Is Microsoft Losing Ground With Portable Computer Users?

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Hey, what is going on here? In Thursday's list of Amazon's best-selling portable computers, only seven out of the top 25 run Windows! As you might expect, Apple takes a lot of the spots, but it's not just MacBooks. The Linux-based Asus Eee PCs and Nokia (NYSE: NOK) tablets are grabbing high positions in the list. That's a lot of computers that aren't paying tribute to Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT).

Let's come back to earth for a moment, though. Direct vendors like Dell (Dell), and sales through corporate channels, aren't represented in Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN)'s ranking. The recent market share data shows that although Apple's share of the market is growing faster than any other manufacturer, Microsoft OEMs rule the roost. Still, it's a thing that makes you go, "Hmmm." There are some disturbing signs here.

The e-mails revealed as part of the "Vista Capable" lawsuit showed that the strength of the low-end notebook market took Microsoft by surprise.

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Joining the array of low cost Linux offerings such as the Asus Eee PC, the Everex Cloudbook , Elonux announced the Elonux One a sub 200 dollar Linux laptop targeted to go on sale in the UK starting in June. We saw similar announcements in the last couple weeks from Acer, who stated that “”Between the second and third quarters, we will have products that address ultra mobility and low-cost segments.” In addition Dell stated that it will “introduce more low-cost notebooks in Asia.” which will augment its Vostro 1000 notebook for sale in China which runs Red Flag Linux.

This is a key direction for the industry as it fills out a market segment not previously addressed, particularly at this price point in the notebook computing world. Research analysts agree. When commenting on Acer’s announcement Calvin Huang of the Daiwa Institute stated “I believe it’s necessary for the company and they cannot let go of such an opportunity since it’s where the industry trend is going.” Clearly consumers want these low cost PC’s, but why is Linux the obvious choice to bring these products to market? The answer is along three main criteria that are essential for PC manufactures; speed, agility, and cost.

Another low cost Linux PC. I think we can officially call it a trend