Some Confusion on Windows 7 and Netbooks

So, in my feeds this morning there is a headline from Technologizer that says Microsoft to Squeeze Windows 7 onto Netbooks, picking up on some recent Steve Ballmer chatter and with a link to an eWeek article that has this bullet at the top of the article.

Microsoft plans to offer a low-end version of its upcoming Windows 7 operating systems that works with "netbooks." Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made the announcement while talking about the economy in New York City.

But then as you read the article on eWeek you see the following:

Ballmer said about 90 percent of netbooks — small notebook computers generally priced at $200 to $400 — have been shipped with Windows XP. While most netbooks currently run on a stripped-down version of Windows XP, Windows 7 was designed to work fully on the inexpensive laptops, he said.

Buyers of netbooks with the low-end version of Windows 7 will have the option of upgrading to the more powerful versions, Ballmer said.

I don’t want to accuse anyone of sloppy reporting but the way I read the comments from Ballmer in context with Microsoft’s decision to offer a low-end SKU of Windows 7 I don’t believe we’re looking at a different Netbook version. Instead I think we’re looking at Microsoft’s murky marketing and up sell strategies by using the low end ““Starter Edition” on Netbooks. Note that we’ve seen reports of this before that also include the info that Netbooks will be able to run any version of Windows 7. Keep in mind, reports so far suggest that the Starter Edition will only be able to run three applications at a time. So the real story in my opinion isn’ t that there is a Netbook edition of Windows 7, but that Microsoft’s is using the Starter Edition as a way to separate Netbooks from Notebooks, while at the same time offering a lucrative upgrade path in a growing market.

Comments

  1. Steve says

    I just wonder whether the hack to remove the 3 program limitation from ‘Starter Edition’ will be available for download before or after Microsoft releases the OS. (Not that I’m at all advocating the development, distribution or use of such a hack.)

  2. turn.self.off says

    meh, i think we will rather see a distribution of win7 complete and tools to tweak the install size to fit.

    still, as it seems that future “netbooks” may be 12″+ and sport a hardrive rather then ssd, it may well be that they can handle win7, with all the bling turned off…

  3. Sumocat says

    Agreed. Microsoft has stated directly that the Starter edition is to satisfy requests by OEMs for a limited edition, presumably to lower costs for OEMs. Since Microsoft is implementing an upgrade path to higher supersets of Windows 7, it is reasonable to believe they intend to make up the money difference with consumer-level upgrades.

  4. Nonsuch says

    “While most netbooks currently run on a stripped-down version of Windows XP, Windows 7 was designed to work fully on the inexpensive laptops, he said.”

    I just had to laugh at that quote. It appears Mr. Ballmer considers the Home Edition a “stripped-down version” of Windows XP, and also that it can’t “work fully” on inexpensive laptops. Denial or Marketing?

  5. U810 says

    I currently have the beta build running on my U810 which is significantly under powered in comparison to the current “netbook” market. Bottom-line a full version of Windows 7 will run just fine on a netbook.

Leave a Reply