Microsoft tells OEMs what netbooks are

Microsoft is going to restrict original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to certain hardware specifications for their netbooks if they want to run Windows 7 Starter - the edition of the new operating system designed for netbooks - Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has confirmed.

Previously other Microsoft executives have suggested that there will be restrictions on processors and screen resolutions supported by the Starter edition, but at Microsoft's annual financial analyst day on July 30 Ballmer made the company's intentions clear, according to Computerworld. "Our license tells you what a netbook is," Ballmer revealed. "Our license says it's got to have a super-small screen, which means it probably has a super-small keyboard, and it has to have a certain processor and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."

According to Microsoft Windows 7 Starter edition was created so that Windows 7 can be offered on even the cheapest netbooks, but it lacks many features of other editions of the operating system and will only be sold to OEMs and not retail or business customers. Information on Tech ARP claims that netbooks running Starter editions must have screens smaller than 10.2", contain up to 1 GB of RAM, and use a single core processor up to 2 GHz. The current limitations from Microsoft for netbooks running XP or Vista are that screens cannot exceed 12.1".

The reason behind this move is to try and encourage consumers to spend more to get a better, higher specification computer, which will in turn come with a more expensive edition of Windows. "With today's netbooks, we sell you XP at a price," said Ballmer. "When we launch Windows 7, an OEM can put XP on the machine at one price, Windows 7 Starter Edition at a higher price, Windows 7 Home Edition at a higher price, and Windows 7 Professional at a higher price. [...] It's not just what are our prices - that's partly in here - but it's also a function of how well do we do getting, in any segment, people to buy the more expensive offering."

Microsoft partly blamed the shift to netbooks for a recent fall in profits, with the majority of netbooks currently running Windows XP which is sold to OEMs at a lower price than Windows Vista - estimated to be less than $15 per netbook and around a third the price that Windows Vista would be. The creation of an edition of Windows 7 for netbooks, along with these hardware limitations, is hoped to reverse the effect.

Ballmer admitted that Microsoft made a mistake with their current Windows XP pricing and acknowledged that it was to blame for Windows revenues being down. He also said that with Windows 7 they hope to rectify the situation. "[I]t turns out the theory was wrong, and you will see us address the theory in the Windows 7 time frame. We're going to readjust those prices north, so to say, and I think with our Windows 7 SKU lineup, we also have a great chance to do some up-sell ... to Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home...."

Microsoft is to continue selling Windows XP for use on netbooks long after the launch of Windows 7. Whilst consumers may like a newer version of Windows on their netbooks than the significantly dated XP, adding Windows 7 will push prices of what is meant to be a low-end product up even further.

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73 Comments

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I guess they'll have to increase these specs as Netbooks improve? I sure hope they're planning to do that. Regardless of how much RAM behind a tiny screen, you aren't going to treat a tiny screen as you would a workstation... I think the screen should be the only factor.

leo221 said,
I run win 7 ultimate in my lenovo s10. who wants starter?


That's what I don't get with all the crying in their (root) beer.

All Ballmer is saying is that if you equip a netbook too far above a certain spec, you should put a more powerful OS on it. (He's right.)
After all, why in the world would anyone pimp out a netbook with a larger screen, additional RAM, larger main drive (hard drive *or* SSD, or even one of each) and then cripple it with 7 Starter? What in Ned is the logic behind such a decision?

The issue to me is that Starter even still exist, and wasn't turned into a Windows Vista misstep. No, instead they take it and make it even more prominent in the market, now shooting for low-end netbooks, not just developing countries. *sigh* Windows 7 Starter is not more resource demanding than Windows 7 Ultimate (yes, you go ahead and benchmark them if you don't believe me), it just places more restrictions on how it can be used. Why not make Windows 7 Home Basic the cheapest edition?

"Why not make Windows 7 Home Basic the cheapest edition?"

I was going to go into a long-winded argument over MS's right to sell their licenses the way they choose, but you actually have a point. I don't quite get why they needed to break out their low end into two different products, either.

Thunderbuck said,
I don't quite get why they needed to break out their low end into two different products, either.

