Because the first netbooks ran under the Linux banner, mainstream consumers, who were used to the look and feel of Windows, were largely put off by an OS that was unfamiliar to them. Thus, the switch to Windows on netbooks triggered widespread adoption of the devices. Netbook sales grew sevenfold year-over-year in the first quarter of 2009. Windows XP is now the main OS used on netbooks, and Windows 7 is expected to be a promising successor for the machines when it launches in October. (Vista proved to be less optimized for netbooks.) But Google's Chrome OS could fall prey to the same consumer hesitation that Linux experienced with netbooks, and the company needs to combat that from the beginning. The first thing that Google can do to overcome consumer hesitation is to make the Chrome OS interface better than Windows. It must be easier to use -- and while Google is famous for the simple graphical design of its web programs, it must make Chrome attractive.
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