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Microsoft Limits Capabilities of Low Cost PCs

In hopes of fostering adoption of Windows over its Linux competitor, Microsoft will offer steep discounts of Windows XP Home Edition for ULPC desktops and notebooks like the Asus Eee PC or OLPC. The new program ask manufacturers that screen sizes on notebooks be smaller than 10.2 inches, touch screen not be used, hard drives should be under 80 GB, contain less than 1 GB of memory, and a single-core processor that clocks less than 1 GHz. The program has provided exception for pre-determined chips like Intel’s Atom and Via Technologies’ C7-M processors.

Microsoft’s goal is to limit hardware capabilities of upcoming generations of ULPCs so they do not reduce the demand for modern PCs with capable hardware. The limitations allow “PC makers to offer low-cost alternative, and it prevents eroding of pricing and margins in the mainstream OS market,” said analyst Roger Kay, EndPoint Technologies Associates president.

Microsoft’s program is expected to launch in June. Prices will reflect the market or country’s wealth. First world countries will get Windows XP Home Edition at $32, while developing markets such as China or India will only pay $26.

The surprising success of the Eee PC has forced many OEMs to quickly produce its own ULPC. HP recently launched its Via based Mini-Note, hoping to cash in on the growing market. Over twenty new designs of ULPCs are expected to launch later this year.

Microsoft had earlier announced its plans to stop selling Windows XP to OEMs after June 30, but ULPC has been noted as the exception.

The reduction seems more like an attempt at making Windows XP ULPCs less attractive than say, a more recent ULPC unit that would ship with Windows Vista.

  • That's a joke!!! Why would anyone want a crippled bastardized computer from the get go instead of a faster computer (same size) that happens to run linux!!!!
    Reply
  • There are more compelling reasons to buy computers without MS XP, than benefits.
    MS should be afraid, as more base more apps, more apps more base . . .
    For manufacturer though, Linux allows them more latitude to support new ideas in hardware, Commodification of PC or innovation.
    Reply
  • this is complete BS, Microsoft is basically saving the OEM's by creating software that takes tons of resources to run, the articles states that Microsoft's goals it to 'maintain margins,' I thought the goal was to make SUSTAINABLE software solutions... Microsoft is using its strength to push consumers into two paths - (1) buying a computer that is crippled and runs XP, realizing its crippled and then buying a stronger Linux (or Maybe Vista) based ULPC (2) buy a much more expensive and still limited Vista ULPC because of fear of falling into path 1.... I really don't want to hate Microsoft, but come on, so ridiculous, instead of extending limitations on XP, make a better capable MINI VISTA
    Reply
  • Orville
    For retail USA customers buying this low priced XP, what will Microsoft charge per incident for technical support once the "Free Support period of 90 days is past". Could it be that each and every incident will cost us $65 just like the old XP and Vista do? Microsoft's hidden "Bait and Screw You" Indian goldmine!
    Reply
  • Orville
    For retail USA customers buying this low priced XP, what will Microsoft charge per incident for technical support once the "Free Support period of 90 days is past". Could it be that each and every incident will cost us $65 just like the old XP and Vista do? Microsoft's hidden "Bait and Screw You" Indian goldmine!
    Reply