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.