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Ubuntu Says Microsoft's Netbook Claims are True

Chris Kenyon from Ubuntu sponsor Canonical has posted a rebuttal of sorts to Microsoft's netbook market share claims, which it calls "FUD." Most of it is an opinion piece, so let's just jump straight to the relevant bits. It requires a lot of cut and paste, because he intersperses little bits of data--data that is rarely backed up--with lots and lots of side discussion.

To be clear, Microsoft recently made the following claims:

1. 96 percent of netbooks sold in the US are sold with Windows, according to NPD.

2. The return rate for Linux-based notebooks is 4x the return rate of Windows-based notebooks, according to leading netbook vendors.

The Ubuntu claims are:

The price of XP crashed last year due to competition. So even if you bought a netbook last year with XP - feel free to smile when you see an Ubuntu PC. It’s amazing what an open market can achieve.

... True, but this just backs up what Microsoft is saying and what the data suggests: Once the price of XP fell to accommodate low priced netbooks, Windows market share on those machines skyrocketed at the expense of Linux.

The really big news for the industry is that well-engineered Linux netbooks have similar return rates to XP.

... but he offers no data to back that up. (Emphasis on "well-engineered" was mine. "Well-engineered"?)

Not too long ago, not a single PC manufacturer was shipping Ubuntu .... [Today] Dell, HP, and Toshiba are all shipping Ubuntu.

... True. And completely irrelevant to a discussion about netbook marketshare, however. Obviously, Linux market share on regular computers is even lower than that of netbooks. But again, that's not part of this discussion.

And my favorite bit, which of course comes right at the end:

If we are going to compete, let’s do it on real facts and actual statements. You’re better than that, Redmond.

Apparently, Canonical is not better than that. Please read the entire post. There isn't a single shred of evidence or data in there that refutes the claims Microsoft made, just a single baseless line stating that "well-engineered" Linux netbooks have similar return rates to XP. Interesting qualifier.

So let's be clear about what this really is: Ubuntu/Canonical felt it had to respond to Microsoft's widely reported claims. But all it really did was implicitly agree that Microsoft's claims about netbook market share and return rates are, in fact, true.

Looked at another way, it is Canonical, not Microsoft, that is guilty of FUD. Microsoft offers evidence where Canonical offers prose and opinion. That's FUD.

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