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Windows Operating Systems Software Microsoft

Average User Only Runs 2 Apps, So Microsoft Will Charge For More 842

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the so-it-can-charge-for-more dept.
Barence writes "Microsoft's decision to limit Windows 7 Starter Edition to running only three concurrent applications could force up the price of netbooks as many manufacturers opt for the more expensive Home Premium. The three-app rule includes applications running in the background but excludes antivirus, and the company claims most users wouldn't be affected by the limit. 'We ran a study which suggested that the average consumer has open just over two applications [at any time]. We would expect the limit of three applications wouldn't affect very many people.' However, Microsoft told journalists at last year's Professional Developers Conference that 70% of Windows users have between eight and 15 windows open at any one time."
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Average User Only Runs 2 Apps, So Microsoft Will Charge For More

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:37AM (#26782925) Journal

    Microsoft's decision to limit Windows 7 Starter Edition to running only three concurrent applications could force up the price of netbooks as many manufacturers opt for the more expensive Home Premium.

    Ok, ok, hold the phone. I bitched [slashdot.org] about this last time [slashdot.org] and I'll bitch about it again. Where is the official Microsoft statement?

    PCPro has an interview with a Microsoft product manager claiming this but I would assume everything is up in the air until it's officially released. Even he uses words like "we would" and makes it sound like this would only be available to OEMs. Which if you think about it is a great strategy because once a major OEM adopts a Windows, it's as good as gold. It doesn't matter to Microsoft if Dell's phone lines are awash with people trying to open up Windows Media Player while running anti-virus and IE, the deal is done at that point. Of course it will be sold only to OEMs; using them as insulation to the potential retaliation of consumers but you won't be able to pick it up in Best Buy.

    Quite frankly, I'm giving Microsoft the benefit of the doubt. I just did a Google search for Windows Vista: Compare editions [google.com] and the first set of links are all the official Microsoft Compare Editions site. I don't know how long that's been down for but click any of those links and it's broken. From a cache of Vista Starter edition I found this tidbit [74.125.47.132]:

    Windows Vista Starter is not available in developed technology markets such as the United States, the European Union, Australia, or Japan.

    So I would contend that Microsoft has already washed the slate of the Compare Editions campaign of Vista and put that behind them. They will wise up and change their mind about Windows 7 soon if they haven't already. And if they do have a starter edition--like they did with Vista--it will probably be shipped only on OEMs to undeveloped tech markets where consumers are glad to have a computer and lack a very American sense of entitlement to consumer rights.

    And if Microsoft only charges ~$10 for this edition of Windows 7, it may have a positive net effect for third world countries--although it makes you wonder how long other people will put up with shelling out $100 before finding an alternative.

    • by syntap (242090) on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:41AM (#26782979)

      And if Microsoft only charges ~$10 for this edition of Windows 7, it may have a positive net effect for third world countries

      I understand your point, but in that scenario a million licenses = $10mil, while a million Ubuntu licenses running Wine where Windows apps are really needed = $0. Seems to me a third-world nation could better put that $10million into machine guns or whatever else they buy.

    • by Walpurgiss (723989) on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:46AM (#26783069)
      If they do Starter Edition again, I agree that it is unlikely to be targeted to or even released in the US. Even excluding AV/Firewall apps from this completely fucktarded 3 app limit, I'd imagine that the group of people in the US getting computers from OEMs like Dell, particularly laptops, could include a sizeable amount of high school and college age people.

      These people are very likely to use media player, a web browser, and MS Word simultaneously all the time. a 3 app limit is completely bonkers. They may also want to run background apps like AIM, Skype, Bittorrent, email client (If they don't just use gmail web interface), etc etc.

      Restricting the main stream Windows would be epic fail for MS in that kind of market. If it really is targeted as the generic OEM version like Vista Home/XP Home is now, it should support at least 5 or 6 concurrent apps so students don't have to close AIM to write a paper, or ever have to choose between totally normal behaviour or restricted crap like that. It'll just drive up piracy of WinXP even more, or drive up support calls and angry customers.
      • by wisty (1335733) on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:56AM (#26783245)

        Well, they could just restrict it to 3 non-MS apps. IE, MSN, Media player, and Word would all work. That way after the anti-virus / firewall and a piece of crapware from the OEM the customer still has a slot left for a game or something. I'm sure they'll find a loophole from the antitrust suits.

