A Microsoft official is predicting the availability of $200 netbooks by the 2009 holiday season. Although the company is positioning Windows 7 Home Premium as the default version of its next generation operating system for home computers including laptops and netbooks, Microsoft will make Windows 7 Starter Edition available in developed nations like the US. This will be the first “starter edition” operating system that Microsoft markets outside of the developing world.

Windows 7 Starter Edition will be cheaper for netbook makers to load on mini-laptops. But it will come with a number of restrictions. For instance, users will only be able to run up to three programs at a time. It’s also possible that Microosft could drop personalization features such as the ability to change the desktop background.

In other words, Windows 7 Starter Edition won’t be nearly as much fun to use as Windows 7 Home Premium Ultimate, OS X, Ubuntu Linux, Windows XP, or pretty much any other full fledged operating system. What it will be is cheap. Cheap enough that Microsoft director of OEM marketing Mark Croft says he can envision computer makers using the operating system on $200 netbooks. While final pricing information hasn’t been released yet, it sounds like Microsoft plans to make Windows 7 Starter Edition OEM licenses as competitive with Linux as possible, which is quite a feat considering many Linux distributions are freely available.

via Engadget

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9 replies on “Microsoft: Windows 7 Starter Edition could run on $200 netbooks”

  1. Stop the anti Microsoft bashing and face the facts that they make their money from selling the OS so restating the fact that Linux is free is stating the obvious.

    I agree MS are being silly by supplying a hampered version of W7 but they are offering an option and not limiting you to it. You are free to chose whatever edition you like. For a company that sells its O/S then not much else could have been expected. However I might I have provided a version that couldn’t physically use no more than 2GB RAM and lock it to an ATOM CPU or even better I would have just locked out many features. I am sure they could have come up with another feature slice to suit the lower price.

    The problem with limiting the number of apps that can run is that this will tarnish Netbooks and to some extent Windows 7.

    I can’t help think that MS haven’t thought this through. The vendors (who are the biggest customers for MS) don’t really want to sell netbooks as the margins are so low so MS may be bending to their requests here. However they should think of the negative press they will get over a disabled version of Windows 7.

    If it was my choice between upsetting the vendors or the customers I would have learned my lesson with Windows Vista. Wouldn’t you?

  2. Hmm. Something tells me Microsoft is going to get very aggressive with Windows 7 pricing. If Starter Edition is going to be priced so low it can go on $200 netbooks it is pretty safe to assume they will have a “Home Basic”[1] version priced to move on the $300 models and “Home Premium” on the $400 models. But will it really be the same “Home Premium” that will be selling on $600 laptops?

    Guess it is good they are feeling a need to compete for a change, but will people really pick Starter vs Linux? Or more importantly, will customers demand XP be kept in the lineup?

    And of course Starter Edition is still x86 only so what is their plan to take on the upcoming Arm invasion? WinCE? That wouldn’t even be a fair fight. Pocket Office viewers, Pocket IE (and Fennec) and ported over cell phone apps vs Firefox, OO.o and a fully populated Ubuntu/Debian repository of thousands of real apps?

    [1] Yes I know the current lineup has no “Home Basic” version of 7. But expect it because they have to fill that hole between super cheep Starter and Premium.

  3. This is so typical Microsoft. I think they have forgot their roots and figure they can stick anything on a computer and people will buy it just because it is Microsoft. The sad part is that they are right…

  4. netbooks are improving each day and microsoft wants to stop this with this unuseful version…

  5. No more than 3 programs open at a time? Thats a deal killer for me. I could work around it but I usually like to have web pages open, with a word processor running, a text editor, and at least one or two file explorer screens up and I would be frustrated constantly at this limitation. Either put Windows XP or LInux or a full verion of Win7 on it or forget it…

  6. “quite a feat considering many Linux distributions are freely available.”
    most linux distros are free, fully fledged and unrestricted – with thousands of powerful apps for free

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