Microsoft hopes to cash in on netbook users

As you might recall, we learned last month that the cheapest Windows 7 flavor available worldwide will only support running three applications concurrently. According to Bloomberg, Microsoft will target that release at netbooks—even though cheap little laptops should have no trouble running higher-end editions of the operating system. What’s the idea there?

Apparently, Microsoft will intentionally limit the basic netbook release in order to get consumers to “trade up” to full-featured editions, thus raising average selling prices. Microsoft’s CFO makes no apologies for the strategy:

“The challenge for us clearly is to get the average selling price up,” Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell said last week. “We see Windows 7 at as an opportunity. We’ll have the ability for people to trade up, which would give us a price more similar to what we would normally get for a consumer.”

Microsoft Consumer Product Management Director Parri Munsell told Bloomberg that upgrading from Windows 7 Starter to higher-priced editions will be easy, because “all the required software will already be installed on the machine and it just takes a few minutes to switch from one version to the next.” That sounds like Microsoft could revive the online Windows Anytime Upgrade program it once offered to Vista users. (Thanks to DailyTech for the tip.)

Comments closed
    • blubje
    • 11 years ago

    ps aux | sed ‘/\[k/d’ | wc -l
    110

    what is “an application” is undoubtedly going to be up for third party reinterpretation.

    • onlysublime
    • 11 years ago

    Hello? Do you guys use the netbooks? You expect to multitask like crazy on them? They barely run just Photoshop, let alone other apps. My niece wanted to use Photoshop CS3 on her netbook because she loves that program and she was majorly disappointed how terrible it ran.

      • poulpy
      • 11 years ago

      Photoshop CS3 on a netbook?
      And you’re in shock it didn’t run smoothly?
      Is this a wind up?
      If not I suggest you point your niece towards 3D Studio Max if she’s into 3D rendering, I’ve heard it works wonders out of an Atom CPU 🙂

    • Hance
    • 11 years ago

    The three app limit would be an absolute killer for me. I have browser, email and chat open almost all the time. Those programs are always running in the background while I do other things. So yeah the three app limit sucks big time.

    I have a ton of systems in my house and I want to put windows 7 on all of them when it comes out. I am really interested to here the final verdict on technet because that could end up saving me a pile of cash.

      • TechNut
      • 11 years ago

      Here’s my take…

      TechNet users are by definition a pretty loyal bunch to MS. We typically have to architect, engineer and support Microsoft solutions. When purchasing TechNet subscriptions for my own professional development, I use it to grow my skills and keep my software legal at the same time. It’s convienient, and I can keep my software current at a relatively low price. Being current is critical for both IT pros and enthusiasts, and with TechNet you can do it at a affordable price (and save a bundle too!) Evaluate to me is keeping my skills current so I can recommend MS solutions (I also recommend non-MS ones too!).

      As Indeego and Biff pointed out, there are some risks to using TechNet licenses. I live by the following common-sense rules when it comes to TechNet.

      1. Never give anyone outside of your immediate family your MS license keys or software. I’d use it on the wife’s or kids machines, but not my parents or my sister, brother, cousin, boss, bosses’ wife. Giving it away to others *is* stealing.

      2. Don’t try to run your own business, i.e. Megacorp or Minorcorp off of the licenses. If you do get audited, like Indeego said, life will not be pretty. That’s stealing.

      3. TechNet license keys do not expire and they can be reactivated. However, they will have issues if you break rule #1 above. Also, keep in mind that MS could one day bomb out TechNet licenses through WPA. It’s not likely due to the loyalty of TechNet users, but it could happen.

      4. Keep current, buy new hardware, upgrade, etc. keep Fry’s in business without the hassles of WPA. But if you sell that old machine, don’t break rule #1.

      Basically, don’t rip off Microsoft. Buying a TechNet subscription is good for you and MS, since you are not pirating, and MS is actually collecting more money than what the OEM copy’s of most of the software you will use is worth. So, it’s win win for them and you. The recurring factor means that over time, it will cost you less to keep current versus having to buy one off software purchases.