        While I'll be enjoying Snow Leopard, or Jaunty ;).

        • by tenco (773732) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:07AM (#26783385)

          Well, they could just restrict it to 3 non-MS apps. IE, MSN, Media player, and Word would all work.

          Me thinks that the European Commission will strike against this. For the same reasons it did the last times.

        • by goombah99 (560566) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:29AM (#26783731)

          This is going to be great for power users--the kind that read slashdot.

          Why? chances are you want to use Linux or a mac but you can't because the typical user has a handful of application that
          1) they have to run concurrently
          2) that require windows.

          For example, a lot of people MUST use windows (or a mac) because they have no alternative to running Word or Excell or some enterprise app.

          but really just how many apps require MS?

          the thing keeping virtualization from taking off is that windows is not cheap. But with a starter edition it could be made cheap.

          run sun's virtual box. then you can run windows and linux seamlessly at the same time. FOr the aplications that require windows you use windows.

          this would probably work out well.

          However it won't actually work for the low end user. The lowend user is not going to have the sophistication to run two operating systems.

          It may work out however for the high enduser that has the savy and extra computer resources needed to virtualize

          • by blueZ3 (744446) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:40AM (#26783943) Homepage

            Not only that, but you could just install Linux and virtualization software and have three Windows VMs open at once for a total of 9 running apps.

            This is typical of MS though--something not completely thought out that's going to have unintended consequences and where they'll change their policy after the outrage turns into a tidal wave of discontent... kinda like Congress.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:56AM (#26784251)
              "This is typical of MS though--something not completely thought out that's going to have unintended consequences..."

              It's NOT unintended consequences. It's intended. You probably think Microsoft is a software company that is sometimes abusive. It's not. It's an abuse company that uses software as a way of delivering abuse.

              Yes, it's my opinion. But I'm not the only one.
        • by Walt Dismal (534799) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:49AM (#26784107)
          A Microsoft study has shown that users seldom use all 26 letters during a session, and so the economy-priced Windows 7 Functional Illiterate Edition will only support A through W and the numerals 0 through 7. However, the software will be endorsed by Sesame Street and today is brought to you by the letter "/".
        • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday February 09, 2009 @12:15PM (#26784645)

          Well of course, because IE, MSN, Media Player, Word, etc. are all essential parts of the operating system, not applications.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Joe U (443617)

        You're missing the whole 'emerging market' part.

        AIM, Skype and BitTorrent? They're lucky if they get email on a regular basis.

      • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:17AM (#26783557) Homepage

        Which is why I PRAY that they do this.

        nothing will push Ubuntu and linux to the masses harder than a brain-dead move like this from Microsoft.

        I really REALLY hope they do it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Machtyn (759119)
        I imagine the typical teenager would have the following open:
        1 MSN Messenger
        2 AOL AIM
        3 Yahoo! Chat
        6 Facebook, MySpace, Blog (and who knows how many more open IE windows)
        7 Perhaps Word to switch to when the parents walk in (I'm doing homework!)
        8 Maybe a game or two open (nothing heavy, but something)
        9 E-mail (Thunderbird, OE, etc)
        10 Video Chat window
        Anything else I'm missing?
      • by Hordeking (1237940) on Monday February 09, 2009 @12:03PM (#26784385)

        If they do Starter Edition again, I agree that it is unlikely to be targeted to or even released in the US. Even excluding AV/Firewall apps from this completely fucktarded 3 app limit, I'd imagine that the group of people in the US getting computers from OEMs like Dell, particularly laptops, could include a sizeable amount of high school and college age people. These people are very likely to use media player, a web browser, and MS Word simultaneously all the time. a 3 app limit is completely bonkers. They may also want to run background apps like AIM, Skype, Bittorrent, email client (If they don't just use gmail web interface), etc etc. Restricting the main stream Windows would be epic fail for MS in that kind of market. If it really is targeted as the generic OEM version like Vista Home/XP Home is now, it should support at least 5 or 6 concurrent apps so students don't have to close AIM to write a paper, or ever have to choose between totally normal behaviour or restricted crap like that. It'll just drive up piracy of WinXP even more, or drive up support calls and angry customers.

        Don't worry. No one will ever think to crack this version to allow unlimited applications to run concurrently.

      • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld&gmail,com> on Monday February 09, 2009 @12:04PM (#26784397)

        These people are very likely to use media player, a web browser, and MS Word simultaneously all the time. a 3 app limit is completely bonkers. They may also want to run background apps like AIM, Skype, Bittorrent, email client (If they don't just use gmail web interface), etc etc.

        Forget that, if they did a Starter edition in 'the developed world', I don't think the machine would even get past the login screen given how many crud "For your protection" apps most big brand vendors install to run in the background.

    • by urbanriot (924981) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:15AM (#26783523)
      This is an anti-Microsoft Slashdot posting. It does not require citations or proof!
    • by JeffSpudrinski (1310127) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:42AM (#26783987)

      I know I'm going out on a limb here, but I don't necessarily see this as a bad thing.

      Remember: most, if not all, of us here are definitely "power users". We won't even consider running a "starter" version of anything. However, we support a LOT of folks (e.g. family, friends, co-workers) who are not as tech-savvy as we are. How many times have you tried to troubleshoot over the phone for a system that's "running slow" (which is the only description of the problem you get) and you ask "how many applications are you running?" followed by the awkward silence, then a response of "I don't know".
      Then you finally figure out that they are running 15 things that they don't need to run and you try to talk them through disabling them, etc...

      Windows Starter Edition = Starter Windows User.

      When they learn the ins and outs of the system, then they can upgrade to more powerful versions.

      You also can't tell me that if there wasn't some reg hack or utility that would limit the number of apps that could be run that you wouldn't configure that on your parent's/kid's computers. (There may be something like that, but if there is, I don't know it).

      The solution is simple: If you don't like that limitation, then don't buy that version of Windows.

      I can think of a couple of users I support that this would definitely simplify things quite a bit.

      • by Michael Restivo (1103825) on Monday February 09, 2009 @12:27PM (#26784833)
        You make a good point about "starter Windows users" unintentionally running a lot of idle programs in the background. But why isn't the solution to design the OS to intelligently save and suspend those processes to free up resources? It seems like the paradigm of users being responsible for opening and closing programs is broken and outdated.

        Cheers, Mike
      • ... let's a look a little closer at the backgruond processes that get installed at the non-service level for a typical user.
        • Antivirus (doesn't count)
        • Anti-spyware (presumably counts)
        • firewall app
        • useless video card helper app
        • useless quicktime helper app
        • useless MS Office or OpenOffice helper app
        • Useless itunes helper app
        • Useless java updater app
        • Useless adobe acrobat helper app
        • Unnecessary verizon/comcast/whatever helper app for broadband.
        • Weatherbug and similar

        All these are running as user processes, before the user launches a single application. The worst thing that MS ever did was allow "hide unused icons in the system tray" - it's turned a whole generation of mostly-unaware users into /completely/ unaware users. Now they don't even say "What's all this stuff down here for?"

      • Um, except that the problems you'll be dealing with in this new system are the fact that they tried to view a PDF in IE, which installed Acrobat Reader and their 'fast loader' is now running in the background at all times, counting towards the limit.

        And they installed AIM, and their computer OEM installed some idiotic background thing that counts towards the limit too.

        And now they can't run anything. Inexplicably. Now anyone helping them has to learn what Microsoft means by 'Applications' and how to disable them.

        The real fun will be when someone has hit the limit via three spyware programs, and thus you can't run Spybot to disable said spyware. Think on that for a while. How would you fix that computer? (Can't even run a crack to disable the limit...if the cracking program counts as an 'application'.)

        A 'starter edition' of Windows wouldn't let things be installed at all.

    • by Darundal (891860) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:52AM (#26784163) Journal
      Starter was meant to run on lower-spec machines than the full version. The 3-app limit was meant as much as a measure to ensure performance (by not bogging the system down) as it was as an actual marketing technique to make other versions of Windows more populer. Starter is probably going to end up in netbooks (cheap low-spec laptops) worldwide.
    • by scubamage (727538) on Monday February 09, 2009 @12:54PM (#26785319)
      Just curious, it states that antivirus applications won't be counted. How do they consider what is and is not an antivirus application? Licensing fees? This means software such as ClamAV will invariably be shut out because it's all done open source and so far as I know wouldn't have the money to purchase a license. What about McAfee stinger? What about the antispyware you need to keep installed to keep windows safe? Do they all have to be licensed? What about less commonly used ones for the American market, such as Eset? Panda? Pc-Cillin? What about firewall applications? If you're stuck using their licensees, that means you're often stuck with inferior software.

