Intel, Microsoft limit netbooks sizes for Win7 – again


It’s happened again. As we reported in January, Intel and Microsoft have been limiting the size and software on netbooks for fear of cannibalizing their current larger laptop markets as well as showing poor performance due to battery and processor size. We wrote:

Intel offers “guidelines” on how big a netbook can be and still run an Atom chip. The maximum seems to be 10 inches, small enough to look like a netbook. Because these low-powered chips disappoint so many buyers – think MacBook Air – putting them into anything that resembles a real laptop is tantamount to admitting that the chip isn’t powerful enough to handle regular work. Hence the moniker “netbook” and the consistently diminutive names like “nano” and “atom.”

Well, the same holds true for Win7. Digitimes is reporting that MS and Intel have reduced the upper screen-size limit for netbooks to 10.2 inches, doing two things: forcing Atom hardware to run on machines that “seem” less powerful due to their size and increasing the price of Win7 licenses for the lucrative 11-13 inch netbook market.

Digitimes notes that this puts VIA in a pickle. As makers of 11+ inch netbooks, they would now have to pay the full Win7 license on what used to be considered to fall to the lower-priced licensing rate.