Microsoft Windows blogger Brandon LeBlanc looks back at the growth of the netbook market and reports Microsoft has made huge gains in this emerging market. A year ago barely 10 percent of all netbooks ran Windows, but in February 2009 this figure had climbed to 96 percent. This makes Microsoft's marketshare in the netbook market even larger than the company's marketshare in the overall PC market. LeBlanc claims consumers are choosing Windows because it's easier to use, just works out of the box with people's stuff, and ultimately offers more choice.
Initially, some in the industry viewed low-cost netbook PCs as a new challenge for Microsoft and an opportunity for Linux to make inroads in the consumer market. Some believed consumers wouldn’t want or need their netbook PC to be a full-featured PC. In fact, the exact opposite turned out to be true – a number of analysts and researchers following the space see ample evidence indicating customers really DO want netbook PCs to work like their larger brethren – and that the way the vast majority of consumers make that happen is by buying a netbook PC with Windows.
As a result, the growth of Windows on netbook PCs* over the last year has been phenomenal. We’ve seen Windows share on these PCs in the U.S. go from under 10% of unit sales during the first half of 2008 to 96% as of February 2009, according to the latest NPD Retail Tracking Service data.