March 5, 2009 at 5:36 pm
Following the explosive growth of netbooks last year, Microsoft is doing all it can to push Windows 7 as the netbook platform on launch. Microsoft was caught out last year when Vista turned out to be too complex to run on most netbooks and had to resort to selling the lower-margin Windows XP instead. Bill Veghte, Microsoft’s senior vice president for Windows, said that “Windows 7 will run beautifully on netbooks,” when asked the question by Computing.
From what we can tell, there will be three versions of the new Windows 7 platform that can possibly run on netbooks. To push customers to pricier versions of Windows 7, Microsoft is limiting the features of the cheaper edition. The most basic, called Starter Edition, can only run three programs at a time. Microsoft will make it easy for consumers to quickly upgrade to more advanced versions, as all the required software will already be installed on the machine and it just takes a few minutes to switch from one version to the next.
In the current climate, trying to convince consumers to upsell to the more fully-featured packages may be a hard sell. Especially since many still see that Windows XP is still perfectly sufficient for their needs. Industry estimates suggest Microsoft only makes half as much from the sales of netbooks running basic versions of its XP system as it does from sales of fully featured laptops.
Windows 7 Starter: Up to 3 concurrent applications, ability to join a Home Group, improved taskbar and JumpLists;
Windows 7 Home Basic: Unlimited applications, live thumbnail previews & enhanced visual experience, advanced networking support (ad-hoc wireless networks and internet connection sharing), and Mobility Center;
Windows 7 Home Premium: Aero Glass & advanced windows navigation, improved media format support, enhancements to Windows Media Center and media streaming, including Play To, and multi-touch and improved handwriting recognition.