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Windows 8 pricing to "kill netbooks"

Generic netbook

By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 31 May 2012 at 00:01

Windows 8 pricing will be the final nail in the coffin of netbooks, a leading PC manufacturer has told PC Pro.

The next version of Microsoft's OS has been cut down to only two versions - the standard Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro - as well as versions for ARM and enterprise.

That lack of a Starter version, such as the cut down Windows 7 edition offered on netbooks, could add $100 to the cost of the cheap and cheerful laptops, an executive at a major PC maker told PC Pro.

The executive added that the company would like to continue making netbooks, but that would no longer be feasible in a declining market that has been savaged by the emergence of tablets.

Netbook sales have fallen dramatically over the past two years, with Dell halting sales to consumers last December, and many other manufacturers failing to refresh their netbook ranges. When netbooks first arrived, manufacturers released versions running Linux OSes, but failed to grab significant market share.

Microsoft said it wouldn't comment on rumour or speculation.

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User comments


Have these people not heard of Ubuntu which is perfect for Netbooks? Or even Lubuntu?

By jclegg on 31 May 2012

Greedy & obstructive

MS. does it again. They killed of netbooks in the first place by scare mongering about the original cheap Linux Netbooks. This time round they will have a go at Android Linux which has taken over the mobile market and they are not in it. Why do companies not get size to their marketing hype.

By Cushie5 on 31 May 2012

Windows 8 is committing suicide

Far from killing off anything, it seems to me that Windows 8 is committing suicide. Who is going to buy it certainly not me. It seems to me that Microsoft had gone mad.

By MikeHitchcock on 31 May 2012

Windpws 8? No thanks

That Win 8 comes in only 2 versions probably won't matter a lot, as from what I've seen of it, it's abysmal.

I wouldn't even contemplate upgrading from 7 even if they had a free version.

Must be honest, though, and say I prefer my Android tablet to my Win7 netbook, with which I can't get on at all.

By rongraves on 31 May 2012

ChromeBook, anyone?

Windows is not the only OS.

Ubuntu, Xubuntu and other versions of Linux are excellent netbook choices.

Then there's Google's ChromeBook platform with a choice of hardware from the likes of Samsung and Acer.

Who needs Windows?

By blueleaf on 31 May 2012

Windows are too greedy!

When will they learn? I agree with everyone else re Linux or Ubuntu. Having just changed my OS to Ubuntu on my ancient Dell laptop. It works fantastic as an OS and has given my old crawling P4 a new lease of life!

Go CC manufacturers. Its the only way! Damn Windows and Bill Gates for just being greedy. You'd think it was time to give something back to the consumer?

By colincallan1 on 31 May 2012

I'm sorry but,

Linux on Netbooks! It was tried it Failed spectacularly get over it. 99% of the people that wanted Netbooks didnt want Ubuntu on them thats why they were dropped like a hot rock.

Running Windows 8 instead of Windows 7 Basic requires nothing more nowadays than an extra 1GB of RAM which at cost price is probably well under £4 so really thats a poor reason too, I'm sure if Dell, HP wanted to negotiate a netbook license fee with MS they would come to a deal (as befor with XP) which would probably add £10 over Win 7.

So, add that together and at most the Retail cost would rise by around £30.

The reason noone is making Netbooks is simply because everyone that bought them hated them (pretty much)because they were mis-marketed as a cheep laptop instead of what they were (a portable soloution)

By JStairmand on 31 May 2012

The only reasons I still use Windows is for silverlight (DRM for streaming movies from lovefilm), Overdrive (DRM for audio books) and Adobe Digital editions (DRM for ebooks (I know this works with WINE but it won't recognise my ereader)). Can anyone else think of a good reason to use Windows?

By JamesD29 on 31 May 2012

What ARE Microsoft doing?

So, W8 is a pain for desktops or higher-end laptops because of the interface, and unsuitable for netbooks because of the price. Yet otherwise its lean nature makes it ideal for laptops. What IS it for - do they REALLY think everybody wants a tablet?

I do hope this crazy decision will revive Ubuntu, but I think that needs much more software that catches the eye of Joe Public and the business community, very conservative markets that are unduly influenced by inertia, advertising and what-everybody-I-know-does.

A Classic Interface option plus a Basic Version of W8 would easily resolve the hostility it is receiving.

By Walsallian on 31 May 2012


Surely adding a touch screen to a netbook is going to increase it's price regardless of the OS that is chosen to run on it.

By synaptic_fire on 31 May 2012

Netbook still a useful format

W8 pricing might kill 10" net books, but if you want a keyboard and decent copy of Windows then an 11" netbook fits the bill. So I have one of these and a Kindle.

Besides MS will OEM price W8 so that makers will put it in Netbooks.

By Mark_Clayton on 31 May 2012

Yay - lots of ammo for those who dislike MS or Change or Both

I've used windows 8, on a laptop, no touchscreen and, erm, what's the problem?

Ok, I will admit to understanding use of the windows key (or Ctrl-Esc) to bring up the menu (which I've been doing since before there was a windows key on my keyboard.

I will admit that I've been using the "type to find" method of launching apps since Vista e.g. Ctrl-Esc... er, sorry, Win then e x c e l then enter works really well...

But for the rest? Its a really not hard to navigate, once I get properly organised the live tiles will be great. Visual Studio? Works. Alt-Tab? Works. Flipping through metrofied apps using the mouse? No problem.

As for netbooks... what they did was drag the price of a laptop down to a much lowere point.

The interesting questions are really all around ARM based tablets - price/performance/battery life...

