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MS redefines "netbook" to push up Win 7 price

updated 09:45 am EDT, Wed June 3, 2009

Microsoft Relabels Netbook

Microsoft at Computex has said it wants PC builders to avoid using the term "netbook" in the future. Application Platform and Development marketing general manager Steven Guggenheimer told the press that Microsoft now plans to call them "low cost small notebook PCs" as the original emphasis on web-first use has become outdated. Many of these devices are capable of extra features and are no longer just for the web, the executive insists.

While ostensibly claiming it's primarily a definition, Microsoft is believed to be using the new label to better let it force system makers into using more expensive versions of Windows 7 on certain computers. Vendors have already been told that they can only install Windows 7 Starter Edition on notebooks with no more than a 10-inch screen, 1GB of memory, a 250GB hard drive and a single-core 2GHz processor. By exempting systems that don't quite fit into the category even if their characteristics are similar, Microsoft could require that they pay for the significantly costlier Windows 7 Home Premium.

The company hasn't yet confirmed or denied any such plans but is expected to clarify its stance at a presentation today. It recently dropped the 3-app limit on Starter Edition in part to keep its hold on the netbook market and avoid handing the field to Linux.

By Electronista Staff


  1. eldarkus

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2004



    LCSN - PC's... lame

    and what is wrong with the term Netbooks? When I use my Notebook, I am pretty aware that I can use it for other things than writing notes. When I use my desktop, I know that it doesn't have to sit ON the desk. And should I call it a floortop when its on the floor? Should I modify the name to Carpettop or Hardwood Floor top if the surface changes? And when I put my Laptop on the desktop, does it no longer become a laptop? all of this is very confusing..

    maybe desktops should be called a "High Cost Large Box PC" to avoid confusion

  1. Zaren

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Hope it blows up their faces. Seems as though hardware folks aren't quite as beholden to MS these days thanks to Linux on netbooks, and it would be nice to see them not bend over this. And besides that, "Hey, check out my low cost small notebook PC!" doesn't have the same ring to it.

  1. joecab

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2004


    it won't work

    At this point, the term "netbook" belongs to the public more than the manufacturers, and everyone knows they do more than web stuff. Plus, MS no longer has the absolute power they once wielded against hardware companies, so I don't see them getting anywhere with this.

  1. appleuzr

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2006



    MS has no bargaining chips here. Its absurd to think that people will simply quit using the term "Netbook" because it doesn't contain the word 'Windows' or 'Microsoft' in the name. How bout we just call all computers (with the exception of Macs) Microsoft Windows PC's/Laptops. I'm sure that will make Acer, HP, Dell, Compaq very happy.

    With the quality of the c*** MS has been putting out, I'm surprised any PC manufacturer will stamp their systems as being preloaded with Windows, I certainly wouldn't.

  1. ebeyer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2004


    Opening for FLOSS?

    Microsoft likely took a significant hit on its profit by making XP home available for netbooks. A loss leader, to be sure that Linux on netbooks didn't catch on and create a niche for free, open source alternatives to Redmond.

    Now that the immediate threat to their monopoly seems to have receded, Microsoft is looking to carve a more profitable niche for themselves. From a strictly business standpoint one can hardly blame them for trying to make a profit in a market where they were likely taking losses. But one wonders if this doesn't create a new opportunity for netbook manufacturers supplying GNU/Linux and other alternatives to Win7, especially if these alternatives are cheaper.

  1. phillymjs

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2000


    Reminds me of the joke...

    Q: How does Microsoft change a light bulb?
    A: They don't. They just declare darkness to be the new standard.

    Sorry, bored at work as I set up 2 new Windows Shitsta laptops at a client. Gotta do something while I wait for 500 MB of security updates to d/l.

  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2002


    I hope MS...

    ...confuses, strongarms & prices itself into oblivion. I continue to be amazed at the numbers that line up for this company's 'customer service'...

  1. Mimi-mim

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007



    I wonder if this is the beginning of the downfall of Microsoft.

  1. malax

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2006


    stupid but....

    I agree that the term netbook is here to stay (as is laptop even though I think manufactures always use the term notebook instead), but the netbook term is somewhat problematic. I was in a meeting the other day talking about what laptops we'd supply employees. Someone said "what about netbooks" and someone said "but what about when staff are in a plane, they won't be able to do anything without internet access." A number of people thought that netbooks could literally only be used to surf the Web.

    But that just means better communication/advertising (like the ads for the HP/Verizon netbook) not throwing away a catchy name.

  1. Geobunny

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 2000


    I spy an epicfail acoming

    "...they can only install Windows 7 Starter Edition on notebooks with no more than a . By exempting systems , Microsoft could require that they pay for the significantly costlier Windows 7 Home Premium."

    Umm, won't that just push more manufacturers down the Linux route?

    I can't make up my mind about what's happening to MS just now. Did Gates get out at the right time, or was it his departure which turned the company into the headless wanderer that it has become?

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