Microsoft never willingly gives up market share.
Last week we ran a story on how older Intel Atom-based netbooks may not be getting OEM-upgraded to Windows 7 due to cost issues.
The bigger issue at hand rather than which old netbooks will get Windows 7 is which new netbooks will get the OS.
A Windows XP license for netbooks currently costs OEMs around $25 to $30, (of which Microsoft makes a profit of $15). But according to Digitimes, Microsoft is asking $45 to $55 for the cheapest Windows 7 license, presumably Starter Edition, which will drive prices up in an already very price-sensitive segment and time in the economy.
Many media outlets took the above pricing estimates – which haven’t been confirmed by Microsoft – and are running stories that Windows 7 would be priced out of reach for budget netbooks. While it’s plausible that Microsoft will be charging more for Windows 7 licenses than it does currently for Windows XP, it’s unlikely that the world’s largest software maker would purposely bump itself out of every market. After all, is there any market that Microsoft isn’t interested in tapping into?
Furthermore, Microsoft has boasted on multiple occasions about how Windows now holds a 98 percent share of netbooks sold today. The netbook market started off with one that was dominated by Linux-based OSes, but Microsoft quickly took over in the span of a year. Microsoft simply isn’t going to let go of that market share, especially not in netbooks, the fastest growing the PC segment of 2008.
We’re going one-on-one with Microsoft on Wednesday morning to get a better understanding of the company’s strategy on netbooks and Windows. If there are any burning questions that you have on those topics, please let us know in the comments below and we’ll try to address them tomorrow.