It’ll likely be another year or so until Windows 7 is fully baked and released, but Microsoft released the version information today and there was an interesting bit in there related to the NetBook market. There is a specific version of Windows 7 that will be sold to OEMs making NetBooks. Just like the current policy of limiting NetBooks to XP Home from the manufacturer, however, the new plan is fraught with problems. Big problems.
Actually there is only one “big” problem. The Windows 7 Starter Edition (for emerging markets and NetBooks) will be limited to only running three applications at a time. That’s right. Three. I understand the desire to not tax the hardware so much that the performance sucks and folks complain. But only three applications? That’s just ridiculous. A web browser, Acrobat and a media player and you’re done. Wanna run Skype? Sorry. You’ll need to close something else. It is just plain stupid.
And there’s the other motivation for Microsoft. They can sell the OS upgrade to the Home Premium version for folks who actually want to use the system like a normal computer. That’s extra money in Microsoft’s pocket.
But at least they are working on a version of the OS that is lightweight enough to run on the “limited” hardware that a NetBook presents, not that they are actually all that limited for most scenarios.