Image via WikipediaThe only netbook running Linux on Amazon's Top 25 Netbooks list is the EEE 901, sitting at #19. The war is over, folks.
Why did Linux lose? There are four big factors:
- Migration: Netbooks have quickly moved from their intended purpose (appliances) into extremely low-cost notebooks. Screens went from 7" to 10". SSDs became HDs. 256 - 512MB RAM became 1GB. Prices went from $199 to $500. People expect all the same functionality from these new machines as they do of their normal notebooks, and that requires Windows software. XP wins through the network effect.
- Poor promotion: Linux netbooks were never promoted in stores or evenly reviewed by tech journals. Those located in stores were always the "cheap" option with lower spec'ed hardware. Salespeople didn't understand how to promote the Linux systems. Reviewers tended to ding the Linux models for not having XP. XP wins through a premium image.
- Poor education: Consumers often weren't aware that what they were buying wasn't a notebook and wasn't intended to run random software. They went home, opened the box, and were unpleasantly surprised. XP wins due to ubiquity.
- Poor OEMing: OEMs didn't do their job -- they supplied machines which weren't completely functional out of the box. They didn't tune. They didn't test. They sold machines without wireless drivers. There were sleep/resume issues. The distributions provided were crippled. All of these things would have been easy to fix (and they were in the XP models), but the Linux models got little to no engineering effort. The only Linux models still selling well are Asus EEEs. Asus put a lot of effort into their custom distro. Win XP wins through adequate engineering from the OEMs.