PC Pro is reporting that Microsoft's decision to limit the number of concurrent applications that you can run on Windows 7 Starter Edition to three will push up the prices of Windows-based netbooks.
The company announced last week that it was launching Windows 7 Starter Edition as a low-cost option designed specifically for netbooks.
However, the company's decision to impose a three-app limit could force many manufacturers to opt for the more expensive Home Premium.
The three-app rule includes applications running in the background, meaning that a user running Windows Messenger and Skype, for example, could only use one further application on their machine. Antivirus software is excluded from the app count.
Microsoft says the restriction is designed to ensure that users get the best possible performance from limited netbook hardware. However, it admits it will encourage netbook manufacturers to install the unrestricted Home Premium in the UK.
How will this affect users? Well, according to Laurence Painell, Windows product manager, this won't affect users that much:
"We would expect the limit of three applications wouldn't affect very many people."
But this goes contrary to what journalists were told at last year's Professional Developers Conference. Then Microsoft claimed that 70% of Windows users have between eight and 15 windows open at any one time. According to Painell those numbers are skewed by enterprise and business users.
A netbook shipping with an OS that contains an artificially-imposed three app limit would be a deal-breaker for me. Those Atom processors are very capable pieces of silicon and to have them neutered by the OS doesn't make sense.
Starter ... Non-Starter if you ask me.