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Microsoft to drop 3-app limit on Win 7 Starter?

updated 03:50 pm EDT, Fri May 22, 2009

MS Dropping 3-App Win 7

Microsoft will drop the controversial three-app limit on Windows 7 Starter Edition by the time it reaches shelves, an apparent scoop by long-time Microsoft observer Paul Thurrott indicates. Although the restriction is often softened in practice, the approach would let owners use more than three full, active apps at a time. Microsoft previously instituted the limit both to accommodate the slower systems that would likely be used as well as to push customers towards the more lucrative Vista Home Basic.

The changes should also let users of the simplest Windows 7 build also change their desktop background, a feature that also wasn't an option in the past.

Why Microsoft would loosen its restrictions isn't mentioned in the seeming leak but may have its roots in the company's desire to maintain the control it recently gained of the netbook market. It won the market largely by heavily discounting Windows XP, eliminating most of the Linux cost advantage. Imposing major limits on the software bears the risk of steering some netbook buyers towards Linux, where those limits don't exist. Newer Linux variants like Ubuntu Netbook Remix are tailored just for the ultra-small computers.

Windows 7 Starter will nonetheless maintain some important restrictions, such as the absence of interface elements that require Aero Glass (such as "peek") and touchscreen support; as such, it's likely to increase the cost of convertible tablet netbooks and others with built-in touch.

Microsoft hasn't commented on the accuracy of the report.

By Electronista Staff


  1. robttwo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2005



    "Limits" should be Microsoft's middle name.

    Make ONE version of your OS - just make it work, OK, dumbasses?

  1. ff11

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2004



    Is this for real? Were they really going to limit you to 3 apps running (and as far as we know still are)?

  1. NCMacMan

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2009


    Microsoft Tax

    Hypocrites! They advertise that Apple computers cost more, but what they aren't telling you is that they will get you in the end. "If you want a full sized OS, that'll be an additional $100 please. Virus protection? Another $69.99/year, please. No crapware on your new PC? That 'upgrade' will cost you another $49.99. Would you like to edit videos, pictures, create DVD's, and make your own music? That will cost you more $$$ by purchasing these three to four applications from all different companies with features that don't mix very well....."

    Keep on spinning it Microsoft. Eventually, people will catch on -- wait, they already are. They are buying Apple, Linix netbooks, and other Linix machines. Good luck with that falling bottom line there.

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999


    Might as well make it

    ONE document at a time, just like the good old 6.0.7 days.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. luckyday

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008



    Don't you guys think apple is tempting fate (and hackers) with all this "we are virus free" c***. It's pretty well known that apple computers aren't safer, just the minority. What's going to happen when viruses start popping up (like now)...

  1. ff11

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2004


    re: Microsoft Tax

    The full, non-crippled version of Vista: $319.95. The equivalent full, non-crippled version of the Mac OS: $129.

    Going with Mac OS X is like getting a $190 stimulus check from Apple!

  1. ff11

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2004



    Apple has been tempting fate this way for years now, and fate has been kind. Or could it be possibly be something Apple is doing well?

    Nah, let's go with the pure luck explanation.

  1. ff11

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2004


    re: Might as well make it

    I still can't get over this. So if I have Outlook open in the background to let me know if I have email from a client, and I'm working on a presentation, so I have Photoshop and Powerpoint open, that if I want to check something on the web I have to close out one of the other programs?

    3 Programs is a pretty damned limiting number.

  1. George3

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008


    Microsoft Tollway

    The Apple tax is pure marketing nonsense, but the Microsoft Toll is a daily occurrence.

  1. Durandalus

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2001


    Paul Thurrott?

    Microsoft's pet fanboy they keep in the back yard? lmao ;-)

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