By Murph on 31 May 2012

Amazed a few of the comments above that slam Windows 8 while not actually providing any valid 'reason' as to why they dislike the OS! It's not as if they've changed things dramatically and I for one appreciate the changes for what they offer.

At times i think that the 'marketing' departments of certain companies are working overtime to push Windows 8 down. Think about it

By rhythm on 31 May 2012

Wishful Thinking

MS only think in terms of cash cows. When austerity is likely for the future people and organizations seek 'Open-Source Salvation' and downsize to Linux.
MS can only afford to support a few platforms and thus choose the Tablet (which you cant touch-type on but hope to speak to in future).
MS has had its day calling the shots & trashing others.

By william88 on 31 May 2012

Ubuntu, perfect?

Ubuntu, or any other flavour of linux may be perfect for netbooks however it is far from perfect for the vast majority of netbook users. They want Windows because they know Windows and can get help with Windows. Linux is the preserve of the few who can do more than click on a button and it works.

A classic inteface and a basic version of Win8. I think its called Windows 7 Starter. The lack of a starter version for netbooks is going to be the least of Microsofts problems for Win8. Only the nerd driven corporate market is going to look at it. The vast majority of that market will leave it well alone much as they did with Vista. Touch interface on a desktop just DOES NOT WORK! There, can we say it any louder!

By MIssingLink on 31 May 2012

Ignorance on Linux

It is obvious that many people are lazy & unaware of Linux and need to get out more in the world, especially overseas. Linux is not the preserve of the few - However Wisdom is.
Where ignorance is bliss it is folly to be wise.
Apparently 75% people don't know how to check the oil in a car. God knows what they know about computing...or for that matter ENLIGHTENMENT to save you soul.

By william88 on 31 May 2012

So bad to how it was

Netbooks started as Linux and did quite well. Now people will go back to Linus proper or Android ICS.
So it goes.

By pheasnt on 31 May 2012


Ignorance *of* Linux surely does not need repeating three times? *

But if Windows 8 closes the blind alley that is the netbook, it will have done a great service to mankind.

* Yes, I know, it's the cr@ppy PC Pro software, unfixed over several years.

By JohnGray7581 on 31 May 2012

What is it about Netbook's?

I always find it strange to witness the bile that comes forth when the word Netbook is mentioned. I can only think that most people's experiences of Netbooks happened in the early days when they mainly ran a crappy version of Linux and were woefully underpowered. My Samsung NC10 was on the PC Pro A -list for a while and has been great this last 3 years. I've used it for all sorts of tasks including running Visual Studio! Not the fastest laptop I've ever owned but it always punched way above its low (at the time) £300 purchase price. And frankly, if I had to choose between an Ipad or a decent Netbook to take on a trip, then for me its Netbook evertime because I can get more REAL work done with a proper keyboard and mouse. As for Windows 8 killing Netbooks, we'll see. Whilst they are no longer the hot property they were, there is still a market for small cheap mini laptops - actually if I was buying one now I'd ideally want a 12" screen, multi core cpu and the same long battery life and I'd happily pay £400.

By rjp2000 on 31 May 2012

Gives opertunity to sell netbooks without any software

Why not supply netbooks with any OS or software and let the customer install his own choice. Just make system open to all OS's that can use the hardware. I believe they would sell even more netbooks as then they could actually reduce price by the same amount they claim win 8 would increase price.

By curiousclive on 31 May 2012

Correction to last post

Meant to say supply netbooks without any OS or software.

By curiousclive on 31 May 2012

Windows 7 may become the next XP home...

If MS are going to fail to produce a Windows 8 version that will work for netbooks, the we might see a repeat of the situation where netbook users ended up using XP Home - only this time with Windows 7 Starter. And that may not be an ideal situation if you run a small company and are trying to minimise hassle.

Having said that, I'm a netbook user and a real fan. In the office I have a desktop, but if I am on the road, a low cost netbook (still using XP home) actually works well for me. True, I don't have fancy programs on it - Office 2003, Coffee Cup, a few legacy things too (including something in DOS) - but it works. And it boots up about 75% faster than the office machine, too.

By ianbyrne on 31 May 2012


Because most of the people that buy Netbooks wouldnt have a clue how to install Windows/Linux, Drivers etc themselves.

For most people having a barebones type system would be a very scary idea.

By JStairmand on 31 May 2012

Netbook vs iPad

Have to say my wife's Samsung netbook hardly gets switched on whilst the iPad is used daily. Netbooks are just too underpowered, and fiddly. Newer form factors with tablet/keyboard hybrids will surely replace them.

By AdamD6 on 31 May 2012

Why so emotive?

OK, surely nowadays we all access the internet in different ways. I have a main PC which runs Windows 7; I am sitting watching the news on television whist reading the news and typing this on an Acer Aspire One Netbook which has run Linpus Linux; Windows XP; Windows 7 and various other flavours of Linux. It is currently running Ubuntu 12.04 and is a fast, responsive machine. Ubuntu just works and needed no more techie input to et working than Windows.

I now watch the BBC iplayer on a Raspberry Pi running OpenElec and XBMC and I use an Android Phone (HTC Desire) for Twitter etc.

Surely the time has come to stop arguing about what is best. I like a netbook on my lap better than a tablet, I prefer Ubuntu because it is fast on a cheap (£200) device (this is less than I paid for my phone!) But I may one day buy a tablet as well...

We can use all of these computing devices nowadays, we can use Linux, Android, iOS, Windows 7, Windows 8. It is not one or the other, they can coexist - horses for courses.

By neil_aky on 5 Jul 2012

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