Last month Microsoft announced plans to offer PC makers deep discounts on Windows XP for “ultra low cost PCs.” Microsoft defines ULPCs as computers with 10.2 inch or smaller screens, 1GB of RAM or less, 80GB or smaller hard drives, and 1GHz or slower processors (with exceptions for devices with an Intel Atom or VIA C7/Nano CPU). And touchscreen devices need not apply.

Now that a number of computer makers are starting to offer super cheap desktops by using some of the same cheap components that are showing up in these subnotebooks, Microsoft has extended its offer to companies building PCs it calls “nettops.” In a nutshell, a nettop is a computer that sells betwen $100 and $299 and uses the Intel Atom Diamondville procesor.

This is a win-win for PC makers and Microsoft. While Microsoft will be charging just a fraction of the original price for Windows XP, the company will at least be getting its operating system on more computers, while manufacturers will be able to offer customers one of the most widely used operating systems in the world while keeping costs relatively low. Of course, it’s hard to compete with free, and we’re seeing a growing number of companies offer both Windows and Linux versions of their computers.

[via The Guardian]

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