      TechNet is not good for people who very rarely change hardware configurations, it’s not good for your Grandmother, and it’s not good for people who are not in Tech. It’s aimed at us enthusiasts and pro’s to be able to help learn MS software, and help them drive sales by being fluent in their technologies and influencing technology purchasers. Happy Power users = More MS sales.

      If in doubt, you can always call MS. From my own experience they have been quite liberal (they want you to buy the subscription).

      YMMV 🙂 My two cents.

    • xii
    • 11 years ago

    Rip-off. Rather petty, even… It’s pretty sad Microsoft has to sink so low as to annoy the poor souls that get a netbook and get stuck between manufacturer and OS maker without realising the ability to download a tool somewhere to disable this arbitrary limit. Why the hell does MS think they have any business to tell people how many programs to run on their own machine?

    Will a terminal window with an interpreter running in it be 2 programs? What if that interpreter starts another program (say, a build script), which in turn starts a compiler?

      • stmok
      • 11 years ago

      Because people are dependent on Microsoft for their computing needs.

      This gives Microsoft power over people. (Or so they think).

      Hence the reason of why they act the way they do. (Believe they can dictate terms to the customer).

    • not@home
    • 11 years ago

    I wonder how long it will take for someone to find a hack that will eliminate the 3 app limit?

      • tesla120
      • 11 years ago

      not long

      “all the required software will already be installed on the machine and it just takes a few minutes to switch from one version to the next.”

      just an upgrade to activate everything only takes one guy to rewrite the update into a nice little patch

      seriously how do they plan on keeping this locked? they cant keep their OS from being pirated but they think they can cripple the people who do buy it???

        • kos4u2c
        • 11 years ago

        The 3 app limit probably means 3 entries in the applications tab of task manager.

    • leor
    • 11 years ago

    they never learn . . .

    • herothezero
    • 11 years ago

    q[

      • indeego
      • 11 years ago

      Linux doesn’t care whether doors are open or not.

      Apache, Amazon, Google, IBM, Novell, Red Hat, techreport.com, and even this mostly windows admin indeego all companies/people That use Linux and do so successfullyg{<.<}g

        • A_Pickle
        • 11 years ago

        Alternate platforms just got another “impossible” home/enthusiast user myself: I’m installing Kubuntu on my smaller laptop as it’s primary operating system.

          • stmok
          • 11 years ago

          Same here.

          Debian Linux on my Desktop.
          Xubuntu Linux on my ThinkPad.
          Arch Linux on a cheapo Acer Travelmate.

          Microsoft solutions don’t live here anymore…

            • AMDisDEC
            • 11 years ago

            After I purchased Vista, opened the box and saw the CD was cracked I called Microsoft. They charged me $30.00 to replace the brand new CD. That was the last time I allowed them to rip me off.
            Now it’s;

            Ubuntu on my Quad Opteron ASUS workstation and Ubuntu Server Edition with Apache, MySQL on my Four Quad Opteron Rackable Servers.

            Microsoft’s rip-off days are numbered.

            • Usacomp2k3
            • 11 years ago

            Did you return it to the retailer?

            • AMDisDEC
            • 11 years ago

            Of course. The path of least resistance would have been for Tiger Direct to simply exchange the defective disk, but they refused and pushed me to Microsoft. Tiger also refused to give me a refund.
            Taking time to return to Tiger Direct, spending an hour speaking with it’s manager, and than calling MS who took an hour to route me to the correct department only to be charged for a new disk. Who needs that kind of frustration after purchasing one of their products. Today, they no longer have my business.

            • indeego
            • 11 years ago

            That is weird. I had a different experience. I ordered XP Pro, it came with the glue that holds the disk to the packaging melted all over the data side. I called MS tech support, they transferred me to some arcane packaging department, offered to ship me a replacement disk overnight if I paid $10 extra, or USPS 3-4 days for free. I chose the $10 and indeed I had it the next morning.