      As for third world countries - 10$ is still more than many people make in a year in some places. That's why China basically told Microsoft "Shove it, we're pirating your software. Deal with it." Even their started editions are grossly overpriced for the market they're intending to send them to. My big hope is that this allows further market penetration of OLPC and linux netbooks which aren't crippled.

  • wait wat? (Score:3, Funny)

    by ChayesFSS (896146) on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:38AM (#26782929)
    Source:TheOnion.com?
  • Evil Empire (Score:4, Funny)

    by matt_martin (159394) on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:38AM (#26782935) Homepage Journal
    Princess Leia: The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers
    • Re:Evil Empire (Score:5, Insightful)

      by walt-sjc (145127) on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:46AM (#26783067)

      heh! I posted that quote before I saw yours... And it is dead on. (Yours is more accurate - I was going from memory :-)

      It's funny that MS hasn't figured this out yet. But they, like the rest of the world, are going through some shrinking (layoffs) and are scrambling to find a way to recover that revenue. This isn't a good way of doing it however - charge more for optional software - not the base. If you squeeze the base too much, you push people out of your platform (and get NO additional sales of add-on products) and grow the market for alternatives. It's a downward spiral that is not smart.

      • by binarylarry (1338699) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:09AM (#26783435)

        Liar!

        This is a fantastic business strategy that will no doubt cause Microsoft to grow by leaps and bounds in the near future.

        As a Microsoft shareholder, I am glad my interests are being taken care of. Microsoft knows there is a huge market for crippleware and they are seizing the opportunity to corner yet another market.

        Microsoft, please continue on this fantastic path to ensure your future survival and to crush rival operating systems like Youbuntoo and Mac OS X.

    • Windows 7 (Score:5, Funny)

      by PinkyDead (862370) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:10AM (#26783445) Journal

      Princess Leia: I'd rather kiss a Wookie.

  • by Cornwallis (1188489) * on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:39AM (#26782945)
    before Windows starts crashing.
  • by onion2k (203094) * on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:39AM (#26782947) Homepage

    id they explain to the users what "an application" is? I'm sure a quick straw poll around non-IT guys in my office asking "How many things are you running?" would result in a similar number, but then if I explained that "the internet" is a browser application, that "listening to my music" is a media player app, that "getting my email" is a mail client, and so on would bump the number up to a couple of visible apps like Word and Excel plus a futher three or four concurrent applications that are essentially invisible.

    Another effect could also be to drive the usage of things like Google Docs further in the home marketplace. If you can't run Word but you can run a browser it'd make much more sense to use a browser based application.

    Mind you, this could have an 'unexpected' benefit. Anyone running a bot would find they can't open a browser or play music or something. People would have a good incentive to make sure their PC is only running what it should be running.

    • by should_be_linear (779431) on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:55AM (#26783229)

      Wait, Internet browser is not application, it is part of OS. At least thats what Microsoft told us.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:56AM (#26783237) Journal
      It's almost like they are trying to hand the market to Google and the webapp gang.

      Browser + MP3 player + IM app = "oh, shit, can't open Email."

      Gmail + Gtalk + Google Apps + Pandora = still two local app slots open.

      I realize that shipping various flavors of crippleware is a standard price discrimination tactic; but if a substantial percentage of your company's value hinges on the survival of win32 apps as a relevant segment, isn't limiting the number of win32 apps your OS will run a pretty fucktarded move?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Refrag (145266)

      You know, I switched from Windows 2000 to the Mac back in 2001 because of similar stupidity Microsoft was engaging in. Back then it was Windows Product (de)Activation. I haven't looked back.

      Apple doesn't have crazy long keys that you have to enter in to install the OS, you just install it. You don't buy your computer from a vendor that didn't feel like giving you a restore disc. You don't have to ask Apple for permission before using your computer, you just use it. They don't use copy protection on their iL

  • DoS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Shikaku (1129753) on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:40AM (#26782953)

    What if you get a virus? Oops it opens notepad and wordpad and now you can't run anything.

    Hell, what about just running Antivirus? This is completely outrageous.