W7 can't compete on low end netbooks because of it's price, so they offer an artificially crippled OS to justify the higher price tag of the other W7 versions.

They'd obviously rather see the low end netbooks disappear.

BTW on a not really unrelated note, Todd Finch recently debunked Microsoft's "Linux return rates higher than Windows on netbooks" crap.

I want a Netbook like this:

12" Screen
1280x800 Resolution
2 Gigs DDR2 RAM
Windows 7 Professional

Do these exist? Are they still called "Netbooks"?

I use to bring my old ThinkPad 560X to college to take notes on. It is a small system, no optical drive, and has a 12" screen. Only 800x600 though. The reall killer on the system that prevents any serious use is the 96 Megs of RAM it holds. Supposedly you can squeeze 160 Megs in it, but that kind of after-market RAM costs more than two or three times what the system itself costs now. If it held 256 Megs RAM, I would probably find things to still use it for.

Xenomorph said,
I want a Netbook like this:

12" Screen
1280x800 Resolution
2 Gigs DDR2 RAM
Windows 7 Professional

Do these exist? Are they still called "Netbooks"?

I use to bring my old ThinkPad 560X to college to take notes on. It is a small system, no optical drive, and has a 12" screen. Only 800x600 though. The reall killer on the system that prevents any serious use is the 96 Megs of RAM it holds. Supposedly you can squeeze 160 Megs in it, but that kind of after-market RAM costs more than two or three times what the system itself costs now. If it held 256 Megs RAM, I would probably find things to still use it for.

Lenovo S12

I've got one similar for work.

HP 2710p Tablet
12.1" screen
1280x800 resolution
4gb RAM (my own upgrade from the included 2GB)
80GB HD
Secondary "slim" battery that gives me > 10 hrs battery life, at one point up to 12-13.
Base station with DVD drive

I played around with Windows 7 on it, but due to a change in my work role I'm stuck with XP SP3 for now. Windows 7 x64 ran pretty nice on it.

Xenomorph said,
I use to bring my old ThinkPad 560X to college to take notes on.

I had a 560x as well. Then I went to the x21, a nice machine. Then to a x41t, which was a table. You should look for one of those, or an x60t, they are both great machines.

MioTheGreat said,
The more restrictions on Starter, the better.

It's better to see less of this relatively crippled OS variant.


The decision to bundle such a crippled OS is a joint one by the OEM *and the customer*. Nothing is stopping OEMs from offering a more powerful version of 7 on netbooks. Nothing from Microsoft or, in most cases in the specs of the netbooks themselves (from Ballmer's own speech). If you can't get a more powerful OS on a netbook, it's not Microsoft's fault.

LoveThePenguin said,
So you support the crippling of software and thus the user's freedoms? MS should be ashamed of themselves, for this is no better than DRM.


LTP, go back and read Ballmer's speech (unless you simply enjoy taking things out of context).

Ballmer said that there is NO limitation UPWARD on what SKU of 7 can be ppreloaded on a netbook. He said that if you want to, you can put a more powerful version of 7 on the netbook, and that would be just fine. He also said that, given the capabilities of some netbooks, that a more powerful SKU of 7 SHOULD come on them by default. (He refuses to name examples; however, I'm under no such onus. The Lenovo IdeaPad and Acer Aspire Timeline 1810, the replacement for the Aspire ONE, SHOULD ship with no less than 7 Premium, even in the base configuration.) He says that to do less would be a disservice to the OEM's customers. (In other words, he was making YOUR ARGUMENT.)

Through feeling embarrassed?

I still think it's pretty funny the end-user can't change their desktop picture with Windows 7 Starter. They must have lost it.

Don't you see? Changing the wallpaper requires resources beyond the netbook hardware specs.

That, or MS is f'ing their netbook customers.

In which world does an upgrade from XP (2001) to Windows 7 (2009) perhaps mean a worse product on netbooks? In a Microsoft world.

.Neo said,
I still think it's pretty funny the end-user can't change their desktop picture with Windows 7 Starter. They must have lost it. :laugh:

I thought they changed it so you could alter the wallpaper 3 times. Any more than that, too many resources are needed.

