Low Cost Laptops : Microsoft Paints Itself Into A Corner

As the release of low-cost laptops based on Intel's upcoming Atom Processor draws near, Microsoft is getting boxed into a corner. The software company plans to stop selling most Windows XP licenses after June 30, yet most of these low-cost laptops won't be powerful enough to run Vista when they arrive later this year.

Windows Vista isn't a viable option in this product segment! It's too expensive and does not work on the stripped-down hardware configurations required to keep prices low. That leaves Microsoft executives with a choice: Do they extend the availability of Windows XP for low-cost laptops, or possibly concede this nascent market to Linux?

Link: ITWorld

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I'm very pro Windows Vista..... let me rephrase...i'm pro Windows Vista on my Quad-Core desktop. If I were in the market for a low-cost or ultra-portable PC that relied on low-end hardware then I would probably be asking for Windows XP or even Linux. Probably not so much Linux, because I do have software needs that require Windows.

It's just until the end of this year that you'll be able to get XP for these machines, and then the only MS option is Windows Starter Edition. Maybe that's fine for some, but what are you going to be using when XP is eventually dropped? What difference does it make if XP is still supported when a lot of apps will be targetting Vista's feature set anyway? The average user will probably just be better off using the laptops' custom software.

I don't understand how people can say that an operating system is "running fine". I don't consider an OS running "fine" unless there is NO hitch. No lag, no hangups, no twittering, nothing. I don't know how people running vista on these low-end pc's that have a hard time running explorer say it can run "fine". If running your OS in slide-show mode is "fine" then i guess it is!

Couple of points:

VISTA IS THE SAME COST AS XP!!!! Look on Misco, WallMart etc. Upgrade price for Vista Business is... £149.99. Upgrade price for XP Pro is.... £149.99. Home Basic Upgrade is £80, and XP Home is £80.... It's the same price.

Vista is fine running with 512Mb RAM on a 1.6Ghz box. Christ, until recently I had my Vista Ult media centre running on 512Mb and an Athlon 1500+ (1.3Ghz) comfortably.

The low cost laptop market is tiny. Whilst I'm sure MS would love to keep Joe Consumer away from Linux altogether, a 2% market share won't be causing Steve Ballmer to be losing much sleep at night. Can anyone see the low cost laptop being more than say 7% of the total market within the next 5 years? Any guess what will happen by that time....
Instead of having low cost laptops running chips at 1.6Ghz, they'll be running 3Ghz, with 1Gb RAM. And guess what will run quite happily on that hardware......... the latest version of the worlds most popular desktop operating system.

How have MS already 'lost' exactly? With Windows Mobile 5 and 6 licensed on 4 out of the 5 biggest handset manufacturers in the world and Microsoft's platform have over double that of Linux's market share....?

EeePC and Intel's yet to be released offering aren't exactly taking over the world now are they...

Not sure if you left this very important tidbit out on purpose (if so, shame on you) or accidentally (we'll let that slide): A standard install of Vista is rather huge compared to XP. From what I have read, things like the EeePC and such are having a hard enough time with squeezing XP on it without seriously nlite'ing it. Now you want to toss Vista onto the same thing? LOL, I'm sure if even vlite'ing it will help. (I use that reference as low cost systems with small flash drives are going to be a hinderance)

Considering that most of the Low Cost Laptop manufacturers are putting Linux or a variant on them by default already states that MS has already lost

Do you mean Walmart? Oh wait, they tried Linux and it wasn't want their comstomers wanted so they switched back to selling Windows computers.

Well this is a choice consumers have to make. If the laptop you want to buy can't support the current Windows operating system, Microsoft will offer that operating system at a reduced functionality to support your hardware. If you don't like that option, then you can consider other OS's like Linux.

As always, it's all about choice. But don't buy low-end hardware and then whine, cry (or in extreme cases, sue) because you weren't competent enough to understand that low-end hardware can't run a high-end operating system with good efficiency.

That is just silly. Vista will run on any simi modern computer. Just for fun I installed Vista RC1 on a 600MHz PIII laptop with 256MB of RAM and a 10GB hard drive. It ran about as well as XP did on the same system (little bit longer startup). Sure, you are not going to get Aero Glass, but you don't have that on either XP. Glass is not intended to be a budget feature, it requires decent hardware and the low-cost Vista Basic doesn’t even allow it. I do not understand these people who act like Glass is the only measure of a system’s ability to run Vista.

(neufuse said @ #4)
This is why we have Windows Embedded... for low end devices...
Can Windows Embedded take a standard app, say WSFTP and install it? Or does it have to be an app written for the embedded version?

I think that the point of the article is that these low end laptops are running a full version of the Linux kernel, so pretty much the whole world of software is open to use.

depending on how its configured, yes. There's no reason it wouldn't be able to run any windows application, its still windows.

There's not really an advantage to deploying XPe in this situation; however, with Vista embedded you could potentially strip away the more memory intensive pieces (DWM, Windows Search, Superfetch) to slim down the OS

Microsoft will avoid extending XP life with a vengeance, the overly proud, autocratically run company rarely make U turns. No doubt they will produce another (crippled ) product based on WinXP / Win2k / Win2k3 like (the disasterious) Home Server :nuts: . They will not allow Linux a foot hold in any market under any circumstances, if it can possibly be avoided. They are not that stupid (or stubborn)... So this is a bit of a non story, but fun :-)

Overly proud? Autocratic? This is Microsoft. They admit and explain their mistakes, unlike some other IT giants that hide everything behind a wall of lawyers.

But I don't think Microsoft will extend XP. They may however release a cut down Vista.