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Microsoft now plans to call them "low cost small notebook PCs" as the original emphasis on web-first use has become outdated.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.