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The offensive Microsoft anti-Linux netbook offensive

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Microsoft

The netbook explosion proved that these days the killer app is mobility, portability and frankly just plain being online anywhere.

Linux had the edge; after all, netbooks were cheap. Sure, not so cheap you’d find them in the impulse purchase shelves at supermarkets while waiting in line at the checkouts but certainly cheap enough that you could justify buying one without too much effort and with little buyer’s remorse later on.

Netbooks were cost-effective enough that they put computing power into the hands of students, the elderly and others who might not otherwise obtain a laptop or desktop computer.

To keep the price down manufacturers obviously used hardware components that were far from the bleeding edge and they used software that added nothing to the total cost. Linux was a natural choice; its zero dollar licensing was a natural fit for netbooks.

Microsoft wasn’t so happy with this situation and made a dramatic u-turn.

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Also: When netbooks first came along, they almost all ran Linux. Microsoft, which was stuck with the resource pig known as Windows Vista, simply couldn't compete. So, reluctantly, Microsoft gave Windows XP Home a new lease on life and sold it below cost to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to kill the Linux desktop at the root. For this cost, Microsoft was successful, but now Microsoft is about to blow it by replacing XP Home with Windows 7 Starter Edition, which is crippleware by any other name.

Microsoft has been selling crippleware, software that's deliberately had features removed, for some time. This is why Microsoft has been claiming that Windows 7 will run just great on netbooks. Except, now they're not. Now, Microsoft is telling us that instead of full-strength Windows 7, you'll be getting Windows 7 Starter Edition instead.

Will Microsoft blow its netbook lead with Windows 7 crippleware?

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