Jugalator said,
Changing the wallpaper requires resources beyond the netbook hardware specs.

Are you being sarcastic? Because you can change background images on crappy phone software, hell I can even do it on my home phone. I'm sorry but that's just BS. They are imposing restrictions because they want to leech more cash out of those who know no better.

They said it themselves, the XP margin on netbooks was set so low that they made virtually nothing; of course that was only done to try and compete GNU/Linux out of the market. So again MS employs the bait and switch, offering XP for virtually nothing to gain a strangle hold on the market, then switching to a DRM-esque style offering which curtails the freedoms of the users.

Jugalator said,
Don't you see? Changing the wallpaper requires resources beyond the netbook hardware specs.

That, or MS is f'ing their netbook customers.

In which world does an upgrade from XP (2001) to Windows 7 (2009) perhaps mean a worse product on netbooks? In a Microsoft world.


No, it does not. It requires an upgraded version of Windows 7; nothing more. In other words, operating-system limitation, not hardware limitation. Go to the Windows 7 beta forum here on Neowin and take a gander at how many folks are running 7 Ultimate RC on netbooks (note that the RC/CPP is Ultimate by default). Now, if a netbook can run 7 Ultimate, then I would think it would certainly be capable of running 7 Premium (or Professional, which is ALSO lower than Ultimate). Why can't netbooks vendors offer either?

The specs say it's possible. Ballmer himself says it's possible. The frickin HARDWARE says it's possible. So how are the customers getting screwed?

LoveThePenguin said,
Are you being sarcastic? Because you can change background images on crappy phone software, hell I can even do it on my home phone. I'm sorry but that's just BS. They are imposing restrictions because they want to leech more cash out of those who know no better.

They said it themselves, the XP margin on netbooks was set so low that they made virtually nothing; of course that was only done to try and compete GNU/Linux out of the market. So again MS employs the bait and switch, offering XP for virtually nothing to gain a strangle hold on the market, then switching to a DRM-esque style offering which curtails the freedoms of the users.



LTP, as usual, you've completely missed the point Ballmer was making.

Ballmer is saying that there is NO REASON WHATEVER that netbooks are limited to Starter Edition. They are certainly free to offer higher SKUs of 7 on netbooks (and, going by the posts on the Windows 7 beta forum *right here on Neowin*, any other version of 7, from Premium to Ultimate, could run on a netbook).

In other words, Microsoft isn't screwing anybody.

LoveThePenguin said,
Are you being sarcastic? Because you can change background images on crappy phone software, hell I can even do it on my home phone. I'm sorry but that's just BS. They are imposing restrictions because they want to leech more cash out of those who know no better.

They said it themselves, the XP margin on netbooks was set so low that they made virtually nothing; of course that was only done to try and compete GNU/Linux out of the market. So again MS employs the bait and switch, offering XP for virtually nothing to gain a strangle hold on the market, then switching to a DRM-esque style offering which curtails the freedoms of the users.


It requires no more than an SKU of 7 upwards of Starter Edition (Basic to Ultimate). Operating-system limitation, not hardware limitation.

Are OEMs free to offer higher SKUs of 7 on netbooks? Yes. (Ballmer pointed that out in the same speech.)

Will higher SKUs of 7 run on netbooks? Absolutely. (We here at Neowin have been proving that since the CPP for 7 kicked off with 7 RC. Go to the Windows 7 beta forum and look for yourself.)

Is there any reason to offer *only* 7 Starter Edition on netbooks? Absolutely NOT. (Ballmer himself said that.)

Basically, Ballmer is saying that netbook OEMs aqre NOT limited by any agreement to only Starter Edition on netbooks; in fact, he pointed out that limiting those customers to Starter would be a disservice. (Does that argument sound the least bit familiar? It should; it's YOUR ARGUMENT.)

I would get rid of my laptop and just have a netbook IF

Nvidia ION was standard
higher def screen (1280x800 would be fine!) Only the Dell mini 10 has it.

Maybe dual core?
I use my netbook for 70% of everything anyways. It would be nice to have a higher res though for side by side docs and dual core for multitasking.

