Linux Carried Along on Netbooks Wave

Oct 20, 2008

International Data Corporation (IDC) has analyzed PC sales figures for EMEA in the third quarter of 2008 and discovered that netbooks are responsible for more than half the nearly 30% sales growth. Linux is to ride along on the wave, which is to remain at its current level.

According to IDC, the number of computers sold grew 27% from the previous year. Around half of them consisted of the mini-notebooks known as netbooks. In the third quarter of 2008 around 2,000,000 netbooks in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) found their way out of warehouses. The draw of these devices is not supposed to let up despite the current world economic crisis, at least in the number of units sold, even if price competition and monetary exchange rates make the predictions less optimistic. The Linux contingency of these netbooks is considerable and helps propel it further into the world market.

PC vendor Acer leads total sales in the EMEA market in the third quarter with 21% and has thus surpassed HP, the leader as recently as the last quarter of 2007. Noteworthy is that the Korean company, with its Aspire One, has moved from second place within three quarters, according to analysts. Third place goes to Dell, which lost a few percentages, and Asus pushed its way to fourth place from the previous fifth with a current 3.7%. HP has meanwhile moved out of the top four.

Acer and Asus thus have the lion's share of netbooks between them, at 80% according to IDC.

Much of the success lies in their cooperative involvement with the telecom market. Their primary business, however, is still individual sales. Asus was ahead in the first half of the year, but Acer accelerated by mid-year into first place. The reason for their successes: optics and price. It could be that sales might heat up in the pre-Holiday period to move beyond the $4,000,000 mark, as predicted by Eszter Morvay, responsible at IDC for PC sales in the EMEA market.

Morvay revealed to Linux Magazine Online that there were no specific figures for Linux netbook sales, but that it lay somewhere in the 40th percentile. Even though this figure seems a little high, it is known that many of the world's netbooks have Linux on board since their first inception 18 months ago.

For example, notebooks with Linux make up about 5.5% of the notebook market in Germany, according to a study. Compared to January 2007 this constitutes not only a 500% increase, but the increase was primarily due to the appearance of the Eee PC from Asus, the first real world-conscious product after the OLPC notebook and Classmate PC from Intel (see the One Laptop per Child project). Since then new netbooks with or without Linux have begun popping up.

IDC market researchers are distributed among a dozen worldwide offices, with the office in Framingham, Massachusetts at their center. The PC Tracker service for EMEA is located in Britain.

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  • World netbook sales

    Turns out the US is a drop in the bucket in netbook sales

    Sales are predominantly going to EMEA, so figures like this German one are pretty representative.
  • Follow-up Netbooks

    Black Friday & Cyber Monday showed a great deal of interest in netbooks....Windows XP netbooks. Linux is now virtually dead on the platform in the US. Returns of Linux Netbooks are still high & Linux OSes are almost universally absent in stores & in advertising. I think, had Ubuntu Remix, not garbage like gOS, or ASUS's linux started things off we might be in a better position now. Though w/o any real marketing, ppl just view the netbook as a PC, not a platform between a PDA & a fullblown Laptop, so they expect Windows. My girlfriend just got one. Yup, Windows XP. I'm going to try to convince her to let me install a Linux netbook-friendly OS.
  • Acer is not a Korean company

    "PC vendor Acer [...] Noteworthy is that the Korean company, with its Aspire One, ..."

    Acer is based in Taiwan, not Korea.
  • Vista

    This must be more than a little awkward for Microsoft: a new segment of PCs, growing rapidly, and the only thing they can do is offer an OS they have been trying to stop selling all year.

    I hoping that the vendors put some real effort into their Linux installations and make truly slick products. A bad netbook can do a lot of damage to the public image of Linux.
  • Linux v. XP on 'Netbooks'

    3meeeks notes that XP is now ahead of Linux in the so-called "netbook" category based on the bestseller list at Amazon. However, there is a clear dichotemy between the two types of systems: virtually all XP (and Vista) machines come with traditional (and high-capacity) hard drives, while virtually all Linux machines come with SSD. Curious.

    The cheapest system that I know of is the Asus 2G Surf, now available for around $250 (Linux only). Even for a bottom-end system, it is still amazing in what it can do - I've bought two so far.
  • Linux riding along...a li'l bit

    Windows XP has permeated the platorm & is available on almost every one. According to Amazon's stats, sales of Windows XP netbooks far out pace Linux netbooks on There have also been reports of significant returns of certain brands of Linux netbooks. I can have my pick of Linux Eeepcs at my local Target, but they are perpetually sold out of the XP version. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Linux could very well vanish from the platform.
    We'll see if Sylvania's non-gOS Meso can hold the line. There is no XP option & it runs Ubuntu Remix, which seems to be an excellent OS for the netbook platform ( I am NOT generally a fan of Ubuntu). A good interface on a reliable OS on a quality product that has focused marketing behind it will win it for Linux.
  • the link to the article

    Im sorry, I forgot to give you the article quoting the 2.8% of UK pre-installs.
  • Linux in UK

    I have some numbers for you.

    Linux pre-installs on computers sold in the UK were at almost zero before.
    In June 2008, they were at 2.8% of all systems sold in the UK and this is strictly due to the netbook effect which was effectively launched with the EEE in October 2007.
    Those numbers also dont take in account the succesful Acer One which came out a month later or the Dell Mini or the myriads of models which came out this summer. (the big netbook push was at the Taiwan show in June08).

    I am sure that once these numbers add to equation, the number of Linux pre-installed will easily go from 2.8% to 4.2.
    Sure, 4.2% may not seem like a huge goal but it is symbolic.

    Not, its not the meaning of the universe but the part of the market for Mac OSX pre-installs in the UK.
    One Linux pre-installs pass Mac OS pre-installs, you should expect also for media backlash whenever this is brought up about their 'precious.'
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