            The whole thing probably took 15 minutes, and it was a lot better than dealing with MS for when I was accused of piracy multiple times when Vista activation failed throughout Spring of 2007g{<.<}g I'll go out on a limb and say I don't like everything about Microsoft, and I don't like everything about Linux or Google either. I pretty much hate everything about Apple the company howeverg{<.<}g

    • lithven
    • 11 years ago

    Very bad decision. I know why they are doing it: the netbook manufacturers want a cheaper version of windows to reduce cost and MS doesn’t want to take the hit in profit. So, the companies basically came to an agreement to shift the cost of the OS onto the end user as an after purchase cost so the netbooks can be marketed as $XXX instead of $XXX+50. I do think there will be backlash from this I’m just not sure who is going to get taken behind the shed and who is going to benefit from it.

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 11 years ago

      While true, I don’t see it as too much of a problem. Most netbooks are going to be single-use only. The 2 biggest uses I can think of are browsing the web and media playback. Neither of those will necessarily break the 3-program limit. Note-taking either.

        • CinnaBuns
        • 11 years ago

        But will you be allowed to have 4 instances of Notepad open? (I really don’t know.)

        It’s probably not a dealbreaker for a netbook, but I can think of plenty of simple usage scenarios where a 3 app limit could easily become annoying.

          • Arag0n
          • 11 years ago

          Well, we have to stay thinking that its a Netbook, not a notebook. Furthermore, if i’m not wrong what they say is that they will cut prices of starter version in order to make it cheaper and make you pay to upgrade to a Home Premium version, instead make you pay for the Home Premium from the begining.

          I don’t see that you will pay more, just in 2 steps, with the option to not have to pay if you can deal with this limitation because you only use some kind of web browser, office and Adobe Reader.

          Anyways if you think that its like steal make you pay for this kind of software you will be able to install linux instead.

          Anyways, I think that coul be a bad marketing move but it’s not a big deal for the user. Just choose the netbook that comes with W7 Home Premium or try if you can with an starter.

    • Tarx
    • 11 years ago

    I think it comes down to the details.
    Is it 3 apps total? Or just 3 apps open? 3 different apps? Or does it count instances of a specific app as well? Does it count minimized apps? etc.
    With the 1024×600 screen display, if the limitation is just 3 different apps that are not minimized, then the limitation is more of an annoyance (i.e. have to learn to do more minimizing). Otherwise…

      • eitje
      • 11 years ago

      right – for me, only having 3 different apps open is not a big deal.
      however, for something like Google Chrome, that might be a huge issue.

      Also, will it count services as apps? will it only be counting open windows?

      there’s a lot of questions that remain around this.

        • willyolio
        • 11 years ago

        depending on how it counts them, 3 apps could be incredibly restrictive, even for a low-powered netbook.

        1. browser.
        2. IM app.
        3. antivirus.

        not much room for movement, there.

    • khands
    • 11 years ago

    Hackersoft, that is all.

    • TechNut
    • 11 years ago

    Unfortunate coincidence it seems 🙂

    Reply to #7…

    • TechNut
    • 11 years ago

    For enthusiasts, it makes more sense to go out and buy a MS TechNet direct license. The license is $349US for the first years subscription and $249US a year after.

    It includes access to all MS server and desktop OS software (including all version of Windows server 2008, All versions of Vista, all versions of XP) and access to all version including Enterprise and Pro versions of business software like Office. You can even download Windows 3.11 or DOS 6.22 if you want. Typically you get the releases before consumers and joe-public as well.

    The cost of Vista alone, even on OEM almost pays for the TechNet license once you add in software like Office and Visio to the mix.

    When Win7 comes out, I’ll just download the DVD ISO and Ultimate key from MS and put it on my systems. With TechNet, the keys they give you allow them to be installed on 10 different machines and activated over 1500 times. Plus the keys are good once your subscription ends.