Ill do photo editing on a desktop

This is precisely why I chose FOSS. I don't want to be controlled by the dictates of a tyrant (MS). When I get my arm smartbook, I'll get at least two gig of ram. Why should any of us be limited in such a way?

LoveThePenguin said,
This is precisely why I chose FOSS. I don't want to be controlled by the dictates of a tyrant (MS). When I get my arm smartbook, I'll get at least two gig of ram. Why should any of us be limited in such a way?



Wake up and smell what you're trying to shovel.

The limitation *only* applies to *Starter Edition*. If you add more RAM or otherwise go beyond the specs, there's Home Premium (either Vista or 7, with 7 being the smarter choice in terms of performance). 2 GB and even a single-core CPU (Atom, even P4 Northwood-B) can handle Home Premium (depending on the HD/graphics, it could handle Ultimate, for cryin out loud). What's the pricing gap (even at OEM pricing) for Home Premiuum vs. Starter?

PGHammer said,
The limitation *only* applies to *Starter Edition*. If you add more RAM or otherwise go beyond the specs, there's Home Premium (either Vista or 7, with 7 being the smarter choice in terms of performance).

Adding ram does not exceed the specifications of the hardware, only the unjustly imposed sanctions of the starter edition.

PGHammer said,
2 GB and even a single-core CPU (Atom, even P4 Northwood-B) can handle Home Premium (depending on the HD/graphics, it could handle Ultimate, for cryin out loud). What's the pricing gap (even at OEM pricing) for Home Premiuum vs. Starter?

Why impose the limitation of a single core? I can run GNU/Linux on a quadcore without such impositions. It's just as bad as DRM. They are trying to cripple the hardware to increase sales. How pathetic.

I don't understand how someone can derive so much pleasure from spending 'so much time' trying to 'convince' ppl who read a news article into disliking microsoft, but whatever floats your boat man; it doesn't do anyone but yourself any harm I suspect.

duneworld said,
I don't understand how someone can derive so much pleasure from spending 'so much time' trying to 'convince' ppl who read a news article into disliking microsoft, but whatever floats your boat man; it doesn't do anyone but yourself any harm I suspect.



He's either all about Microsoft-bashing or he's the worst sort of Linux fanboi.

Notice that I said nothing against Linux or netbooks; in fact, my criticism has been directed against "Starter Edition" for being limiting, and pointed out that there are certainly options that don't require that you give up anything you have with Starter Edition (and that those same OEMs can, and should, offer with their netbooks, according to Ballmer). In other words, there is no reason (from the OEM POV or the customer POV) why netbooks are limited to Starter Edition.

If balmer is attempting to destroy MS, he's doing a mighty fine job Carry on balmer, we need more men like you at MS, hehe.

But seriously, this is great news for GNU/Linux. One gig isn't enough these days, even on a netbook. I think consumers will like the choice of having more ram, no restrictions, and blazingly fast system. I'm waiting on the arm smartbook before I purchase one; That is going to be one sweet machine!

And your post does not make sense. As you said, 1GB ram isn't enough these days. Therefore, netbooks with >1GB ram would have the option of other Windows 7 versions on them and thus, are perfectly and fully capable netbooks.

Only netbooks with 1GB ram or less are affected. Windows 7 starter would run fine on it, and so would various Linux distributions. But as you mentioned, 1GB isn't enough and thus, in your situation, there are no "restrictions" in the Windows realm. Your argument makes no sense.

Foub said,
Many Netbooks can have their RAM upgraded.

Are you going to take your new shiny netbook apart and void the warranty? Besides, are you going to replace the cpu with a dual/quadcore? Because that's another restriction. Personally I would like a dual core netbook/smartbook.

artfuldodga said,
more RAM? 7 runs fine on 1GB, the ram it does use it isn't utilizing just precached ....

Didn't they say that about the "vista ready" PC's ? I've seen the benchmarks and it uses virtually the same amount of ram.

Shokus said,
And your post does not make sense. As you said, 1GB ram isn't enough these days. Therefore, netbooks with >1GB ram would have the option of other Windows 7 versions on them and thus, are perfectly and fully capable netbooks.

