Acer, RealNetworks to join Google Android OS Netbooks

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has been making a lot of news lately about its dominance of the trendy netbook market. However, both Acer and RealNetworks have made splashes in recent days, announcing their intentions to use and develop for alternative netbook operating systems.

Up to this point, Microsoft Windows XP has been the dominant OS for netbooks, the tiny 8.9" to 11.6" laptops with impressive web surfing speed but few hardware highlights. The majority of netbooks don't even have DVD drives, but given their sub-3 pound weight, miniscule width, and comparably cheap price tags, they've become awfully popular in this recession of ours.

Slender Profits but Big Name Recognition

That's been mostly good news for Microsoft. Despite slender profit margins, the company's dominance of the market has helped increase its name value in the ramp up towards the release of Windows 7 this holiday season.

Unfortunately for MS, there's bad news this week on the netbook front. Acer recently revealed that it will run Google Android, a popular smartphone operating system that until now has remained just a rumor for netbooks. That will change in the third quarter of 2009, when Acer's Android-based netbooks ship.

Microsoft Confident People will Buy Windows Netbooks

For its part, Microsoft isn't letting on that anything's amiss. Singapore-based company spokesperson Amelia Agrawal was quoted as saying, "Competition in the marketplace is good and people have the right to choose software that is best for them... Microsoft remains confident that people will keep buying Windows, as evidenced by the robust Windows growth on small notebook PCs." (Source:

Real(ly) Sticking it to MS

RealNetworks, known for their popular media players, will also be giving Microsoft headaches in the coming months. The company yesterday revealed that it will be supplying all-in-one media support for Linux-based netbooks, improving the appeal of these bare-bones systems free of Microsoft's XP.

Although Linux-based netbooks often force users into compromises on functionality, they are typically much faster than their XP (or heaven forbid, Vista) brethren, a valuable asset for machines with moderately powered Intel Atom processors. (Source:

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