Microsoft loosens restrictions for XP-powered netbooks

— 9:58 AM on September 3, 2008

On June 30, Microsoft finally stopped making Windows XP available to major PC vendors. However, the software firm said in April that it would keep offering XP for certain low-cost laptops. Indeed, XP remains alive and well today in systems like Asus' Eee PC 1000H.

To receive Windows XP licenses, leaked internal documents told us netbook makers had to limit their systems to 10.2" displays, 1GB memory densities, 80GB storage capacities, and certain low-speed processors. DigiTimes now says Microsoft has updated its terms to allow for storage capacities as high as 160GB—likely an attempt to keep up with increasingly fancy (and expensive) netbooks.

As a result, Both MSI and Asus are coming out with higher-capacity variants of their low-cost laptops. DigiTimes claims MSI has already launched a 160GB Wind U100, while Asus should release a 160GB Eee PC 1000H today. The two systems should cost $17,900-18,900 TWD ($563-594) and $18,988 TWD ($597), respectively, in Taiwan.

A look back at prior netbook announcements shows Acer also announced an XP-powered Aspire One with a 160GB hard drive a couple of weeks ago. DigiTimes says its sources expect Microsoft's policy change to boost netbook demand and cut sales of lower-capacity, solid-state-drive-based systems.

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