Feeds

Memo to Microsoft: Enough with the SKUed Windows

Windows 7 netbook plus for all

The essential guide to IT transformation

Windows 7 for netbooks?

Reports on Thursday surfaced that Microsoft is planning a version of the forthcoming Windows 7 for netbooks. The company squashed these reports, saying it's not yet ready to discuss packaging and version plans for Windows 7 other than to confirm Windows 7 "will run on netbooks."

That Windows 7 is being built to run on netbooks should come as little surprise to anyone paying attention during Microsoft's Professional Developers' Conference (PDC) last year. Microsoft said it's speeding performance, improving battery life, and boosting start times precisely so Windows 7 can run on netbooks, which have a smaller footprint than a regular PC.

Microsoft, though, should take the arrival of a new version of Windows to resist its past practices of market segmentation. Less SKUs would help Microsoft, customers and OEMs. It'll help customers who get the chance to get all the features without feeling like they are being bilked. It'll also make the purchasing choice easier when it comes to deciding between different PCs based on the version of Windows they are running - should they even be looking at this.

Fewer SKUs will help OEMS know which operating system to pick for clearly defined markets. They can then market and sell these machines, without trampling other lines of PCs. This would feed down into the channel too.

For Microsoft, fewer SKUs will help control development and marketing expenses on different SKUs in an era when, by its own admission, it's looking for ways to cut costs.

Now, when people get on this topic, the example of Apple and its single operating system are frequently cited as the way to go.

All Windows users could certainly benefit from the efficiencies and streamlining of a Windows 7 for netbooks. But a single SKU? Microsoft and Windows serve different and bigger markets than Apple and OS X. They are supported by an ecosystem of hundreds of thousands of business and consumer applications with different business and leisure needs.

It would make more sense for Microsoft to embrace the simplicity of Apple by reducing its SKUs - but rather than a single version have two: one for consumers and one for businesses. The foundation should be the streamlined Windows 7 netbook design, and it should have features such as simpler networking and being the "best choice for laptops" everyone needs.

Above that foundation, though, Microsoft should differentiate with, say, the ability to burn DVDs and create high-definition movies for the consumer version while businesses get remote access and back up and protection against hardware failure.

But with talk of at least five Windows 7 SKUs coming and rumors of the netbook edition in the air, it seems this is unlikely to happen. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?