Sat, May 09, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Linux netbooks expected to reach 50% market share

By Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

Linpus Technologies Inc (百資科技), a local Linux operating system (OS) developer, expects Linux-based netbooks to reach 50 percent market share by next year, on a par with Microsoft Inc’s Windows platform, company general manager Stephen Lim (林政道) said yesterday.

“More and more chip suppliers such as Texas Instruments Inc and Qualcomm Inc are jumping on the bandwagon to adopt Linux,” Lim told a technology seminar hosted by the Industrial Development Bureau yesterday.

“We are also seeing more and more PCs bundled with Linux from Acer Inc (宏碁), Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦), Dell Inc and other computer brands,” he added.

As the Linux provider in Asia, the software company is targeting netbooks and affordable all-in-one (AIO) desktops to battle its Windows rival.

Linpus plans to introduce user-friendly interfaces that enable applications and technologies to be developed on its open platform while delivering commercial-level qualified Linux distribution and semi-annual upgrade services, Lim said.

The advantages of using a Linux system include advanced power management, optimized boot and shutdown times, as well as more WiFi and 3G support such as software development kits (SDK) from telecommunication providers, Lim said.

Last year, Windows XP and Vista together took up a 75 percent of the global market share in netbook OS, data from the Market Intelligence and Consulting Institute (MIC, 產業情報研究所) showed.

“The Windows platform isn’t necessarily better, but consumers have a certain familiarity with this OS, hence XP was able to grow so fast on netbooks last year,” Victor Horng (洪宗勝), general manager of OSS Integral Institute Co (晟鑫科技), told the Taipei Times yesterday.

Linpus also sees netbooks becoming the mainstream soon as they encroach on regular notebook sales, with sales estimated to grow 102 percent this year. Sales of regular notebooks is projected to grow 11.3 percent, while sales of desktop computers are expected to drop 0.9 percent, MIC data showed.

Global PC shipments this year are estimated to approach 300 million units, it added.

Earlier this month, Intel Corp and Novell Inc’s collaboration to aggressively push Moblin, a Linux platform, in netbooks demonstrated Intel’s resolve to build a powerful Linux-based ecosystem.

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