Rumour: Intel told MS to limit Win 7 netbook specs

Written by Tim Smalley

May 26, 2009 // 5:21 p.m.

Tags: #7 #atom #edition #intel #microsoft #netbook #pressure #specification #specs #starter #win-7 #windows

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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