Microsoft Wants to Advise You on Netbook Buying

Microsoft knows that netbooks are a huge growing market, not only for notebook makers but also for operating system software. In the span of a year, Windows went from being installed in only a small fraction of netbooks to now be shipping with 98 percent of new netbooks sold today.

The Redmond company sees that netbooks are now accounting for 10 percent of PC sales worldwide, with some regions hitting 20 percent, and would like to help you add to that number by giving you some buying tips on what to look for in buying one in a new blog post.

Naturally, one of the prime deciding factors is if the netbook is compatible with your currently existing software and hardware – and if there is something Windows is good at, it’s being compatible with the largest array of software and hardware on the market.

“Windows supports nearly 3,000 printers, over 700 digital cameras, 240 webcams, and 180 digital video cameras, as well as hundreds of more specialized devices.  It also runs more than 10,000 applications, and it's the only OS that runs Microsoft Office, iTunes and Quicken. This means that whatever it is you use, chances are it works with Windows.”

Interestingly, Microsoft makes a version of Office for Mac, iTunes started on a Mac, and Quick is available for Mac with a 2009 version coming later this year. We contacted the blog's author for clarification but no response was given at the time of publishing.

Microsoft also acknowledged the market’s growing preference for netbooks with 10-inch screens. “Machines this size offer a better balance between lightweight portability, having a screen big enough to be productive with more than one window at once, and a keyboard that's comfortable enough for most people's hands.”

The author of the blog also advises to consider a netbook’s hardware capabilities, such as the ability to upgrade to 2 GB RAM and a 32 GB SSD. Interestingly enough, both of those features are beyond Microsoft’s upper limits for netbook hardware sold with Windows XP.

We’ve contacted Microsoft for further comment on netbook hardware restrictions with Windows, so stay tuned.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • xpont8
    With small notebook PCs (sometimes called netbook PCs)..

    haha! still insisting to call it a "small notebook, eh?
  • mavroxur
    ArticleThe author of the blog also advises to consider a netbook’s hardware capabilities, such as the ability to upgrade to 2 GB RAM and a 32 GB SSD. Interestingly enough, both of those features are beyond Microsoft’s upper limits for netbook hardware sold with Windows XP.

    Hello Mr. Left Hand, meet Mr. Right Hand.
  • What is quicken? I remember finding it on my HD,and immediately trashed the program, because it seems like another useless program (just like itunes and kazaa) that find their way straight in the recycle bin (or not even)).

    I thought itunes actually started out on a mac?
  • xpont8
    just read it. obviously, it's a blog-advertisement.
  • hemelskonijn

    Quicken is or at least was one of the most essential finance tools spanning a hugely wide spectrum of solutions over a few nifty packs of software it was for as far as i know the defacto finance software back in the day and strangely any one i know doing their finance during the years before DSL used a mac and there have always been versions for apple computers (for as far as i can find intuit will not change this).

    Actually as you might have noticed microsoft picked a few software packs to boast how compatible they are that all run on mac's.
    Also these pack's could easily be replaced by any other software that would be at least 99.8% compatible thus making linux or mac os a viable competitor.

    Obviously there are only few software titles that would really require you to run windows because there is no alternative most of the time this argument is only valid if the software is custom build and aging.
    Also from what i hear there is no real alternative to AutoCAD but who would be sick enough to use that as an argument to buy a windows netbook over a linux loaded netbook?

    The last non compatible software would be games and clearly they have a point there.
    Although a netbook wont run crisis it might get away running games from several years back depending on the instructions used.
    Because of this netbooks wont be a good platform for gaming and its likely that the games running on windows on the netbooks will run just as well using wine or emulation on linux or any other *nix.

    Long story short Quicken is a financial software product and the blog post that guides you actually tries to indoctrinate you.
  • B-Unit
    Find me a netbook that runs OSX...
  • WheelsOfConfusion
    B-UnitFind me a netbook that runs OSX...Yeah, I think that's what's meant when talking about operating systems in terms of netbook recommendations. Still, it's an easy mistake to make.
    The hardware specs are more interesting, seeing as how some of those definitely cross out of bounds for OEMs' installing XP on it. It's also twice the speculated RAM limit, and who knows about the number of cores the CPU is allowed to have?
  • geekstrada
    The MSI Wind u-100 runs OSX, and even better than it runs XP. I had a geekbench score of just under 1000 on the one I used to have.
  • aspireonelover
    nah, remember what apple said "Netbooks' are crap!" and was said that netbooks don't deserve the apple brand.

    Really Microsoft, when you're limiting us on netbooks, it's just like saying, "Oh, your gaming desktop machine is way too powerful, you can't install Windows." You have to buy a weaker one in order to run windows. Just my thought :P
  • puddleglum
    Just tell Microsoft where to stick it!