Intel blogger casts doubts on Windows 7 netbook pricing, SSDs

Windows 7 would make netbooks too expensive and put pressure on storage, Intel blogger Josh Bancroft has said.

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Windows 7 would make netbooks too expensive and put pressure on storage, Intel blogger Josh Bancroft has said.

Bancroft wrote Windows 7 "runs great on netbooks", but he foresees several serious problems with pricing and storage, according to a blog entry posted on an Intel website Tuesday.

Bancroft said Microsoft's margins on XP netbooks are not strong, and the company will feel pressure to increase revenue from Windows 7 netbooks - a move that he suggests could lead to netbooks that are too expensive. Bancroft also expressed doubt that netbooks with small solid state disks (also known as flash drives) would be able to handle Windows 7.

Bancroft works as a community builder for the Intel Software Network, an online developer community run by the giant chip manufacturer. His opinions, he told the Industry Standard, do not represent Intel's official position on netbooks or Windows 7.

"I've been running the public beta on my Eee PC 1000H," Bancroft explains, "and it's terrific. Just as fast and usable as XP (still my preferred OS for netbooks)."

But he worries that licensing it will cost too much. "No one but Microsoft knows how much it will charge for the various versions of Windows 7," he admits, although he suspects it will be considerably more than the small licensing fee the company charges to put Windows XP on a netbook. "And adding, say, [US]$100 to the cost of a $400 netbook just to pay for Windows 7 is going to be a tough proposition all around."

Microsoft announced six Windows 7 SKUs this week, without clearly defining which would be the best choice for netbooks. Bancroft references a Liliputing blog post suggesting that price issues will drive netbook manufacturers to include the severely crippled Starter edition, which can only run three applications at a time. But in his post, Bancroft states that he "wouldn't want to run anything less than the Home Premium version."

Bancroft is also concerned with the amount of storage Windows 7 may eventually require. A 6GB operating system means nothing on the 200GB hard drive of a conventional laptop, but "some netbooks are equipped with SSDs that only offer a paltry 4, 8, or 16GB of space, total."

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