After reading articles like this one today. It’s safe to say that this sucks. Linux MADE Asus the market leader it is. Xandros bent over backwards to tailor a UI specifically for the tiny 7inch screeen that really did make the first netbooks fly. Now this crap.
Some of the things that I’ve learned by asking (off the record) some local retailers of the Asus systems. These retailers tend to be more hands on than a “Best Buy”.
1. Linux outsold XP until Asus stopped shipping Linux
2. The average buyer was either a college age buyer, or the over 50 crowed. Both wanted something light, fast and reliable. These two groups tended to like the Linux UI, more, but the over 50 crowed was more dismayed that the software they had wouldn’t run (surprised at the cost of replacement)
3. They were able to sell more addons to the Windows systems. (anti-virus 3rd party software)
4. Windows systems had a higher customer complaint rate.
In the end. Asus did with Linux what Lee Iacoca said Ford did with the Mustang market in the 70’s “We walked away from the market, It didn’t walk away from us” Asus has walked away from a market that it proved exists. Especially bad move now that, Intel and Dell are getting harder into the Linux market. Even more foolish now that Microsoft has declared that it is going to “define” what is or isn’t a netbook and charge it’s partners more based on the screen size. Now the horse has taken charge of the cart once again, and Asus is left hoping that Microsoft will lead it to the promised land.
What can we do. Well we can do what we always do. Buy from those who support what we support.
UPDATE: Asus now apologizes to Microsoft for a partner company showing an Adroid (Linux) based system at Computex instead of the Asus mandated XP only displays.