To date, Microsoft has been the leading netbook supplier, garnering as much as 90% of the fledgling market share, according to some market analysts. However, alternatives, such as Linux and Android, are starting to get attention. Earlier this year, Asustek Computer Inc. said it would develop a model that runs on Googleï¿¼s software.
How much of a threat Android presents to the Redmond Behemoth is an open question. The Google system does have some strong points. Lower pricing may be an attraction with the Android netbooks: Acer expects its Android model to sell for less than its Windows system. However, throughout its history, Microsoft has been able to beat back a bevy of suppliers who have tried to loosen the hammerlock it has had on the operating system market and will not take the new threat lightly.
For small and medium businesses, the Acer announcement presents welcome news. Netbooks are quickly working their way from novelty items to widely accepted technology. Androidï¿¼s potential should at the very least present Microsoft with a formidable competitor, so it will have to offer competitive features and pricing. The end result is businesses will find a wide array of possible netbook selections, and ideally one will meet their needs.