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Rumour: Intel told MS to limit Win 7 netbook specs

Rumour: Intel told MS to limit Win 7 netbook specs

According to rumours coming from Taiwan, Intel persuaded Microsoft to change the maximum specs for Windows 7 Starter Edition.

According to rumours coming from Taiwanese laptop manufacturers, Intel urged Microsoft to change its tune on the maximum eligible specs for machines running the cheap version of Windows 7.

Earlier today, we reported that Microsoft had decided to limit the maximum screen size for netbooks to 10.2 inches instead of the original 12.1in screen size proposed by Microsoft.

The anonymous sources, cited by Digitimes, say that Intel persuaded Microsoft to change its mind. They also said decision may have a negative impact on VIA’s push into the low-cost market, as the company doesn’t restrict vendors to a certain set of specifications.

Take Samsung’s NC20, for example, which sports a VIA Nano processor but would need a more expensive license from Microsoft because it has a 12.1in screen.

The newly announced Lenovo S12, which is based on Nvidia’s Ion platform, will also be affected by Microsoft’s change of heart – you could say it’s a second knee in the nether regions for Nvidia after Intel’s Atom pricing strategy came to light last week.

We’ve asked a number of questions of Intel in light of these rumours, but the company has not answered them before publication – the representative we spoke to was quick to push us in Microsoft’s direction though, saying that “it is a Microsoft issue” and that “[Intel was] unlikely to answer any questions on the matter.

It’s understandable how these rumours have come to light because Intel is desperately trying to prevent its Atom processors from further cannibalising the market for faster, more expensive laptops. However, it’s disappointing to see the progression towards more usable netbooks essentially extinguished in one fell swoop with Microsoft’s new licensing terms.

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28 Comments

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pimlicosound 26th May 2009, 17:28 Quote
"in one fell swoop"

Thank you for not using the erroneous "in one foul swoop". I had to correct Tech Radar on that today!
Sir Digby 26th May 2009, 17:32 Quote
I see Intel's learned from that fine :|
aron311 26th May 2009, 17:41 Quote
The EU should wack another £100mil on that fine quick!
alastor 26th May 2009, 17:45 Quote
Giving the consumer what they want? Never!
Boogle 26th May 2009, 17:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by alastor
Giving the consumer what they want? Never!

Nah they'll give you what you want, just charge you for the privilege!
DXR_13KE 26th May 2009, 17:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by alastor
Giving the consumer what they want? Never!

consumer? what consumer?
Pygo 26th May 2009, 17:55 Quote
This looks like an opening for.... you guessed it - LINUX!!
Hopefully the big software giant M$ does impose limits. Maybe ones that are too limiting. This I would actually like to see. Who really needs to use windows on a netbook anyhow? You can't really play games on them and the ones you can run better on linux anyways. And as far as office goes, there is openoffice and outlook replacements. As for the rest of the useability, it pretty much handles like a mac. And if you've got a decent GPU (like any netbook these days) you can probably run compiz fushion, which will make your experience even sexier than vista/win7 or even osx.

Yeah, yeah. I'm on an anti-microsoft crusade lately aren't I? I can't help it if linux is just better. More people just need to open up their eyes and give it a serious chance. The biggest set back is that linux is different and thus the old saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" tends to apply to people when it comes to software all too well.
oasked 26th May 2009, 18:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pygo
I can't help it if linux is just better.

:)

Yeah right. Maybe for some users, but not for most.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Digby
I see Intel's learned from that fine :|

Very true - I suppose we shouldn't be suprised at all.
amacieli 26th May 2009, 18:42 Quote
you can't teach an old dog new tricks" - problem with linux is that even new dogs have problems learning new tricks
TomH 26th May 2009, 18:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by oasked
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pygo
I can't help it if linux is just better.
Yeah right. Maybe for some users, but not for most.
Take gaming out of the equation and Ubuntu is a far more sensible choice for a netbook... And oh wait, it's a netbook - who's going to want to game on a 10" screen, with a cramped keypad/trackpad? I'll take a free OS any day of the week and particularly-so when it's as usable as Ubuntu is.
perplekks45 26th May 2009, 19:20 Quote
Explain again why Unix based notebooks aren't a lot cheaper than Windows based ones?

Anyways, I wouldn't put it past Intel to do something like this but I honestly think it's good to finally give netbooks a spec list as it just seemed that ASUS tried to merge the netbook and ultra-portable sector, don't even get me started on ultra-thin which in my eyes is nothing else than ultra-portable but thinner.
Turbotab 26th May 2009, 19:36 Quote
Talk about giving Linux a second bite of the cherry, the performance on the upcoming Pineview architecture is hardly going to be a massive leap over the current Atom, so the more resource hungry W7 is hardly going to feel like an upgrade over XP. To add insult to injury, a decent sized screen, mean forking out almost a 1/3 of the price of the hardware for an OS. I personally can't wait for the rumoured Via / Ion netbooks.
perplekks45 26th May 2009, 19:50 Quote
Have you experienced Win7 on low-spec notebooks Turbo? It feels as good/smooth/responsive/snappy as XP to most people including me and a couple of other people here.
It feels like an upgrade because it's newer and runs at least as good as the old one if not better.
Turbotab 26th May 2009, 19:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
Have you experienced Win7 on low-spec notebooks Turbo? It feels as good/smooth/responsive/snappy as XP to most people including me and a couple of other people here.
It feels like an upgrade because it's newer and runs at least as good as the old one if not better.

