Microsoft and Asus join forces to smother Linux

By on May 31, 2009, 11:45 AM
Microsoft and Asus are partnering up in an effort to stifle the already declining Linux netbook presence – as if Microsoft needed a better market position, or another ad campaign for that matter. The two companies have launched a website propagating an unsurprisingly irritating mantra: “it’s better with Windows.” The promotion revolves around the concept that Windows will deliver a dependable and familiar experience, free of major incompatibility issues.

Once a Linux-rich division, Microsoft has all but stolen the netbook show. According to an NPD report last month, netbooks that ship with Windows have risen from 10% in the first half of 2008 to 96% in February 2009. That's not to say Linux is no longer receiving attention, Intel's Moblin OS is perhaps one of the most interesting projects currently around for netbook users.

While I’ve dabbled with various Linux distributions myself and have always crawled back to Windows – am I the only one who is irked by "it's better with Windows"?




User Comments: 43

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Guest said:

Now my reasons to dislike Asus have just gotten their 'q.e.d.'

Guest said:

Asus was building junk devices anyway.

Unfortunately, free software like Linux will never stand a chance against commercial alternatives, no matter how bad they may be, for the simple reason that it has no business drive behind it.

Guest said:

The argument over which OS will/should dominate will increasingly become more irrelevant. Web browsers and web-based applications will ultimately become the platform people will use. With HTML 5 API's that include HD video and 3D graphics API's without any plugins, why would anyone care what OS they're running underneath. That will make the cost of hardware more important, so the cheaper the better. That just means more and more people will be using Linux undearneath, even if they don't see it. No one will care as long as their web apps work. :-)

Guest said:

Want proof that Free Open Source Software (FOSS) that is Interoperable with any platform is better than proprietary software?

Look no further than http://www.itsbetterwithwindows.com ... which uses the FOSS - FLOWPLAYER from flowplayer.org. This software is FOSS and is licensed under the same type of license as GNU/Linux the General Public License (GPL).

Microsoft has it's own proprietary media players... like Mediaplayer and Silverlight... so why are they using the GPL'd flowplayer ?? I'll tell you why, because they know it will work with just about any operating system.

Proof that the GNU/Linux ideals and FOSS are better than Windows.

Learn more, go to http://getgnulinux.org

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

The argument over which OS will/should dominate will increasingly become more irrelevant. ....No one will care as long as their web apps work. :-)
Don't get me wrong; I disdain MS/Win/* and much prefer other systems -- HOWEVER, there are other applications that are not WEB applications and will never be due to the resource requirements. If you assume that "write code once and run everywhere" really works with Java, then we still need more migration FROM the OS specific development to platform agnostic source languages.

In addition, major issues will be present to get gaming to be platform neutral.

Guest said:

Please,

I approached the purchase of a new PC as a Microsoft "positivist", until I found

that the "symbol table" I needed to isolate some sort of hardware/software

mismatch was not available -- to me at least. Installing software sequentially

did not work, and if looked at -- rationally -- as a combinatorial problem

would not work at. The only practical solution was to approach the problem as a

programmer and trace processes by name. That's where the symbol table came in I

guess. Fortunately, I was able to save years of work at a time that I was low

on cash because I happened to have a Linux CD around. Linux allowed me to

circumvent the MS system and actually use my PC. Not so mysteriously I'm

afraid, the original problem disappeared after a year or so. Go figure.

Tim

Guest said:

Gee i am glad my latest PC has a Gigabyte motherboard,running a couple of home desktops,yesterday my wife said maybe i should pack one away to make some space

and pointed at one, " that is running Ubuntu i told her" no argument because every time we read about some new virus scare i will find her at this machine paying the bills etc etc.

and try getting her to use Internet Explorer,not a chance! Firefox and Thunderbird run the show.

The wife is no expert,but she has no trouble getting her head around Linux,and best of all it all comes FREE,dont need to find any apps they are all packed in.

Ask my mate Mo he has ten kids and is in his early forties,not a lot of cash,keeps up with the latest

distro's, and put me on to Linux all those years ago,and if Windows cant handle it, guess what....

JDoors JDoors said:

@Matthew DeCarlo: "While I've dabbled with various Linux distributions myself and have always crawled back to Windows - am I the only one who is irked by "it's better with Windows"?"