    Why pay more? I can see this being expensive for average consumers, but for IT professionals and enthusiasts, it’s almost a no brainer, and it’s a lot easier than piracy. I’ve been doing this for a few years now, and it works well.

    • Chrispy_
    • 11 years ago

    People will choose to buy Windows 7 if Microsoft gets the product right, pricing is largely irrelevant to the end user as so many people will get an OEM copy or pirate it unless they’re convinced that it’s worth paying for.

    I bought XP twice, I pirated Vista once

    Vista may now be viable but it sure as hell wasn’t really any good until SP1 at least, and even then I’m not sure SP1 for Vista marked the same level of readiness that SP1 for XP ever did.

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 11 years ago

      I fail to see any justification for piracy there. There are legal ways to evaluate it (like asking for an evaluation version), if that is what you are really after.

        • Chrispy_
        • 11 years ago

        People who download illegal software are generally going to pirate everything anyway. I still have unopened boxes of several games and applications on my shelf because the pirate copies are already installed and already cracked with the relevant nocd workaround. Just because I buy the stuff I like (and want to support the developer) it still doesn’t entitle me to steal the stuff that I consider junk.

        There are very few ways to justify piracy but what I’m saying is that people will buy things even if they’re accustomed to stealing. Vista did not fall into the “worth buying” category after launch and will be superceded by 7 too soon for anyone to give a real damn about it.

    • alsoRun
    • 11 years ago

    Bad move by Microsoft. It will only create market backlash and open door for Linux.

      • Farting Bob
      • 11 years ago

      among techies like us maybe, but the mass market will remain ignorant of the issue and continue to be scared away from linux.

        • poulpy
        • 11 years ago

        Well Netbook wise users don’t seem to be Linux-shy when it’s built-in and usable out of the box. Same goes for phones at the moment.

        Seriously limiting the number of applications running?
        What’s next limiting the number of peripherals plugged, capping your broadband speed, or maybe a “no more than 3 tabs” in your browser?

        How about adding functionalities from the bottom-up instead of crippling versions top-down?

        Microsoft is such a world of artificial limitations sometimes it’s scary..

          • ludi
          • 11 years ago

          The relevant data are the quantities of netbooks /[

            • poulpy
            • 11 years ago

            Interesting way to see things but unless this is a documented phenomenon (links?) I don’t see why one would assume that Netbooks sold with Linux would be wiped out for Windows.
            Some Windows geeks probably do it for cheap deal fair enough but I’d assume they’re by no mean a majority of the average netbook owner.

            Besides -the other way around- nobody has ever deducted from the Windows sales all the machines that were bulk sold with a copy of Windows and then wiped out for another OS.
            And I believe this over the years would represent a decent number of desktops/laptops/servers.

            What about linux based phones are users also flashing them? Users need usability and reliability in everyday usage, not Windows in particular.

      • TheEmrys
      • 11 years ago

      The only backlash will be coming from the people in the know. Not a large demographic and most are already playing with Linux anyway.

      • VaultDweller
      • 11 years ago

      People have been declaring that Microsoft’s actions will open the door for Linux for a decade.

      So far, the door seems to have stayed pretty tightly shut.

      I don’t see why this is a controversial revelation. Windows 7 Starter looked crippled when the editions were first announced. Have people forgotten how crippled it is in the mean time? Or are people surprised that MS will be hoping people pay to upgrade?

      If people want to rage about something, rage that Starter edition will be a piece of crap. The upgrade deal is expected, obvious, and the only sensible course of action Microsoft could take.

        • alsoRun
        • 11 years ago

        How about such headlines: Windows 7 only runs three programs.

          • VaultDweller
          • 11 years ago

          That Windows 7 Starter only runs three applications is certainly something worth a little backlash, although that headline today would be a little bit late on the draw.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This