Depends, if you call a P4 2.8 GHz (HT) laptop low-spec then yes, but my point was that for 10 + inch screens, you will have to pay for a full-sized version of W7, and if the rumoured price increases over Vista are true, then the value of a Windows netbook will be negatively impacted.
perplekks45 26th May 2009, 20:14 Quote
True, but in my opinion having Atom in a 12+ inch ultra-portable [they're not netbooks anymore, at least not for me, and I just got joined by MS and Intel ;)] is a bit weird anyways. Atom was initially not even thought to be used in sub-notebooks/netbooks and now it's entering this market? No thanks, I'd rather go C2D there.
HourBeforeDawn 26th May 2009, 20:18 Quote
ya I have Win7 on my 1000he and its awesome, very smooth, great response, the wifi is awesome, overall a great OS for a netbook, I would say its better then XP
Psy-UK 26th May 2009, 20:21 Quote
Goddamit MS, let people install Windows 7 on whatever the hell they want.
alpaca 26th May 2009, 20:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psy-UK
Goddamit MS, let people install Windows 7 on whatever the hell they want.

they do, but you'll have to pay for it
Turbotab 26th May 2009, 20:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
True, but in my opinion having Atom in a 12+ inch ultra-portable [they're not netbooks anymore, at least not for me, and I just got joined by MS and Intel ;)] is a bit weird anyways. Atom was initially not even thought to be used in sub-notebooks/netbooks and now it's entering this market? No thanks, I'd rather go C2D there.

It's a good point, originally netbooks were meant as an adjunct to a 'real' laptop, but many people have realised that they don't need the power of a full sized lappy, and thus buy netbooks as their main portable machine, hence the desire for larger screens.

In the meantime, Intel have a OMG moment and realise that the wee Atom could start seriously cramping its big brother's sales. I do think that a large proportion of people are wrongly sold netbooks, instead of a cheap C2D lappy, unless you need a portable pc on a daily basis, a netbook is the wrong choice as a sole machine, in fact a smartphone would better suit most people's need for e-mail and web access on the go.
DarkLord7854 26th May 2009, 20:52 Quote
I'm getting seriously sick and tired of Intel lately.. -.-
perplekks45 26th May 2009, 22:53 Quote
What suits people and what they buy is often very different, Turbo. We all know that, don't we?

I agree that most people don't need the beef of a C2D just to check their mails, browse the interwebs or watch the rare YT video [HD on anything that can't even display HD is a no-go anyways] and that's why I think it's quite good to draw a line to make netbooks easily recognizable for the average consumer.
Win7 SE = netbook, Win7 Home Basic/Premium = [sub-]notebook
In the end I guess it's very much a question of personal preference as so many things nowadays are.
This is, after all, "just" my opinion and I won't try to persuade anyone into thinking my way though I invite everyone. ;)
pendragon 26th May 2009, 23:12 Quote
I agree with perplekks45 .. this move makes sense to me
hodgy100 26th May 2009, 23:45 Quote
Win 7 runs like Cheesecake on my samsung nc-10 even though it only has 1GB of RAM!
I'm loving it to be honest, and imposing a limit is only going to hurt the market. what's with the 1GB ram limit????
perplekks45 27th May 2009, 02:14 Quote
Well, if you have more than 1GB you have to run Win7 Home instead of SE that's all. If that's a wise decision only time will tell. But judging by what I've seen so far Win7 runs great on 512MB so I really hope SE will fly on 1GB. :)
Evildead666 27th May 2009, 15:27 Quote
I didn't buy an Atom based lappy due to the Atoms 'castratedness'......
They deliberately brought out a low power (in all senses of the word) and expect us to eat it up.

I got me a Turion x2, with 780G chipset....

Would have bought a Sony P-series, if only it had a better chipset and a CULV....the size was perfect for me...and an HDMI out.
My Lappy currently replaces my MAIN machines desktop, so I can use Web, watch films, even BluRays, and output that via analogue to my AMP in 5.1. (need an external Asus sound card for that, currently stuck with stereo).
That way i'm not using an OC quad for surfing the web and watching southpark... ;)

people want netbooks for just that, many people just want to surf web, email, and maybe do Skype...
I know my parents would probably be better off with one or two netbooks than their great big PC...
Evildead666 27th May 2009, 15:36 Quote
I forgot to mention they are old and would need a 14" screen or larger....hence the a$$ of limiting them to 10"....
StevieC 29th June 2009, 15:09 Quote
This is a blatant attempt to sabotage Intel's competitors, AMD and VIA. The Samsung NC20 is a 12.1 inch screen netbook. This is every bit as hideous as when Microsoft announced that they were forbidding netbooks from using hybrid hard drives on Netbooks running Windows 7. How does it benefit the consumer to BAN what they're begging for?
perplekks45 30th June 2009, 00:21 Quote
12in is ultraportable, NOT NETBOOK! FFS!
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