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According to a Microsoft Corp.’s official, Windows operating system poweres the vast majority of netbooks sold in the U.S. since many customers want their ultra low cost mobile devices powered by Intel Atom processors that by no mean are supposed to handle serious tasks to work the same way as larger desktops or notebooks.

“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,” said Brandon LeBlanc from Microsoft citing latest NPD Retail Tracking Service data.

While the news that a lot of people are insisting on Windows is good for Microsoft, it may not be exactly positive for notebook makers as they face the trend when consumers who need a Windows-based laptop are getting a low-cost netbook instead. Citing Microstar International – a leading netbook vendor – and Canonical – the vendor supporting the commercial distribution of Ubuntu Linux – Mr. LeBlanc said that Linux-based netbooks’ return rate is four times higher than Windows-based.

“Why such a disparity? Because users simply expect the Windows experience. When they realize their Linux-based netbook PC doesn’t deliver that same quality of experience, they get frustrated and take it back,” Mr. LeBlanc said.

Looking forward, Microsoft claims that no matter how netbook PC hardware evolves, the software giant is gearing up to ensure that Windows 7 will run normally on them since it is a huge chunk of Windows business.

“As we mentioned at PDC, we’ve been testing Windows 7 on netbook PCs since before Windows 7 was feature complete, and our plan is to enable these small notebook PCs to run any edition of Windows 7. From what we’re hearing, our partners are excited to get Windows 7 on these PCs as well,” concluded the Microsoft blogger.

Tags: Microsoft, Windows, Intel

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