I saw some flame bait over on some website about Windows 7 'killing linux on "netbooks"' and based on the article and some of the comments I decided I had to say a few things:
So- in conclusion: Manufacturers were handed nearly free (or absolutely free) versions of XP- on the condition that they also increase the minimum specs of the processor, memory, and hard disk space. Since this made all the XP only machines look like the more powerfull ones, people no longer cared that it may cost them an extra $50 - 100 to have something they are familiar with. And guess what- it worked. People look at the Linux only versions as the low end model (which of course no one wants to have low end) and it only cost a few dollars more to upgrade. For people saving hundreds (or even thousands) on a subnotebook - they may as well have the 'best'.