Microsoft Windows is/is-not on 96% of Netbooks

Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc generated a lot of text in the tech blog world when he wrote this item on the Microsoft Windows Team blog…

Windows on Netbook PCs: A Year in Review

…and wrote: 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, according to the latest NPD Retail Tracking Service data.

Information Week’s Paul McDougall wrote: Microsoft: 96% Of Netbooks Run Windows

eWeek’s Joe Wilcox wrote: Windows Is Not on 96% of Netbooks

They can’t both be correct, could they? Well, actually they are. Joe Wilcox’s item explains the fine print. The 96% figure refers to U.S. netbook sales. However, Joe also points out that the U.S. only accounts for a tiny percentage of netbook sales worldwide. He reports that the Americas (North and South) plus Asia only accounts for 20% of worldwide sales. 80% of netbooks were sold in Western Europe.

That said, I find it remarkable that Linux managed to go from 100% of netbooks shipped (the first Asus Eee PC model) to something probably way under 50% (probably way under 25%) of all netbooks shipped today in less than two years.