Windows 7 Means Netbook Cost Increase

Posted: Aug 2 2009, 12:20pm CDT | by , Updated: Aug 11 2010, 3:36pm CDT, in Technology News


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The whole reason netbooks are attractive to customers is because they are low-cost, quick-booting, portable computers with good battery life. The 'low-cost' part is crucial, because it's what has allowed so many people without the money for a new desktop or notebook to pick up netbooks. Unfortunately, that benefit of the platform may soon be fading away, leaving us with another example of why you should never trust Microsoft.

When netbooks first rushed onto the scene, many of them were Linux driven machines. The low cost and popularity of these computers grabbed Microsoft's attention and got them to throw their hat into the ring. Since Vista is too much of a resource hog for the average netbook to handle, Microsoft licensed XP for a very low price. This didn't make them much money, but it did give them the bulk of netbook market share.

Now Windows 7 is due to release this fall on a bevy of netbooks, all of which will be higher-priced machines than the ones we're used to. Microsoft is going to charge manufacturers a hell of a lot more to license Win 7, and that's going to drive prices up across the board. During Ballmer's latest talk he even promised to “readjust those prices north”.

There's still a hope for the netbook market, and its name is Google Chrome. It looks like manufacturers are backing away from Android as a netbook OS, and no Linux distro is ever going to be popular enough to draw a substantial amount of customers away from Win 7 products. But Google's Chrome might have the name recognition and ease of use to pull that off. Since it's open source, any netbooks made using the browser-based OS will be cheaper than their Windows counterparts. The only question is, will Chrome arrive in time to stop the price inflation?

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