Craig Marcho, a support engineer with the Performance Team of Microsoft has blogged his recent experiences with Windows 7 on netbook. A pre-beta build of Windows 7 loaded on a netbook helped him to run Microsoft Outlook 2007, a number of internal applications, and IE 8 without any issues. Though Craig hasn't mentioned which version he installed, since it is a pre-beta build of Windows 7, I think we can assume it to be Windows 7 Ultimate.
He lists some of the main reasons why, and how users can benefit from the combination of Windows 7 and netbooks:
- A smaller footprint of Windows 7 OS makes it ideal for netbooks since many netbooks have smaller SSDs, atom processors and only 1GB of RAM. Although these components can be upgraded, depending on the model, the base netbook hardware itself is capable of supporting Windows 7 installation.
- Windows 7 can detect and configure the OS to take advantage of SSD technology. Windows 7 will not automatically configure defragmentation on SSD's as defragmenting a SSD repeatedly would waste the number of writes available to the memory blocks of the drive
- Netbooks are viable in enterprise environment too. Some common usage scenarios being able to perform inventory tasks in warehouse carrying the portable netbooks, usage of Remote Desktop, handy in meetings and presentations, integrated 3G WWAN card which makes it possible to connect to a remote system when a Wireless Access Point is not nearby
Microsoft has already promised an improved boot up and shut down times, greater battery life, enhanced media capabilities, increased reliability, stability and security on netbooks with Windows 7 and plans to introduce a new, low-priced Windows Server version for netbooks in the next couple of months. Netbook manufacturers like Asus will be supporting Windows 7's native Mobile Broadband by introducing 3.5G-equipped PCs.
During last week at the company's annual fiscal meeting, Ballmer told financial analysts that Microsoft needs to carefully think through what kind of pricing and value to put in the netbook-specific SKUs versus full PC consumer SKUs, versus the business SKU.
In a more recent news, Stephen Elop, President of Microsoft's business division has mentioned at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference that Microsoft is developing packages that are unique to the netbook market and is devising the Wave 14 of Office products for netbooks.
Linux accounted for about 30% of netbook sales before November 2008 on a far smaller number of netbooks sold. The actual netbook sales began to happen in December 2008 in high numbers and a recent study by the NPD Group Research firm shows that more than 90% of netbooks sold in November, December, and January shipped with Windows on them.