Linux growth: The Asus connection
Asustek is not a name most people know. The Taiwan-based hardware maker traditionally operates in the PC-board sector. But a few years ago the company began to make its own notebook PCs. Branded Asus, the initial slew of notebooks escaped most people’s attention, except geeks who already knew of Asustek’s good reputation in the PC-board market.
It wasn’t until the company released the first EEE PC, a diminutive portable notebook that kick-started the netbook market, that most people really paid attention. The first things that impressed about the EEE PC was the size – a tiny 7-inch screen and just usable mini keyboard – and the low cost. The other, that geeks picked up on, was the fact that the first EEE PCs shipped with Linux as the operating system rather than a version of Windows. And it is this that potentially makes Asustek so important to the Linux world.
EEE PCs are no longer only sold with Linux. In fact, most of them ship with Windows XP, but the numbers of Linux-based PCs are potentially enough to alter the market. Take a look at the numbers.
This year Asustek expects to sell around six million notebook PCs. The most interesting part though, as reported by ComputerWorld, is that Asustek expects that 3 out of every 10 of those will run Linux.
While 3 out of 10 doesn’t sound like a lot in most circles, 30% is a great deal higher than most other metrics that pin Linux adoption at around 1% globally. Apple, by many good metrics, accounts for just 8% of the desktop operating system market.
Which means that typically around 90% of the desktop OS market is owned by Microsoft.
So the fact that Asus expects to ship close to two million PCs with Linux in the coming year is big news for the Linux world. And with another two million users getting some hands-on experience with Linux the potential for future growth is significantly improved.