Microsoft 'excited' by potential of netbooks

Ballmer points to importance of portability

Netbooks exciting Microsoft

Microsoft has indicated the importance of netbooks in its strategy, admitting that it's time to start considering the potential of portable Windows.

Talking at Microsoft's annual strategy meeting, Steve Ballmer indicated that the software giant has a 90 per cent attach rate for netbooks – but that new opportunities are likely.

"We made a strategy a year ago that said we will have high market share on netbooks," said Ballmer. "We priced to have high market share, and we did marketing work to have a high market share.

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High return-rate on Linux

"Retailers were looking at the very high return-rate they were getting on Linux netbooks and they said this was the way to go – we're now, I think, on a 90 per cent attach rate against netbooks which I'm very excited about.

"Netbooks have been growing nicely while consumer PCs have been flat. People say 'are netbooks all downsize?' I don't think so.

"I don't think total market would be the size it would be without the netbook and yet on the other hand we need to carefully think through what pricing and value we put in netbook specific SKUs versus full PC for consumers and versus business SKUs.

New possibilities

"The other thing I think is important for us to have in our head is what the netbook may open up in terms of new possibilities for us," added Ballmer.

"You now get a very low cost very small essentially hardware stack that can run our software anywhere and you can think literally about getting it in a lot of different devices.

"I think you'll see it opening out into a lot of different opportunities for us. When you talk to people like Asus in Taiwan you see a lot of opportunity for market unit growth in terms of that technology."