Microsoft Jacking Up Netbook Price For Windows

Dennis Faas's picture

Unconfirmed reports say Microsoft is charging manufacturers much more than expected for the netbook edition of Windows 7. The news comes as a major research analyst picks Google's Android operating system as having the potential to seriously challenge Windows on netbooks.

According to reports, Microsoft is quoting prices of $45 to $55 for netbook producers to license the Starter edition of Windows 7. That's almost double the price of the equivalent edition to XP.

Win7 Price Huge for Netbook OEMs

The price difference is significant for low-priced machine like netbooks. In some cases it would take the proportion of the retail price accounted for by Windows from 10 per cent to 20 per cent.

Indeed, the story reports that some netbook producers have concluded it would be impossible to pay the extra cash and still keep prices competitive; as such, some have decided to stick to XP and put off releasing Windows 7 models. (Source:

However, even if the story is accurate, it's possible Microsoft is testing the waters with the pricing and may reduce it before manufacturers need to make final decisions about whether to have models running Windows 7 in time for the system's official launch.

Android OS: a Contender

Meanwhile, Microsoft took a blow this week when research analysts Gartner told clients that Google's open source operating system (OS) Android could one day be a credible alternative to Windows in netbooks.

After testing laptops running Android on ARM processors (a rival to the Atom processor used in most Windows-based netbooks), Gartner noted that Android is not yet refined enough for mainstream use. However, the firm added that "When Android did work, we found that the user interface was very snappy on relatively low-performance ARM processors, more so than Windows 7 on Atom." (Source:

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