The devices, which usually cost less than $500, are the fastest-growing segment of the personal-computer industry — a trend that's eating into Microsoft's revenue. Windows sales fell short of forecasts last quarter and the company cut growth projections for the year, citing the lower revenue it gets from netbooks. When makers of the computers do use Windows, they typically opt for older and cheaper versions of the software.
Equipping Linux on a computer costs about $5, compared with $40 to $50 for XP and about $100 for Vista, according to estimates by Jenny Lai, a Taipei-based analyst at CLSA Ltd.
This is why, M$ declared war on the segment last year and palm top computers in previous years. While they may have successfully tamed the Asus EEE PC but, they can't hold back everyone who wants to make a buck on cheap hardware and free software. Analysts have predicted the fall of M$'s business model when computers break below $250/unit retail. We are there now, and it has shown in the bottom line."