And you crawled back because ... ? I'll say it with you: "It's better with Windows."

I wonder how long it'll take to break the Gates/Microsoft/Windows-bashing habit. Even when they're right, no one will admit it.

BTW, I'm not anti-Linux, but for the majority of people, under the majority of circumstances, Windows simply IS better.

Guest said:

Very pleasing to see that Microsoft see's that Linux is very close to fulfilling its potential of providing a free or very cheap and better alternative to their effective monopoly on the market.

Microsoft is scared. I see now part of their logic for trying to expand into other areas of software. Billy had the foresight to see this happening. Microsofts only chance really is to bully and demonize the opposition, a proudly American business tactic. Good luck. Bing means Cocaine.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

@JDoors: I crawled back because making the change on a full blown workhorse desktop system, Windows is indeed better (for me). The article - and gripe - is that Windows isn't really necessary on a netbook, and Microsoft basically already has the market *anyway* - making the campaign overkill in my opinion. We're talking about a device that's supposed to be used for core 'Net access and other simple tasks.

Netbooks are (or were) primarily low cost devices meant to be used on the run, mostly for email, basic web browsing etc. By introducing a commercial OS, you unnecessarily increase the cost of the device (though, MS did drop the price of XP substantially for netbooks). The coming Windows 7 Starter will degrade the situation further. It senselessly forbids even the most basic of things - including the ability to change your desktop backrground.

Guest said:

I have a number of machines in my house doing various tasks. My wifes is XP and my daughters is Vista. I have one machine that dual boots so I can play the sims, but I have 5 XP licenses, of which I use only 2. This last push my Micrsoft is to make sure we just shrug our shoulders and pay the money for the hardware. Most Linux savvy people will put Linux on the system anyway. I think Australian consumers need to push the choice more, and start asking for systems without an OS.

The figures only show sales. All my friends with netbooks bought them with XP, and every single one runs either Ubuntu or Mandriva.

Yep, this is very disturbing and I would call it uncompetitive trading practices ... but thats me, that had to pay approx $600 for software I did not want.

Guest said:

I you look at some of the screen shots you will notice they are not on the eee, I think their are some people who are going to be very disappointed. But then that's ok they buy these eee's for the wrong reasons so yea. btw it would appear to me that Microsoft is getting the iches from Linux at the moment given their web presence/dominance towards Linux (Asus, Suse, ect.). I wouldn't be too concerned support by manufactures is getting their and those who are not tech savvy will get burned by widows. Us linux users will still have to learn two or more OS's and the world will still spin.

hellokitty[hk] hellokitty[hk], I'm a TechSpot Evangelist, said:

"including the ability to change your desktop backrground."

Yes, I suspect there will be many "hax" associated with windows 7.

Guest said:

Asus has aligned with Microsoft, a convicted anti-competitive monopolist.

Well then, "we" will no longer purchase any Asus products.

Guest said:

I just returned the last Asus prodcut I had bought, a Radeon HD 3450 video card with HDMI output. Unfortunately, it doesn't work with Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7, in spite of including drivers for all of those OSes.

I shopuld have tried it with Linux, but since that's working fine with my *crappy) Intel-chipset video, I think I'd rather have my fifty bucks back.

And I will never, ever buy another computer with any type of MS Windows installed on it. I have a good source for "naked" PCs, and I'll stick with them and used Linux from now on. After all, I can run all my Windows applications in Linux, so why would I want to saddle myself with an OS that has spyware built right in?

Guest said:

It's better with Linux.It's much better.

Bye bye Asus boards.I will not buy Asus again.And till this time I was "Asus boards only" consumer.

Guest said:

I am one of the first to buy the Asus netbook with Linux; since then I bought 1000H. I must say I love the Linux better (not to say that there is no place for Windows in netbooks). I understand Windows motivation, but this is a bad decision on Asus part. I wish that it had continued to develop Linux instead.

tengeta tengeta said:

This is an obvious move by both sides, Asus can't make liscensing deals with Linux for profit, so they go pure Microsoft. You know what? Fine by me. Anyone who ACTUALLY wants Linux, will not be deterred by that. Most people who got eeePC's with the Linux option still ended up opting for a different Linux anyways, so whats the difference here?

