Microsoft Preening Over Windows On Netbooks8:10 PM EST Mon. Apr. 06, 2009
When netbooks started trickling onto the market last year, many of them shipped with Linux. But just a year after Windows-based netbooks began to appear, Microsoft is proudly citing its overwhelming share of the market as evidence that people prefer the Windows experience.
In a recent post to the Windows Blog, Brandon LeBlanc, a communications manager on the Windows Client Communications Team, said sales of Windows netbooks have gone from less than 10 percent of unit sales in the first half of 2008 to 96 percent in February, according to the latest NPD Retail Tracking Service data.
Not only does Windows dominate the netbook market, but return rates for Linux-based netbooks are four times higher than Windows, and that's because people expect the Windows experience, according to LeBlanc.
"When they realize their Linux-based netbook PC doesn't deliver that same quality of experience, they get frustrated and take it back," LeBlanc wrote.
The problem, according to solution providers, isn't so much that Linux implementations on netbooks are inferior, but that the vast majority of users still want the familiarity and stability of Windows.
LeBlanc also touched on a theme that Microsoft has begun to weave into its $300 million advertising campaign: Windows PCs are cheaper and offer more choices to customers. With more than 90 Microsoft partners shipping Windows netbooks today, customers "can get exactly the machine you want at exactly the price you are willing to pay," LeBlanc wrote.