numbers don't match up? If they do "match up", then the only explanation is that MS is, essentially, giving away their OS for free for the netbooks, or charging a paltry fee.

    I almost fell bad for the Executive level staff at Microsoft (and do feel sorry for the rank-and-file employees), because the $200 and even $100 netbooks aren't far off. Like, supposedly, April.

    Yes, we've heard the "$100 laptop" fo a while now (a year or two) but this time, we really are pretty much there (if, for no other reason, the fact that prices do keep dropping, in one regard or another, and ARM hardware is cheap).

    And yes, these low-cost netbooks will have ARM processors, because there's no other economic way to do it. And people will buy them - as long as Youtube, a modern browser, a decent word processor, and a chat client are there, 90% of users will be just fine.

  • Re:Windows on ARM (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheReaperD ( 937405 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @05:34AM (#27486583)

    Well, if you're talking a full version of Windows XP or Windows 7, then yes, this would be a tall order. However, if they start with their Windows Mobile software and build their way up at some point, they will meet in the middle.

    I'm not sure if I want this to happen or see Microsoft ram Windows 7 on an ARM processor and watch the steaming pile of FAIL.

    We'll see which strategy they pick. Knowing Microsoft, it'll be the latter one. It'll be fun to watch but painful on computer usability for some time.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @09:03AM (#27487849) Homepage

    Most consumers don't have any conscious choices in this part of the market.

    If not for the fear mongers in PC rags, it wouldn't occur to them to run Photoshop on a netbook.

    Hell, they don't even run anything interesting on their full blown desktops as is.

  • Re:Windows on ARM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @10:14AM (#27488877)

    The problem with ARM for MS is that one of the major reasons people give for sticking with Windows is:

    "But I can't run $APP without Windows!"

    Take away their ability to run $APP anyway and they'll be just as well off on another OS. Which is where linux could win because the likes of debian already have the majority of their software available for ARM.

    It might not win in any significant wat, but at that point you are starting to kick away at the dominance of the prevailing monoculture.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"