Oh... Big, Bad, Evil! MICROSOFT!

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Jeez why do you really care about the marketing campaign? Don't get me wrong, I think on paper linux is a superior OS. The app support for average Joe is the problem tho. Asus and MS are in the market of making money and, despite how much linux fans may not like it, they are incidental to the sales figures. They make it clear that they don't care, and they don't need to.

Guest said:

My current laptop is an ASUS U5F running Linux. I was thinking about ASUS for my next hardware purchase which will be in about a year or so. I guess I will look somewhere else now. Dear ASUS, I will not purchase your stuff again. By the way, I had more issues with that U5F of yours than with my old cheap Acer I bought before that.

Guest said:

When I was a MS addict (not ashamed to admit it - been clean for 4 years) and Sony installed a rootkit on MY computer, I told Sony that I would never again buy their products.

I have never brought a Sony product since.

So now I am telling this cheep ***** of a hardware company - Never again

Aughhh - I feel dirty for buying that motherboard last week

jwdR1 said:

Looking at the number of netbooks that ship with Windows vs. Linux doesn't say much about Windows vs. Linux presence in the netbook market. My question is, how many stay Windows machines?

With MS subsidizing the WinXP version of a netbook, the Windows version sells a tad cheaper than the Linux version in a lot of cases. The version of Linux ASUS puts on their Eee's works great until you try to update it then you end up in dependency hell so you're better off replacing it anyway. Anyone with half a brain will buy the Windows version then put their favorite Linux distro (plug Mepis here) on it.

If MS wants to subsidize netbooks more, bring it on, I'll take all the price drops on hardware I can get.

Guest said:

... HTML 5 API's that include HD video and 3D graphics API's without any plugins...

Well HTML5 will not run in thin air. It will need a hefty browser. Now browsers don't run in thin air either. They need an operating system underneath...

Guest said:

@jwdR1 - ...With MS subsidizing the WinXP version of a netbook, the Windows version sells a tad cheaper than the Linux version in a lot of cases...

If MS subsidized WinXP 100% i.e. gave it away free with netbooks, it will still cost same as Linux version. It will be chaeper than Linux only if Microsoft paid manufactureres for putting WinXP on netbooks. I don't know what logic jwdR1 used in making her assersions.

Guest said:

Don't people have something better to do with their time instead of crying about how much they hate Microsoft? Perhaps spending only a fraction of this time on something more constructive, like helping your "cause" would benefit it more. Honestly, it reminds me of school yard kids. I guess people with such little intelligence don't have much to do anyway. Enjoy.

Guest said:

Asus will be back with Linux pc's- you just watch. This is a premptive strike before the Linux netbook floodgates open. Right ASUS is playing both sides of the fence in order to placate Microsoft. I realize this is two faced but making money in business these days if often less about integrity. As soon as Google Android, Intel Moblin and maybe hundreds of other co netbooks (including Nokia with Linux) hit the market things will start to change drastically. Microsoft will be forced to at certify at least that Open Office .odf is very compatible with Office. Change is coming in the next few years I believe. Proprietary always loses in the end- just look at history. From an Ubuntu netbook :) one of 5 Linux only pc's I own.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

I'd be surprised to see Asus going Microsoft-only with their Eee line, but like many have pointed out, it's probably money talking with the bulk of their sales going towards Windows-equipped versions.

Rather than demonizing Windows on netbooks, I'd be more interested in watching Linux develop further in projects like Intel's Moblin. That is, going beyond the usable factor and more towards creating an integral experience for the user.

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

....am I the only one who is irked by "it's better with Windows"?"

Not at all. Goes right along with "What is the best xyz (hardware/software)?"

(ie: unqualified request as to criteria required).

Those with limited experience will at one time or another comment on one or the other.

Guest said:

for me it just means not considering asus when i buy a pc. I don't understand why OEM insist on MS and how the competition agencies do not investigate MS O&M contractcs and practices

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I had a linux netbook at work. Stuck XP on it.

I can use the linux versions of notepad. and office. and internet explorer. or i can use the proper versions.

Personally I look forward to the reaction from Asus as their shares drop and they start releasing their boards a little cheaper, based on the reaction here.

Linux has come a long way since my friend showed off a dvd playing on it without menus or sound. He had spent about 3 months trying to get that working.

