These days, specifications on netbooks
are almost predictable. Without
looking, we'd say there's an 85% chance that any given netbook you look
at has a 1.6GHz Atom processor, a 160GB hard drive, 1GB of RAM and no
optical drive. Oh, and Windows XP -- it probably has Windows XP. In
fact, the vast majority of netbooks today have Microsoft's
not-exactly-newest OS, with a recent report asserting that around 96%
of all miniature laptops have WinXP installed.
It's a funny bit, too, as we recall the day when Microsoft wasn't
exactly elated about having to continue supporting Windows XP in order
to get an OS it made onto this "fad." It's no shock that Vista is
simply too demanding to be used on the average netbook, and given just
how releuctant the world at large is to adopting Linux (not to mention
the fact that Apple's OS X isn't available for netbook use), we can't
say we're shocked at the figure. Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc stated the following: "It's hard to believe it's been a year since we first started to see netbook PCs running Windows come to market. The growth of Windows on netbook PCs over the last year has been phenomenal. Not only are people overwhelmingly buying Windows, but those that try Linux are often returning it."
We can't argue with that last part -- we've seen the statistics, and an
overwhelming amount of people who buy Linux-equipped netbooks do in
fact return them. Something to do with that "buyer's remorse" syndrome,
we hear. We're also told that some versions of Windows 7 will be
tailored to operate nicely on low-power, small notebooks, with LeBlanc
noting that "l forward, we can confidently say that no
matter how ookingnetbook PC hardware evolves, we're gearing up to ensure that
Windows 7 will run great on them."
We fully understand a company's desire to turn any little factoid into
positive PR, but we have to chuckle at Microsoft's gloating here. Sure,
96% of the netbook market is pretty staggering, but do OEMs really have
a choice? OS X is a no-go, people at large don't even understand what
Linux is and Windows Vista won't even run (well, anyway) on netbooks.
At any rate, we guess we can't fault 'em for taking what's in front of
them, but do yourself a favor and really think about the scenario
before bestowing a round of applause.