So you have to upgrade the OS just so MS will allow you to use more ram. That sound fair right? lol.

Shokus said,
Only netbooks with 1GB ram or less are affected. Windows 7 starter would run fine on it, and so would various Linux distributions. But as you mentioned, 1GB isn't enough and thus, in your situation, there are no "restrictions" in the Windows realm. Your argument makes no sense.

If I was buying a netbook, I would want two gig of ram. So why should I have to pay MS for the privilege of using more ram? It's the "MS Tax" debacle all over again

artfuldodga said,
more RAM? 7 runs fine on 1GB, the ram it does use it isn't utilizing just precached ....

Sure, you can run 7, but when you try to actually run any other software, that is when it fails. Now, I am sure many people here are perfectly happy just running Windows, in fact that is probably their dream situation. But some people like to check there email, go on the web, or even write a document.

Microsoft can dictate to OEM's all they want, OEM's will sell Linux equipped Netbooks. People will install what O/S they like, most probably one they do not pay for, whether it be a flavour of Linux, or something else!

Everyone tried to kill off the sub $100 "One Computer Per Child", what did it do? It came back as the Netbook - Microsoft's worst nightmare.

Who needs > $1000 PC's any more? Rich employees at Microsoft (especially decision makers) obviously have no idea how much ordinary folk are struggling to make ends meet. The good times are over!

boho said,
Who needs > $1000 PC's any more? Rich employees at Microsoft (especially decision makers) obviously have no idea how much ordinary folk are struggling to make ends meet. The good times are over!

Apple is doing just fine selling people > $1000 computers.

People are happily checking their email on them and web browsing to their hearts' content. Money well spent.

makes sense, though i think they are making it sound worse than it is, why would Microsoft let OEMs sell starter on a powerful machine? and make zero cash in the process

Just wait until the qualcomm snapdragon netbooks come out with the arm cortex cpu, and ubuntu netbook remix/Android/Chrome OS's are deployed on it. Manufacturers have got to wake up and select the popular OS's without crappy restrictions; Dell are doing it with Ubuntu, so why can't the others do the same? If everyone rolls their own distro we wont get anywhere.

artfuldodga said,
Linux flavor offerings seem to come with the worst specs for a netbook, from folks like Dell

Actually they have better specs. For one thing, they have ssd drives, and secondly there are no restrictions on screen size or memory. I know which I prefer. Besides, you can get ubuntu on any of dells machines now; just look at the OS option in the customise screen :)

Who wants a slow, heavy, noisy, and power draining mechanical disk on a netbook / smartbook? If you want storage just log into the cloud (ubuntu one, or google).

i selected dell mini 10 ... furthest one to the right, i see no ubuntu option to select, i do see SSD, looked around at other models.... ubuntu, nowhere, not on studio 17 etc

LoveThePenguin said,
Actually they have better specs. For one thing, they have ssd drives, and secondly there are no restrictions on screen size or memory. I know which I prefer. Besides, you can get ubuntu on any of dells machines now; just look at the OS option in the customise screen :)

Who wants a slow, heavy, noisy, and power draining mechanical disk on a netbook / smartbook? If you want storage just log into the cloud (ubuntu one, or google).

I had a Dell Mini 9 with an 8GB SSD. I was all for it... until I realized how limiting it actually was. I couldn't have all of my music on there, maybe a movie or two, no games, no real software (just office). I'd love for my new netbook to be able to replace my full sized laptop for almost everything.

I'm on my school's track team and we take 2-3 hour (each way) bus rides almost on a weekly basis. Trust me, having movies and such would make the rides seem so much better.

Oh, and battery life doesn't seem to be affected much. You have HDD based netbooks going over 9 hours.

turk4n said,
This is why, Microsoft + netbooks = garbage.
#2

Wow, how much more misinformed can one person be? Or is this a Mac troll? My Dell Mini 10 runs Windows 7 Ultimate just nicely, ahthankyouverymuch. Many people with netbooks are running XP/Vista/Win7 with no problems.

