Asus CEO Jerry Shen has denied claims that consumers are sending back more Linux netbooks than they're returning Windows-based models.
Speaking in an interview with Laptop Magazine, Shen said return rates were the same for both operating systems.
"I believe the Linux and Windows have similar return rates," he said, adding that the Linux option was particularly popular in Europe.
It has been claimed that vendors say Linux returns are higher. That's not entirely surprising, perhaps, and no reflection on Linux but on non-technical buyers' expectations that any computer they buy will automatically run Windows apps out of the box.
Shen stressed the provision of the Eee PC's simplified user interface, called Easy Mode, implying that for many buyers this presents all the features they need, ensuring they're not forced deeper into the OS.
He promised a version of Easy Mode that will run on Windows XP later this quarter.
This is interesting, as it will effectively remove all but one difference between the two strands of Eee PC: compatility with apps and some hardware that punters already have. If buyers don't plan to install new apps - and, as appliances, netbooks shouldn't need new apps, though alas many do - Easy Mode for Windows XP will make the underlying OS an irrelevance. In which case, why pre-install Windows at all?
Well, some people want it, for starters, and Shen said the Eee line will gain Windows 7 "in the second half of next year".
"For now it will be Linux and XP and then Windows 7 and not Vista," he said.