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Microsoft: Netbooks Essentially Changed Win 7

Microsoft's resident OEM product manager Laurence Painell recently told TechRadar UK that the sudden netbook explosion changed the scope of Windows 7's scalability. They spoke during the press launch of the Windows 7 Release Candidate, where Painell explained to the website that it was vital Windows 7 had the ability to run on a wide variety of devices, including netbooks. This is certainly no surprise, especially after the netbook market exploded with the introduction of Asus' Eee PC, many of which came with Linux pre-installed.

"There was an increase in other operating systems being installed on netbooks, and there was a big push from our partners to have XP Home for that type of device," Painell told TechRadar, referring to the decision to extend the support of Windows XP in order to claim a stake of the market. Because of the hardware limitations offered by netbooks, Windows Vista was not the ideal flagship for Microsoft; Windows XP is a lot less demanding on the system resources to operate. "Obviously the netbook explosion happened 18 months after the arrival of Vista," Painell said.

He went on to boast about how the Windows platform has skyrocketed in the netbook market in a small amount of time, mainly because the public and Microsoft partners wanted a Windows operating system. While that may or may not be totally accurate, it does serve as a backdrop for the eventual migration of the upcoming Windows 7 operating system. Unfortunately, many skeptics are left with a bad taste in their mouth considering that Windows 7 Starter Edition can only run three applications at a time.

However, the good news is that Windows 7 Home Premium may actually run on netbooks without bogging down the hardware. "A lot of focus has been put into performance in a number of areas," Painell said. "One is around the memory usage--and being able to run Windows 7 on a netbook. So there is a commitment to making sure the OS is more efficient from a memory management perspective." He also said that while quality takes priority, performance is definitely high on the list.

  • bustapr
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't windows7 supposed to need 2gb of memory because of XP? I haven't seen a netbook (apart from sony) that has 2gb.
    Reply
  • squatchman
    Chances are, a netbook version of windows 7 will drop windows xp compatibility.
    As for three apps at a time: Web Browser, IM client, Email client. What exactly are you using a NETbook for anyway?
    Reply
  • touchdowntexas13
    yeah dreamphantom is right. but i wonder how much memory is really sufficient to run windows 7 efficiently. that's a question that i am sure will be answered not too long from now if it hasn't already.
    Reply
  • megamanx00
    I agree that the netbook version probably won't have much XP compatibility. We'll see when it's release though. Honestly I wouldn't worry about it since I have my laptop and I would only go with Linux on a netbook.
    Reply
  • bardia
    squatchman As for three apps at a time: Web Browser, IM client, Email client. What exactly are you using a NETbook for anyway?
    The man has a point. Would be nice if they only counted programs that populate the main part of the taskbar though.
    Reply
  • mcbowler
    6 Gigs of DDR3 Ram for 80$ on newegg. I don't mind if Windows 7 tries to make better use of memory or not.
    Reply
  • Harby
    1 gig of ram is enough to run win7 smoothly.
    Reply
  • ahslan
    I just want proper driver support for windows 7 from computer manufacturers...right now I cant rotate my screen on my 4 year old tablet using windows 7 because intel doesn't have any drivers for its 855gme chipset...I upgraded the ram to 1.5gb and so far, windows 7 runs very smooth
    Reply
  • Three apps is more than enough for most people. How many programs can you possibly use effectively at once anyway? This isn't really as limiting as it sounds.

    As to what Microsoft was thinking, it's probably something like: How can we make money on this product if we have to sell it at such a low price point that it cannibalizes the sales of higher featured Windows 7 versions?

    Microsoft wants people to ignore the Starter version, thus the reason it will only be available through OEM's. They would prefer to only sell a higher priced option because they don't really make much if any money on the Starter version, especially when you consider how much it cost them to develop it in the first place. If they give it too much functionality then no one will want to upgrade to a more expensive version.

    Of course this may turn some people off of buying a machine with Starter on it, which is almost as good in Microsoft's eyes. This may even cause some people to change to a different OS, but people who will do that are the vast minority of Windows users. Bottom line is Microsoft knows that the average user will be used to using Windows and will probably chose Windows over another option going forward because they are used to it, or just don't care enough to want something else.

    What it all comes down to, is that the Starter version of Windows 7 exists solely for the purpose of obtaining new customers that are only able to afford a netbook, or another type low cost machine. This way when they finally need to / or can afford to they will hopefully be biased towards Windows.

    But what do I know anyway...
    Reply
  • Three apps is more than enough for most people. How many programs can you possibly use effectively at once anyway? This isn't really as limiting as it sounds.

    As to what Microsoft was thinking, it's probably something like: How can we make money on this product if we have to sell it at such a low price point that it cannibalizes the sales of higher featured Windows 7 versions?

    Microsoft wants people to ignore the Starter version, thus the reason it will only be available through OEM's. They would prefer to only sell a higher priced option because they don't really make much if any money on the Starter version, especially when you consider how much it cost them to develop it in the first place. If they give it too much functionality then no one will want to upgrade to a more expensive version.

    Of course this may turn some people off of buying a machine with Starter on it, which is almost as good in Microsoft's eyes. This may even cause some people to change to a different OS, but people who will do that are the vast minority of Windows users. Bottom line is Microsoft knows that the average user will be used to using Windows and will probably chose Windows over another option going forward because they are used to it, or just don't care enough to want something else.

    What it all comes down to, is that the Starter version of Windows 7 exists solely for the purpose of obtaining new customers that are only able to afford a netbook, or another type low cost machine. This way when they finally need to / or can afford to they will hopefully be biased towards Windows.

    But what do I know anyway...
    Reply