MS wants to rename netbooks "low cost small notebook PC"

Microsoft has gone on record to say that the term "netbook" use should be restricted and the term "low cost small notebook PC" should be used in its place. The reasoning for the abandonment is because Microsoft sees that netbooks are only good for surfing the web and that there is little distinction between small cheap laptops and netbooks.

The real reason for Microsoft wanting to rename the netbook type laptops is driven by its own definition of a "netbook". Microsoft will only license Windows 7 Starter to netbook products. Since Microsoft supposedly defines netbooks based on their hardware (no confirmation or knowledge of spec list for true definition) it would be unfair to force users to buy a full priced version of Windows 7 (Windows 7 Starter is heavily discounted) if their netbook had an extra stick of ram or a slightly beefier GPU.

The term "netbook" will not be going away anytime soon. As of right now this is simply an internal device category for Microsoft to help align its product sales. In short, Microsoft defines "netbook" by the specs of the machine rather than the size and cost of the device.

What does all this mean for the consumer? Not too much is known right now but expect the line between "netbook" and a "small cheap laptop" to now be defined by its operating system. Microsoft is expected to give a more clear understanding of its strategy today.

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43 Comments

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They just want to have "notebook" and "PC" attached so that people *expect* Windows on it. "Netbook" makes people have different expectations about the functionality, and MS doesn't really like that. That's my best guess.

I got a better name:

"Super Fun Happy Exciting Time Internet Browsing Word Processing Machine That Does Other Things As Well And Microsoft Owns Your PC"

Now where's my nice big check from MS?

I don't think anyone would want to say "Hey check out my new "COOL" low cost small notebook PC!".. geez microsoft.. get a grip

or how about "notebook".

Whats the fascination with adding an extra word or seven onto the name. In the end a Netbook/Notebook/low cost small notebook all perform the same function and all have more or less the same hardware and/or form factor.

The terms only really any good for marketing anyway to distinguish what technically are similar devices and with that being the case...who would want to market something called the "Basic Notebook"

Amazing how upset people are getting over this. Who cares what they call it? Notebooks also go by laptops. No one has their underwear in a knot over that.

And here's the real newsflash. (Are you ready?) Microsoft doesn't make the hardware, they make the software that powers them. The hardware manufaturers are free (and will continue) to call their devices whatever they want. Netbook, sub-book, "mini", "One", TinyTop... it is not Microsoft's decision. So let them have their opinion and let the manufacturers name their devices whatever they want.

That's how a free market works.

C_Guy said,
Notebooks also go by laptops. No one has their underwear in a knot over that.

Yet some people have nearly caught their underwear on fire over it...

lol wth so a small low powered portable computer that is only good for internet can't be called a netbook... that's like saying you can't call a it a notebook cause you can do more than write notes with it. Or not calling it a laptop cause people can use them on a table if they want.... O_o *sigh*

I can actually sympathize a bit with Microsoft's marketers here (if that's even possible).

What is a "netbook"? Is it strictly based on size? Then I guess the $2k+ Oqo was a "netbook". Is the MacBook Air a "netbook"? It's relatively low-powered, and small, but it's definitely not cheap.

Is there a line?

Thunderbuck said,
I can actually sympathize a bit with Microsoft's marketers here (if that's even possible).

What is a "netbook"? Is it strictly based on size? Then I guess the $2k+ Oqo was a "netbook". Is the MacBook Air a "netbook"? It's relatively low-powered, and small, but it's definitely not cheap.

Is there a line?

Devices between PDAs and laptops?

Anyway, does this mean that we should be getting artificially crippled hardware on cheap devices, with netbooks just slightly more powerful getting a sudden price bump?

It's a marketing term as far as I'm concerned and in terms of companies using the name the specs matter very little. We have 12" netbooks being announced with NVidia graphics ect. Really it's just a buzz word and those systems could just as easily be labelled laptops.

Sure for nw they typically have an ATOM x86 processor but it wont be long until 64 bit computing hits them and intel isn't the only CPU manufacturer in the space. If you go based on CPU specs where would that leave the ATOM based desktops?

As such I see it as more a marketing work and I'm sure companies will throw it at any system regardless of the specs.

They're free to call them whatever they like. In the meantime, the rest of the market will continue to call them Netbooks, and if that means they'll be running Linux instead of Windows; well.. Sorry Microsoft, but you shouldn't have been so gormless, should you?

C_Guy said,
Yikes. Someone needs to do some netbook operating system marketshare research.


I'm well aware most run on Linux already. The point here is that MS were trying to get into the Netbook market, and they just shot themselves in the foot by trying this.

Microsoft has to be the dumbest company on the face of the earth when it comes to marketing. Sheer stupidity. They have no concept of branding. "Low Cost Small Notebook PC"?????? Good grief.

chaos_disorder said,
Microsoft has to be the dumbest company on the face of the earth when it comes to marketing. Sheer stupidity. They have no concept of branding. "Low Cost Small Notebook PC"?????? Good grief.

I completely agree with you, their marketing department is probably running by poor IQ people with lack of experience.

cabron said,
I completely agree with you, their marketing department is probably running by poor IQ people with lack of experience.

More like academics with degrees on top of degrees on top of degress...but with no real world experience.

rakeshishere said,
Why so lengthy names? They are obsessed with long names :P

No, they're just obsessed with renaming things... wonder what it'll be called next month?