But still, I want a decent Operating system that works, has applications that are recognised in the industry and plays all my games. Its better with Windows.

Stuff netbooks anyway, I know plenty of people buying them for their kids with Windows XP Home on them.

Guest said:

I really do not like Asus Motherboards, they're too pricey. I used ECS (Elitegroup) check their website for linux compatible motherboards at http://www.ecs.com.tw/extra/event/intel/program0508.html

JDoors JDoors said:

@Matthew: "... The article - and gripe - is that Windows isn't really necessary on a netbook ... We're talking about a device that's supposed to be used for core 'Net access and other simple tasks. ... Netbooks are (or were) primarily low cost devices meant to be used on the run, mostly for email, basic web browsing etc. By introducing a commercial OS, you unnecessarily increase the cost of the device. ..."

I better understand the original point, but doubt the market for "netbooks" that are pared-down to the point where they are ONLY useful for the most basic of tasks is large enough for must of us to care about.

I don't see why Windows Starter Edition isn't cheap enough and appropriate enough for the type of netbooks that many people actually buy and use. Certainly, it's not cheaper than "free," but then it also adds the functionality, useablility, and familiarity that most people prefer to have.

The "netbook" definition has already changed to the point where you can't say "netbook" and have it automatically assumed to be a device pared-down to the point of being a one or two-trick pony. What USED to be little more than ridiculously oversized smart phones, but without the phone, are now full-fledged notebook computers, as evidenced by many griping about the "need" to have Aero, backgrounds, support for more memory, optical drive support, more than three apps running, et al.

Those people don't want a TRUE netbook, they want a tiny, cheap notebook, and most of them will be happier with Windows on it. (Gahh! I'm rambling -- More Caffeine!)

caravel said:

I regretted buying that Asus motherboard and I certainly regretted buying that Asus wireless NIC that wouldn't work in that board under any OS. Now I'm regretting it all the more. I may get rid of this Asus board as soon as I can.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Originally posted by jwdR1:

Anyone with half a brain will buy the Windows version then put their favorite Linux distro (plug Mepis here) on it.

There is a problem with that. Most people don't know how to install a new OS.

Originally posted by jwdR1:

The version of Linux ASUS puts on their Eee's works great until you try to update it then you end up in dependency hell so you're better off replacing it anyway.

This is why people stick with Windows. Most people know how to use it. And they don't have to worry about how unpolished the OS is. If Linux wants to be serious in the consumer market, they have to cut this dependency hell crap out, and get rid of command line config for half the stuff in the OS.

Just think of it this way: can I configure everything in my system via a GUI?

A) No - then you have just created a massive barrier to entry for most people and given a great reason for people to retail MS OSs.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Originally posted by jwdR1:

There is a problem with that. Most people don't know how to install a new OS..

Ubuntu will install with a dozen or so clicks. Realistically, if you can't install it, you might not be able to install Windows either

[Just think of it this way: can I configure everything in my system via a GUI?
I actually think Ubuntu can be used functionally without resorting to command line. Not everything, but everyday tasks.

[A) No - then you have just created a massive barrier to entry for most people and given a great reason for people to retail MS OSs.
People buy Windows machines because they're programed to, and face it Windows has and runs more programs than anything else. If you listen to Apple's BS, their OS is the only one that'll play music, say it ain't so.

And as to whether anybody does anything about M$'s monopolistic business practices, yes, they do! M$ is being sued all the time. they even lose from time to time. However, if you've priced a retail copy of Vista Ultimate recently, you'll realize the we pay the fines, court costs, and legal fees for them.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Ubuntu will install with a dozen or so clicks. Realistically, if you can't install it, you might not be able to install Windows either

For XP or earlier thats true, but the installation for 7 is so easy I think if presented with a working set of hardware that boots from the dvd, literally anyone that can read (regardless of whether they actually have used a computer before or knew what one was) could get it installed.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

@JDoors: Whether or not they're commonly preconceived to be something (or not) is irrelevant in my opinion. Though the line between netbooks/notebooks is indeed fading to a degree - netbooks are *still* netbooks. They're overwhelmingly low cost devices that are used for lightweight on-the-run Web access - this is reinforced by the mobile telecom industry pushing them with 3G support.

