Microsoft Details How It'll Cripple 'Windows 7 Starter' For Netbooks

steve ballmer windows 7 ces

Microsoft (MSFT) has issued some details about Windows 7 Starter, a low-cost version of Windows 7 it’ll offer for small netbook PCs.

Microsoft confirms it will cripple the operating system, as expected, so as to give people an incentive to upgrade to a more expensive version of Windows. But the good news is that you won’t be limited to only running three apps at a time, which would have been a gift to Google and any other competitor.

Instead, Microsoft will not include these features: (quoted from blog post)

  • Aero Glass, meaning you can only use the “Windows Basic” or other opaque themes. It also means you do not get Taskbar Previews or Aero Peek.
  • personalisation features for changing desktop backgrounds, window colours, or sound schemes.
  • The ability to switch between users without having to log off.
  • Multi-monitor support.
  • DVD playback.
  • Windows Media centre for watching recorded TV or other media.
  • Remote Media Streaming for streaming your music, videos, and recorded TV from your home computer.
  • Domain support for business customers.
  • XP Mode for those that want the ability to run older Windows XP programs on Windows 7.

That seems fair. (And it seems pretty easy to get around some of these. Can’t video apps like VLC just play the DVD?) Remember, the idea is to keep Windows the platform of choice on netbooks, and not something like Google Android or other Linux-based operating systems.

Given these limitations, we can see how someone who uses their netbook just for Web surfing won’t really mind the missing features; and also how someone who wants more will upgrade to a better Windows, or buy a Windows 7 premium netbook in the first place.

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