A recent survey run by consumer electronics site Retrevo suggests that consumers may be shying away from netbooks running Windows 7 Starter Edition, the lowliest of the many editions on Windows 7’s totem pole.
Retrevo’s survey asked 1,100 “users” if they were planning to buy a netbook this year. Of the 21% who responded “yes” a little over half said that they would be “unsatisfied” with a netbook running Windows 7 Starter, based on lack of features such as “Multi-monitor Support, Desktop Personalization, DVD Playback” and others.
First, I’ll point out why this survey might not be as big a deal as the Internet news mill is making it out to be: Most significantly, this survey is pretty unscientific, identifying the participants only as Retrevo.com “users” with no other data given about the sample or the margin of error. I contacted Retrevo for comment about this and will update you if I get a response.
It should also be said that DVD playback is not included in Windows XP without the use of third-party codecs, which I assume can just as easily be added to Windows 7 Starter.
Having leveled those criticisms, their main point stands – Windows 7 Starter Edition is just a little too neutered, not including Aero or something as simple as the ability to change the desktop wallpaper. I don’t think that Microsoft is trying to kill the netbook market, as the Retrevo piece suggests, but I do think that Microsoft is trying to have its cake and eat it too – offering a low-priced cut-rate edition of Windows to maintain its dominance over Linux in the netbook market, but removing just enough significant features that a large percentage of users will be tempted to cough up the $80 that it costs to do an in-place upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments section.