If users prefer to run Windows on netbooks - so be it. Hell, I probably would (XP). Again, the gripe is that they should be sold with Linux (or with the option), and that I found the ad campaign to be overkill. What is the goal? To squash the remaining 4-odd-percent of netbooks that ship with Linux? To convert those whom will install Linux anyhow (good luck)?

Although I do agree that some who purchase netbooks rely on it to be a budget notebook - it doesn't change what a netbook *is*, unless the border is so thinned that the two are indistinguishable from one another. I reckon, however, that someone with very basic needs looking to buy a laptop could probably skim by on a netbook. Haha, now you have me rambling !

blackshadow2007 said:

Originally posted by Guest:

Don't people have something better to do with their time instead of crying about how much they hate Microsoft? Perhaps spending only a fraction of this time on something more constructive, like helping your "cause" would benefit it more. Honestly, it reminds me of school yard kids. I guess people with such little intelligence don't have much to do anyway. Enjoy.

Agreed...

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

@blackshadow2007: The irony here is that you both took the time out of your day to criticize others for sharing an opinion. So, I extend a similar question to you: Don't you have something better to do than cry about how much you hate when others share their opinion?

You're such mature adults about it that you as far as personally insulting them...

JDoors JDoors said:

@Matthew: "If users prefer to run Windows on netbooks - so be it. Hell, I probably would (XP). Again, the gripe is that they should be sold with Linux (or with the option), and that I found the ad campaign to be overkill. What is the goal? To squash the remaining 4-odd-percent of netbooks that ship with Linux? To convert those whom will install Linux anyhow (good luck)?"

I just can't begrudge them selling a product (and won't accuse them of having nefarious-sounding goals). If it's overkill, well, they DO have an excessive (some say obscene) amount of money, and lately seem to be directing more and more toward advertising. I'm sure some would say other MS ads are overkill too, but how much of that sentiment is just that we're not USED to seeing targeted ads from MS?

I may have lost the train-of-thought here; Why "should" netbooks include a free OS and NOT include, even at increases cost, Windows? Solely for the savings? (Do we know how much Windows Starter Edition adds to the price of a netbook?) Because Windows is inappropriate for netbooks? Because Linux IS better than Windows? Or is it a wish for Linux to have a better opportunity to increase its market share? (Rah! Rah!)

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

@JDoors: While the cost is certainly a consideration it's impossible to know for sure what impact 7 Starter will have on the price of netbooks - perhaps none at all, given Microsoft's desire to squash the competition. The potential for a rippling rise in conclusive cost to the end user is certainly there - and it's only one facet of the situation that gets under my skin. The Linux/Windows debate could run in circles endlessly, I'm not backing the sentiments of either side - and I'm not protesting the use of either in any situation, especially netbooks.

I suppose I was (and am) more irritated at the campaign because I dislike seeing ruthless efforts being made to crush worthy competition. You might feel better about not accusing Microsoft of bearing a malicious agenda - but what positive motives are there to opening an ad campaign against Linux in a market where they're now virtually non-existent?

In combination with the interest I have in seeing competitors "play nice," it is a legitimate opinion that Linux *can* (is?) in parity with the quality of Window in the *majority* of netbook situations - and the fact that it's lighter as well as cheaper only fuels the reason that I'm "pro-choice."

By the way, I guess you and I are especially pathetic - taking all this time to whine and defend about Microsoft and Linux. Maybe we should spend a fraction of this time doing something a bit more constructive. Up for checkers? Haha.

T77 T77 said:

I DONT KNOW WHAT MS WANTS! THEY ALREADY DOMINATE THE MARKET WITH THEIR SLOW & EXPENSIVE OS (VISTA).ACCORDING TO ME THE ONLY REASON PEOPLE ADOPTED VISTA WAS BECAUSE OF DX10 AND THESE PEOPLE ARE GAMERS. VISTA DOESNT HAVE ANY OTHER GOOD QUALIY THAN DX10!!!

I GUESS THEY ARE MONEY HUNGRY! AND WHAT HAPPENED TO ASUS?! PERHAPS GOING THE MS WAY!!

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

Oh come on, vista isnt that bad, unless you're running an older gen pc sure. Took some time for them to get drivers right, but its stable...Its just a monstor of an OS too.

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