Microsoft's Windows 7 Netbook Challenge

As if Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 operating system release doesn't have the tech industry and channel buzzed enough, he's a new issue to worry about: Netbooks.

Inexpensively priced netbooks (or sub-notebooks) from vendors such as Acer, Dell, HP, Asus and others have been one of the few bright spots in hardware sales this past year; their attractive price points and full functionality have gained plenty of adherants. The first netbook versions came loaded with Linux because Vista was just too demanding for their limited memory. Microsoft, however, opted to provide a version of Windows XP to capitalize on the netbook craze, and everyone went about their business.

Now here comes Windows 7, and as this report in The Guardian newspaper notes, that is going to change the status quo. Microsoft intends to provide a separate version of Windows 7 (which is less of a memory hog than Vista) for the netbook, but it will be limited to running only three applications at once.

At first blush, this doesn't seem like a bad compromise, since most people aren't using their netbooks for major business-crunching tasks anyhow. However, I believe puttng limitations on technology use is never a good idea, since you never know the direction in which high-tech is going to move. Besides, if the world moves toward cloud computing as many expect, isn't the ability to run just three apps on you system going to be frustrating?

Let's hope Microsoft doesn't end up destroying the netbook in its desire to save it with its new operating system.


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