By extending the availability of Windows XP until October 2010, it admits that Windows 7 on a netbook doesn’t really cut the mustard, and at the same time that the company has nothing to replace XP for that platform yet. It means that the lowliest version of Windows 7 is not a winner, and still gets beaten by Windows XP. ( Of course, they also want to take a huge swipe at Linux, all flavors – the availability of XP at bargain basement prices is going to make many think twice about ordering a netbook with any Linux distribution on it).

from PC World (one of the few times lately that they have a reason to read)

Windows XP Will Still Be Available After Windows 7 Release

Microsoft plans to continue offering Windows XP for netbooks after the release of its next-generation operating system, Windows 7.

“OEMs that are using Windows XP on netbooks will have the ability to install Windows XP for one year — 12 months — after Windows 7 general availability,” said Mike Nash, corporate vice president of the Windows product management group at Microsoft, during a conference call with reporters.

In the same announcement, we are told about the lack of a good replacement for Windows XP,  and the proximal date of the Gold release of Windows 7.

The continued availability of Windows XP during a transition period after Windows 7’s release will reassure users who have avoided upgrading to Windows Vista and may be wary of the new operating system.

Nash declined to say when Windows 7 will be commercially available, despite the fact that Microsoft is making the final beta version — called a release candidate (RC) — available to testers today. The distribution of the RC is one of the last steps before the Windows 7 code is locked down and sent off to manufacturers ahead of its commercial release.

The reluctance to nail down a release date is understandable. The PC market is in a fragile state, with shipments much lower than last year. Preannouncing the release date of Windows 7 could convince some users to delay buying new computers, further depressing the market for computers.

But for the slower ones, that announcement was cleverly massaged into the paragraph above.

What impact Windows 7 will have on netbook pricing isn’t clear. Nash declined to comment on Windows 7 pricing, even in relative terms. But he said users of netbooks and other computers will like what they see when the new operating system is released, particularly those users who’ve been using Windows Vista.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a version of Windows that will actually run better [than the previous version] on the hardware that most customers have,” Nash said.

Yes, very long – as in never. This is a first. Who knew?

Still, it isn’t snappy enough to do a good job with netbooks. I wonder why. The fanboys all shout from the rooftops that it is, but most all concede it is not really suited. My guess is that Windows 7 is playing games with the way it shuts down – perhaps unloading in a sequential pattern deliberately made to make the next start up very fast, as in one long linear read from the drive. Perhaps the netbooks don’t usually have the space to do this sort of thing.

Just a guess, but I’m thinking that something will come to light.

It might be interesting to see what comes next for notebooks – I doubt that October 2010 will come along and Microsoft will simply say it’s time to run Starter Edition of 7.

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