Bonum Certa Men Certa

Does Microsoft Hijack the Term “Netbook”?

"If thought can corrupt language, then language can also corrupt thought."

--George Orwell



Summary: Reasonable suspicion that FUD against ARM (with GNU/Linux only) has already begun

MICROSOFT, WHICH DESCRIBES ITSELF AS A SOFTWARE COMPANY, SEEMS determined to decide what constitutes -- in terms of hardware -- a netbook. We began a discussion about it a few days ago and now we find the Microsoft press reinforcing the same notion that computers running ARM microchips are not computers and not even netbooks -- that they are just smartphones of a new form.



In the mean time, Microsoft imposes spec/cost rules on all sorts of netbooks, the latest example being this one:

Microsoft bans XP on hybrid storage netbooks



Microsoft is barring netbook manufacturers from utilizing hybrid storage solutions. Miniature notebooks housing both SSD and HDDs will not be permitted to use Windows XP, reports bit-tech. Redmond’s latest restriction will join the already enforced rule which limits netbook manufacturers to a maximum of 1GB RAM – that is, if they want to install Windows XP.


Look what Microsoft is doing to sub-notebooks. It's artificial limitation, just like DRM in Vista or even kill switches (WGA). Maybe that's why they call it EEE PC. Embrace, extend and extinguish (EEE). It can neither be cheap nor powerful anymore, as Microsoft won't permit this. Intel allegedly plays a role too.

Microsoft will never be able to stop MIPS netbooks/notebooks. Yes, notebooks. ARM is able to run full-scale computers, but Microsoft would rather badmouth it, making it seem comparable (capacity-wise) to phones where ARM already rules the roost. ARM can hardly ever cope with Vista or Vista 7, but GNU/Linux is not a one-size-fits-all system.

A reader of ours, who is a veteran in this field, contributed some thoughts about MIPS-based netbooks:

This looks like it could be very interesting news. It's a MIPS-based netbook:

http://www.osnews.com/story/2... http://broadcast.oreilly.com/2... http://cinnamonpirate.com/2009/...

Two possible vendors: http://www.tekmote.n... https://kd85.com/lemote.html

I've been wanting a solid-state, ARM-based netbook since around 2001 but it looks like that's still over the horizon. I've looked into getting a sparc-based notebook, but Tadpole got bought up by GD which seems hell-bent on preventing sales. Not to mention also that the price for the Tadpoles are high, though probably worth it. MIPS is a good archecture.

Wintel has been a problem for years. Before M$ cracked down on Asus and the others, Linux-based netbooks were all over the place.

****ARM and MIPS can run only modern software.***** When they get a foothold in the marketplace, the tipping will be highly visible.

So this is a small tipping point regarding hardware. ARM, because of the recognition by the public and the widespread use in tablets and mobiles, will be the real tipping point.


Let's wait and watch how Microsoft attempts to fight this disruptive trend. The biggest mistake to make is to assume that Microsoft will not respond. It always does, but only behind the scenes where regulators and consumers can't watch.

"I’m thinking of hitting the OEMs harder than in the past with anti-Linux. ... they should do a delicate dance"

--Joachim Kempin, Microsoft OEM Chief



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