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Microsoft Wants Windows 7 Users to Upgrade

We learned before that there will be six versions of Windows 7, but will that be all? Perhaps not.

Bloomberg’s report on Windows 7 for netbooks spins the idea that there will be multiple versions of the upcoming Microsoft operating system for low-cost, portable laptops. While the story does not make clear if Microsoft is aiming to splinter its lower-end versions into smaller subsets, the message is that there will be strong encouragement for the user to pay for an upgrade to a higher tier.

Netbooks, besides just offering portability as a key differentiation factor, also occupies budget-friendly price brackets. OEMs will also want to opt for the cheapest licence of Windows 7 to keep its price tags low.

While being the cheapest version of the OS, Windows 7 Starter Edition will be limited to running only three programs at a time. Users who find this limitation unacceptable will have the convenient option of upgrading to a version of Windows that isn’t bound by the three program rule.

With netbooks and budget notebooks growing at a rapid rate, Microsoft would naturally find it important to not simply allow the cheapest Windows 7 to be the most prevalent version on the market.

“The challenge for us clearly is to get the average selling price up,” Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell said last week. “We see Windows 7 at as an opportunity. We’ll have the ability for people to trade up, which would give us a price more similar to what we would normally get for a consumer.”

As we’ve reported in previous stories, upgrading to a higher version of Windows 7 is easy as it’ll just involve a license switch. The system would recognize that certain features are then “unlocked,” opening up more of the OS. Of course, this does call into question how Windows 7 would handle upgrades on a stripped-down, ‘lite’ version. This is even more of a puzzle now that we know users will have the option of not installing previously mandatory software such as Internet Explorer 8 or Windows Search.

Keeping all features on the hard drive, but dormant, would be a waste of storage – particularly on smaller SSDs – but with most users expected to upgrade through an Internet transaction, perhaps new data could be downloaded at the time of the jump.

Clearly, the message here is that Microsoft wants everyone to run Windows 7 Home Premium, which the company already forecasts to be the most popular SKU. With the streamlining of Windows 7, it could be Microsoft’s aim to have Home Premium on netbooks as well.

“With Windows 7, we’ve matched hardware improvements with some investments of our own. With Windows 7 we are on track to have a smaller OS footprint; an improved user interface that should allow for faster boot-up and shut-down times; improved power management for enhanced battery life; enhanced media capabilities; and increased reliability, stability and security,” said Brad Brooks, corporate VP for Windows Consumer Product Marketing.

Read more about Windows 7 on netbooks here.

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.
  • If you look from Vista's perspective, perhaps everything is 'enhanced'.
    From XP's point of view there's little enhanced about windows 7.
    XP has a smaller footprint, will be (just like Windows 98se today)hacked, and attacked less, and still has a faster response time.

    And my notebook battery with Norton 360 installed lasts longer on XP, than a clean installation of windows 7!

    I certainly hope Windows 7 allows going back to the grey 2000/Me/9X/NT look! It saves speed, and resources!
    Reply
  • SAL-e
    I don't get it! I have the feeling that MS is trying to bit Linux in number of distributions!

    ps. Please accept my apology. I just could not hold it any more.
    Reply
  • grieve
    ProDigit80I certainly hope Windows 7 allows going back to the grey 2000/Me/9X/NT look! It saves speed, and resources!Can you disable services?

    In XP for example... just disable "themes" in services. I am sure Win7 will allow this as well.
    Reply
  • waikano
    I don't get it, haven't they learned anything? Just release 1 OS at a decent price and have it customizable at install or OEM can do a base for the hardware they are installing it on. Micro you are right you have an opportunity here and you are going to blow it.
    Reply
  • A Stoner
    Basically fits my view of all these companies. They want money each and every time you touch, see, hear, smell or taste a digital product. Look at Bill Gates' previous talking points of where he wanted to take Microsoft. The end game for Microsoft was/is it to be a rented OS. You buy nothing when you get the product, you just get a rental contract. Pay by the minute, hour, day, week, month, year. The endgame is basically, if you want to use your computer, we have the key, and we will allow you to use it, for a fee.

    Same goes for movie, music and game industry, they are all going towards the pay per play. Buy a CD and they claim you do not own anything, if you want it on your iPod pay iTunes, want it on your computer, pay someone else, want it on some other mp3 player, another fee, in your car, pay a fee, their end goal is to charge you every time you hear more than ten consecutive seconds of anything remotely similar to something they can claim copyright to. These companies are nothing better than a buch of socialist parasites when it comes to how they see their products, as a way to enslave people to their company products. The time when you could simply buy something, and not have to worry about it is coming to an end.

    All you younger kids with your anti piracy rants can rant on all you want, but when you let these companies lock you into pay per play for every single small thing in your life, your life will be very much a rat race of trying to keep up on all those nickles and dimes($1, $14.99, $29.99). They may seem like small numbers, but as the companies multiply the number of pay per play items in your supposedly can't live without catagories, your future incomes are going to start looking very small compared to your parent's income of years past. Of course, I guess you could just as well join them, and maybe make money.
    Reply
  • zzyzxfc
    I'll pass. When I see the need to move to a new OS, it will be open source. Wake up and smell the roses Microsoft.
    Reply
  • vaskodogama
    WOW! a lot of angry people here :D shit!
    Reply
  • kingssman
    So, What version of windows will i be getting again? I mean all these versions are so very very confusing. I upgraded OSX Tiger to Leopard and had no problem because there was 1 version, and that version contained all the updates with nothing left out.

    What should i do for windows? do i buy the basic, get the premium do the ultimate or settle for the Starter Edition? Wow it's no wonder people switch to Linux. Locking out features? never heard of such a pyramid strategy. and here the piracy rate of windows is through the roof!

    Do we own operating systems or do we lease or rent them? Apparently when it comes to software, we don't own anything
    Reply
  • Flameout
    KingssmanSo, What version of windows will i be getting again? I mean all these versions are so very very confusing. I upgraded OSX Tiger to Leopard and had no problem because there was 1 version, and that version contained all the updates with nothing left out.What should i do for windows? do i buy the basic, get the premium do the ultimate or settle for the Starter Edition? Wow it's no wonder people switch to Linux. Locking out features? never heard of such a pyramid strategy. and here the piracy rate of windows is through the roof! Do we own operating systems or do we lease or rent them? Apparently when it comes to software, we don't own anythingu shouldnt buy any windows at all!

    ms r playing their cards right tho, becoz most ppl want windows on their netbooks. personally i prefer a linux distro becoz, but for ur average person, they expect to have windows. it's good to c ms' marketshare go down but it's still ridiculously high
    Reply
  • twburger
    Microsoft is dead, long live Linux, OSX, BSD, Haiku, ...
    Reply