Tue, Mar 17, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Linux OS-based netbooks proving less popular: MIC

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The market share of Linux-based netbooks is expected to rapidly drop to about 10 percent of this year’s total netbook shipments because of consumers’ reliance on Microsoft Corp’s Windows and the lack of peripheral devices supporting the free operating system, Taipei-based research house Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC, 資策會產業情報研究所) said yesterday.

Last year, Linux-based netbooks made up about 70 percent of the overall shipments of 11.21 million units, as netbook pioneer Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦) launched mostly Linux-based models initially, followed up by Windows-based models, MIC said in a new report.

GROWTH

“The netbook market will enjoy vigorous growth this year,” MIC said in the report. “But, the share of Linux operating systems used in netbooks may drop fast.”

MIC said netbook shipments could more than double to 23.2 million units, but only a 10th would be outfitted with Linux’s operating system as almost all PC makers — including Hewlett Packard Co, Dell Inc and Acer Inc (宏碁) — were set to launch more netbooks equipped with the Windows system.

“Consumers tend to opt for netbooks with a familiar working environment to their existing desktops, or laptops, which most run Windows,” MIC said. “Insufficient peripheral devices for the Linux system is also an important factor shutting consumers out.”

FAMILIAR

Asustek is scheduled to launch a new member of its Eee PC family next week, which will run on Windows and will be equipped with a 8.9-inch touch panel with LED backlight and Intel Corp’s latest Atom chip. The netbook made its debut at last month CES show in Los Vegas, Nevada.

Asustek plans to ship 1 million Eee PCs in the first quarter of this year, it said last month. Last year, it shipped 4.9 million Eee PC series units.

MIC said Linux-based netbooks would not disappear because PC makers would face changing consumer demand in the future.

Shares of Asustek and Acer jumped 1.41 percent and 5.2 percent respectively yesterday to NT$35.9 and NT$48.05.

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