Microsoft is giving netbook makers a choice of pre-loading Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 7 Starter Edition on low price netbooks. My guess is that most computer makers will stick with Windows 7 Starter, which will be much cheaper, unless there’s huge demand for a more powerful operating system.
But where does that leave netbook owners who don’t want a crippled OS? Well, you could wipe the hard drive and install a Linux distribution like Ubuntu for free. Or you could spend $80 to upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium. Microsoft unveiled the price of the “anytime upgrade” today.
The funny part of the announcement is that it suggests users who pick up a netbook for limited use may eventually decide they’re using it “as their primary every-day PC.” This, despite the fact that Intel and Microsoft have been spending a lot of time talking about how people are buying netbooks as secondary machines, not as desktop or laptop replacements.
$80 normally wouldn’t seem like a lot of money to pay for the operating system upgrade, but if you only pay $299 or so for the computer, it’s a lot of money. What added features would you get with Windows 7 Home Premium that are missing in Windows 7 Start? Remote media streaming, advanced taskbar functions including taskbar previews, the Aero Peek desktop effect, and the ability to change your desktop background.
What do you think? Are those features worth $80 to you?