He's telling about the Starter Edition, ir0nw0lf. It is being crippleware in order to force people to "upgrade" to the more expensive version. I run Ultimate on my Netbook as well and when I'm at home I have it plugged into my 32" flat panel and have a full size Logitech Illuminated keyboard.

Foub said,
He's telling about the Starter Edition, ir0nw0lf. It is being crippleware in order to force people to "upgrade" to the more expensive version. I run Ultimate on my Netbook as well and when I'm at home I have it plugged into my 32" flat panel and have a full size Logitech Illuminated keyboard.

Please guys..read the Starter specifications!..netbook is used for wifi browsing, office documents..which Starter will serve. Full stop.

Foub said,
He's telling about the Starter Edition, ir0nw0lf. It is being crippleware in order to force people to "upgrade" to the more expensive version. I run Ultimate on my Netbook as well and when I'm at home I have it plugged into my 32" flat panel and have a full size Logitech Illuminated keyboard.



Seriously; like it would take much *force*.

What's the price delta to move north of Starter to Home Premium? Even absent Aero, I gain *all* the following with 7 Home Premium that I lack with Starter - full participation in HomeZones, greater customization options, Windows Media Center, BitLocker, etc. What in that (admittedly incomplete) list of additional non-Aero-requiring features requires additional RAM or other features not standard in a 1 GB netbook? If I'm going to put a netbook to serious use (even if serious means e-mail and Web browsing), I certainly wouldn't shackle it with 7 Starter (and Ballmer is saying that I don't have to).

turk4n said,
This is why, Microsoft + netbooks = garbage.
#2

Not only that, but who do MS think they are telling us where we can run out software, which we bought?? What a joke.

turk4n said,
This is why, Microsoft + netbooks = garbage.
#2

Well have YOU tried Windows 7 on a netbook?

And I still don't get why people are whining about a cheaper OS version having limited functionality, what with Microsoft trying to make money and all that

Windows 7 Starter is rubbish compared to XP Home so it'll fail, Also Linux knocks the crap out of 7 starter to. Android will appear on netbooks.

yup..sadly gotta agree with you there.. Microsoft just gave Android a massive opening to dominate the netbook market.. Ever since Ballmer took over. Microsoft has not been doing too good.. he should realize the only reason he is there is because he's friends with Gates..

Agreed. I use windows 7 on my laptop, but I'm excited to see Google's offering for netbooks. If it is as good as Android (I love my G1) then Microsoft will have some serious trouble in the netbook market. I understand trying to increase your revenue stream, but as soon as consumers can get a netbook with better specs than Microsoft's limitations, they will, and Google or some linux based OS will be there to cash in.

Sorry, I compleatly disagree, I am sure you have not even tryed the Win 7 Starter, It Is much better than you can think of. No way Xp Home Is better than W7 Starter, there are no indexation on XP, search files on xp is a pain, W7 recognize gadgets much better, internet conection Is much more easyer, there is no jumplist, aero snap on Xp.. and so on.. I've got an EEE PC and there Is no way I'l use xp on It, W7 all the way. Please try before you say something.

Billy Gun said,
I am sure you have not even tryed the Win 7 Starter

+1

I was about to make a similar comment about how these people preaching about Windows 7 Starter have probably never even tried it.

wakers01 said,
Agreed. I use windows 7 on my laptop, but I'm excited to see Google's offering for netbooks. If it is as good as Android (I love my G1) then Microsoft will have some serious trouble in the netbook market. I understand trying to increase your revenue stream, but as soon as consumers can get a netbook with better specs than Microsoft's limitations, they will, and Google or some linux based OS will be there to cash in.

Google is NOT giving Android for netbooks, its only for mobiles..They are developing Google Chrome OS for netbooks..
And have you tried Windows 7 starter? if you use netbook, Starter edition will be fine...(browser, office & opening/reading/saving documents, connect to wifi & you can listen to music as well)

guruparan said,
Google is NOT giving Android for netbooks, its only for mobiles..They are developing Google Chrome OS for netbooks..
And have you tried Windows 7 starter? if you use netbook, Starter edition will be fine...(browser, office & opening/reading/saving documents, connect to wifi & you can listen to music as well)

Well your completely wrong, Acer will launch a Android netbook by September at the latest.

