According to what is being described as a ‘leak’, Microsoft has dropped their copy of Windows XP to OEM’s of netbook computers to under $15 a copy. The Redmond software giant is trying to undercut the use of Linux on the pint sized netbook computers that have become so popular. With netbooks selling for less than $300 and with profit margins becoming slim for the OEM’s, this strategy may be an attempt to wrestle control away from Linux. Some of the major OEM’s such as Dell feature Ubuntu on their low cost models.

Yesterday I received a update from Dell which was selling their popular mini 9 with Ubuntu for $279. A check of Dell’s web site showed the same mini 9 with Windows XP for just $20 more at $299 for the same unit. Which may or may not show that Microsoft has reduced their pricing of Windows XP. [Dell site is here]

But what about Windows 7? According to source Microsoft will only offer Windows 7 for netbooks with their starter edition of the operating system. The limitation of the started edition is that the user will only be allowed to open three applications at a time. For most of us this would hinder our ability to use the netbook to its full potential. 

However, PC makers like Acer are already expressing doubts about whether Windows 7 Starter will necessarily be popular. It officially only allows running 3 apps at once, and while it often allows multiple sessions of the same app (such as for Internet Explorer), Acer’s product marketing VP Sumit Agnihotry tells the Journal that it may be a ‘tough sell’ when the app limit is a downgrade from XP. Linux also doesn’t face the same restriction.

If this limitation does happen would you want a netbook with Windows 7? Or would you opt for one with Linux installed?

Comments welcome.