Microsoft announced their SKU line-up for Windows 7 (Geekzone has a good overview here)and the reaction has been mixed. One of the six SKUs announced is the Starter Edition.
The Starter Edition will only be offered via OEMs, will be limited to three concurrent applications and will be limited to certain types of hardware.
This has met with quite a bit of negative opinion – like this from atmaspheric|endevors.
And the worst thing I’ve read yet on the topic is that Netbooks will get something called Starter Edition which limits you to 3 concurrent applications - who the hell wants that?
I don’t see this as a bad thing at all. OK – there is going to be a SKU that is the same platform, but a bit limited. In order for an OEM to license this SKU there hardware will have to meet certain specs.
That is not to say that every netbook will run Starter. I believe that the units that are running Starter will not be out there to compete against the units running other SKUs of Windows . They will be competing against the Nokia internet tablets. They will compete against the bottom of the eee range. They will open up that lower end market where the Windows license itself prices the unit out of the market. It will be great to have devices at the bottom end of the market that can run Windows apps.
If you want a fully functional companion device – buy a netbook with Home Premium on it. If you want a glorified media centre remote, a device to browse feeds on in the lounge or look at recipes in the kitchen or a media device for your train commute then a Starter Edition device might be just the trick.
The Starter Edition SKU could open up a whole new range of low priced devices that could be very interesting indeed. At any rate it is far too early to get upset about netbooks being knobbled by Microsoft. Wait and see.