A third of netbooks shipped in 2009 came with GNU/Linux rather than Windows preinstalled, according to analysis from ABI Research.
The firm's figures strongly contradict Microsoft's oft-stated claim to have 90-something percent of the netbook market sewn up. The netbook phenomenon started as a Linux-only affair, but Microsoft has managed to get Windows XP onto the majority of the small, cheap notebooks, and many of the devices now come with Windows 7.
According to ABI analyst Jeff Orr, Microsoft's claims are based on netbook shipments in the United States alone, and they also exclude Dell for using direct sales — Dell has long said that a third of its netbooks are sold bearing Ubuntu rather than Windows.
Orr also suggested that GNU/Linux would overtake Windows in netbook share by 2013, partly because of ARM-based netbooks entering the marketplace. Windows is x86-based, and will not run on ARM's architecture.