Oh Those Pesky Netbooks!

Remember 2007? That was the year ASUS threw Netbooks at the world and they stuck. They were running GNU/Linux and sold out globally. ASUS had to double and redouble production to keep up with demand. Then M$ interfered with market forces by paying OEMs to install XP and kill off GNU/Linux, or did they?

Was it the netbook or Ubuntu GNU/Linux that eroded the monopoly? What they started it seems Android/Linux and Chromebooks will finish. Since shipments of Android/Linux devices exceed that of M$’s OS, this trend should continue for years to come. There’s no telling the situation in a few years except that M$’s decline was delayed but not prevented by M$’s evil deeds. Meanwhile, GNU/Linux, as Ubuntu GNU/Linux and Chrome OS will pick up whatever pieces of IT Android/Linux leaves.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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8 Responses to Oh Those Pesky Netbooks!

  1. dougman wrote, “All M$ has now is inertia keeping it running.”

    There’s a lot of money to be made in that inertia, like $hundreds per PC per annum for “must-have” (JOKE) applications like M$’s office suite. There are enough fools out there that believe they owe M$ a living… Conversion to Libre/OpenOffice will take years longer for many businesses. The longer they keep using that stuff, the deeper is the hole. Folks laughed at the years it took Munich… If Munich started today after migrating from NT to XP to “7” imagine how deep the hole would be. No. Munich is laughing all the way to the treasury. M$’s willing slaves will keep the “business” division rolling in cash for another decade at least. It’s the consumers who are on the verge of freedom. Many businesses will not migrate until M$ doubles or triples its prices to keep the cash-flow up during smaller unit sales. Then, M$ will stick out for the accountants, not before. M$ has carefully set prices so the accountants were able to ignore “upgrades”. They might be able to continue ramping up prices for several years yet.

  2. dougman says:

    A few things:

    M$ being without a CEO that has a grand-vision sure will hurt in the long-run, push-back from Windows 8 and Surface devices, attacking Android and ChromeOS, international blow-back from NSA spying and rumors of future versions of Windows being all cloud base, of which no way in hell consumers would agree, does not leave much in the way of any future that any consumers would want nor a developer that wants to work with.

    I say in five years, thats 2018 or sooner, M$ will be in a less position than it is now. All M$ has now is inertia keeping it running.

  3. dougman quoted Forbes: “a state where Windows isn’t even the default OS for a laptop or notebook”.

    Amen! I started this blog in 2007 believing this was possible/inevitable and was called a loon. Are they calling Forbes, “loonie”? I don’t think so. Forbes is about the bottom line and market-forces. Now that market-forces are sinking M$’s monopoly everyone needs to recognize that and move on. It’s not a boolean transition however. It will take a few years, perhaps two or three before every OEM and retailer and consumer gets the idea of choice in IT. Many consumers still remain guided by what retailers show, but the retailer are showing lots of Android/Linux now. The conclusion that choice is possible in IT will penetrate the last conscious mind very soon. By the time the last machine on which XP now runs expires, everyone everywhere will have a choice of replacement. I expect Dell and others will just have a checkbox for OS next to price within a year or two. M$ has lots of cash but not enough to discourage the next couple of billion consumers nor enough to persuade retailers to offer for sale stuff at outrageous prices that won’t sell.

    It is possible, even likely, that M$ will drop the desktop client within five years because their diversification into servers and cloud will be far more lucrative. 1/4 of a huge growing market will be much more interesting to M$ than 1/10 of a small shrinking market. The legacy desktop market has started shrinking while mobile and cloud explodes.

  4. dougman says:

    Interesting articles by Forbes.

    “The combination of these is where the real danger to Windows lies. Sales were driven forward in the past by those network effects: everyone else had Windows, everyone was writing for Windows, therefore I must have Windows too. But if those things are no longer true then we’re going to get, pretty rapidly, to a state where Windows isn’t even the default OS for a laptop or notebook: and I can see that following to the desktop soon enough. At which point Microsoft is left competing on the grounds of price and performance. And it’s pretty difficult to compete with free on price.

    Quite where this is going to leave Microsoft and Windows I’m not sure. I would expect their enterprise business to be secure for the time being as that’s going to change more slowly than any other part of the computing market. But in the consumer world these recent figures convince me that we could see Windows declining to being less than 50% of the market. Add Chrome OS and OS X together and they’re certainly more than a third of notebook and laptop sales already. The near monopoly Microsoft has had for some 20 years looks like it’s about to be broken.”


  5. ram wrote, “consumer level pricing”.

    Will the Steam machines really be high-performance PCs competitively priced or will they be sold at a premium? I can see Steam taking minimal profit on hardware as they attempt to compete against PS and Xwhatever but on the other hand they may claim to be the best and worthy of a high price. If they are competitive as a PC, that would change everything.

  6. ram says:

    Now if we could only get rid of that pesky UEFI garbage on so many consumer motherboards and laptops!

    Steam will be a VERY big thing for Linux. With high-end graphics functionality preinstalled and consumer level pricing I can see many Linux shops buying these things to use as front end graphics workstations to their rendering clusters.

  7. oiaohm says:

    It was the netbook that showed the Linux world that they could do something.

    There are still more changes happening.

    dbus moving to kdbus should start 2014. Wayland migration also should start sometime 2014.

    7 years to start getting operations in order.

    Steam does not only include games. The first accountancy software on steam could gain a lot of market share.

  8. dougman says:

    “Chromebooks accounted for 21-percent of all U.S. commercial notebook sales in 2013 through November, and 10-percent of all computers and tablets. Both shares were up massively from 2012; last year, Chromebooks accounted for an almost-invisible two-tenths of one percent of all computer and tablet sales.”

    “Amazon’s best-selling laptops on Friday included Acer and Samsung Chromebooks in the number one and number two spots.”

    ”OEMs can’t sit back and depend on Wintel anymore,”


    Last week I saw this, “LG’s 21.5-inch Chromebase all-in-one puts ChromeOS on the desktop”


    Its nice to be able to present hardware to customers, knowing that it will never contract malware like Windows does.

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