TCLN Ryster said,
+1

I was about to make a similar comment about how these people preaching about Windows 7 Starter have probably never even tried it.

You can't even change the background, end of story.

thealexweb said,
You can't even change the background, end of story.

Yes we can! Ops! Yes, you can, just go to the control pinel and change it, yes you can't change it using the desktop, or the right click on the mouse, but there Is a way to change it anyway.

thealexweb said,
You can't even change the background, end of story.


Do you fire up the OS and stare at the background all day, or do you actually have windows opened that cover it anyway--especially on a screen this size?

Are you sure what you want is a netbook, and not a picture frame?

thealexweb said,
Windows 7 Starter is rubbish compared to XP Home so it'll fail, Also Linux knocks the crap out of 7 starter to. Android will appear on netbooks.


Once you get to 2 GB of RAM on a netbook, you've effectively moved north of Starter territory. (Considering how well Windows 7 performs in just *one* gigabyte of RAM, why couldn't you run Premium on a 1 GB netbook today?) What's the OEM pricing difference between Starter and Premium? $10? $15? (As a system builder, I seriously doubt that it's more than $15, though I don't build netbooks.) There have been plenty of reportage right here at Neowin of folks running 7 Ultimate on netbooks (those same netbooks that are at the Starter threshold). So what's the *real* issue? It's either price (in which case the OEM price deltas of Premium/Starter/Pro/Ultimate need to leak) or it's Microsoft-bashing.

_dandy_ said,
Do you fire up the OS and stare at the background all day, or do you actually have windows opened that cover it anyway--especially on a screen this size?

Are you sure what you want is a netbook, and not a picture frame?


Customizability use to be attractive.

guruparan said,
Google is NOT giving Android for netbooks, its only for mobiles..They are developing Google Chrome OS for netbooks..
And have you tried Windows 7 starter? if you use netbook, Starter edition will be fine...(browser, office & opening/reading/saving documents, connect to wifi & you can listen to music as well)


Did you read what I posted? I never said that Google was offering Android for netbooks, I said if their netbook OS is AS GOOD AS ANDROID then it will be seriously competetive. So, here we go again so there is not confusion. I have no idea what OS Google is releasing, but if it is as good as Android (I love my G1) then Microsoft will have some serious competition in the netbook market.

Now, I haven't tried windows 7 starter, but I run 7 ultimate on my laptop, and I love it. I have read some bad things about 7 starter; however, you are right - I should actually lay hands on it before passing judgement.

thealexweb said,
Windows 7 Starter is rubbish compared to XP Home so it'll fail, Also Linux knocks the crap out of 7 starter to. Android will appear on netbooks.

Agree 100%, and who the hell are Microsoft to tell me where and when I can run the OS I just paid for!! If Apple or Google tried to do this, everyone on here would be screaming about it, but oh, Microsoft do it and it is the greatest thing ever. Is this what they mean by innovation at Microsoft?

thealexweb said,
Well your completely wrong, Acer will launch a Android netbook by September at the latest.

Um... I REALLY doubt that... Google hasn't even showed off any of its CHROME OS (As they are calling it), which is a Linux distro... I've seen nowhere that there were any plans for an Android Netbook OS...

cakesy said,
Agree 100%, and who the hell are Microsoft to tell me where and when I can run the OS I just paid for!! If Apple or Google tried to do this, everyone on here would be screaming about it, but oh, Microsoft do it and it is the greatest thing ever. Is this what they mean by innovation at Microsoft?

Starter is cheap compared to other editions.

You get what you pay for.

End of story.

No one is forcing you to buy it or not to upgrade it.

cakesy said,
Agree 100%, and who the hell are Microsoft to tell me where and when I can run the OS I just paid for!! If Apple or Google tried to do this, everyone on here would be screaming about it, but oh, Microsoft do it and it is the greatest thing ever. Is this what they mean by innovation at Microsoft?

Unless you are an OEM then they are not telling you what to do with the OS you just paid for.