  • by should_be_linear (779431) on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:40AM (#26782959)

    This means that 2 cores should be enough for everybody !

  • by slifox (605302) * on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:40AM (#26782963)

    This is exactly why I use linux...
    [On a Q6600 with 4GB RAM] I have 10 virtual desktops, and on them I _concurrently_ run:
        Firefox with >150 tabs (using Tree Style Tabs for nesting);
        10+ instances of acrobat reader;
        VMWare running Windows XP;
        as well as instant messengers, IRC, audio player, multiple VLC video players, etc

    Not to mention that in that VMWare (Windows XP guest), I run a HUGE electronics design software suite... and it actually loads and runs faster in VMWare than running in native Windows XP!

    Windows could never even attempt to run all these programs concurrently, smoothly, without crashes, and without delays in-between using any given app.

    2 processes should be fine... after all, 640K of memory should be enough for anybody ;)

    • by martin_henry (1032656) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:10AM (#26783457)

      Firefox with >150 tabs (using Tree Style Tabs for nesting)

      multiple VLC video players

      That is a lot of porn!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Xtravar (725372)

      I run a HUGE electronics design software suite... and it actually loads and runs faster in VMWare than running in native Windows XP!

      This is a bit off-topic, but does anyone have an explanation for why this happens?

      I've noticed it, too, during XP's boot. Booting on my actual machine takes ~12 seconds, but in VMWare takes ~4 seconds. I always thought it was because Windows doesn't have to wait for various physical hardware components (since they're virtualized)... but that doesn't account for your software suite.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:42AM (#26782985) Homepage

    However, Microsoft told journalists at last year's Professional Developers Conference that 70% of Windows users have between eight and 15 windows open at any one time."

    Take a wild guess why an IE user, still the largest browser group on Windows, might have half a dozen or more windows open at once. "Rebuttals" like this do nothing but spread misinformation. Yes, this is stupid on Microsoft's part, but comments like this just make the opposition look stupid.

  • getting old (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:42AM (#26782987)
    This is getting really old. At no point has Microsoft even hinted that the Starter Edition would be used on netbooks. It is made for developing nations. Period. Just because a few random blogs found out that the Starter Edition exists and started going "OMFG, MS is going to put this on netbooks" doesn't make it so. Everything else that's come out about this is pure speculation based on rumors started by those same idiot bloggers.

    And that's why I can't stand blogs and bloggers.

    The End
  • out of curiousity (Score:4, Interesting)

    by qw0ntum (831414) on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:42AM (#26782989) Journal
    Out of curiosity has anyone ever actually seen a "Starter" version of Windows in use? I don't think I ever have. I wonder what portion of users actually use that version. That's not, of course, any justification -- I still think this is a really shitty move.
  • How to Count? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by daniel23 (605413) on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:43AM (#26783009)

    task manager has 36 entries in the applications tab, 66 Processes, 37 open Windows.

  • In other words... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:43AM (#26783013) Homepage

    In other words... we don't want anybody to buy our cheapest product, so we'll enforce a ludicrous restriction never used in any other OS or software company before, with some statistical justification in the hopes that people will "think" we offer cheap products but still buy the expensive ones which are virtually identical but have a one-bit flag difference between them.

    The average user might only use one or two "apps" but it's the definition of apps that's the problem. Apparently AV isn't an app, by this definition. But a firewall might be. A utility to check your startup entries might be. What about the Adobe Reader Speed Launcher, is that an app? Notepad? This is the problem - they are drawing a boundary where it doesn't make ANY sense to anybody. To users, their startup entries are not apps. But to the professional, a startup entry which works around the app limit could well be the downfall of the entire system that could allow companies or charities to save money by buying the cheaper Starter editions.

    They are trying to introduce an artificial limitation based on the intended use, rather than just targetting the intended use - cheap, compatible, standard, available for home use. Instead, they want you to "think" that somebody actually buys that crap and that you are a "power user" because you have more than three apps open, thus leading you to believe that you have to buy a "more powerful" operating system for more money.

    It's crap. Nobody will buy it, like nobody bought the other starter editions... because it's an artificial limitation for no good, technical reason.

  • Pricing Rational? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dmomo (256005) on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:43AM (#26783017) Homepage

    What is the extra cost to MS for allowing users run more apps? What is the cost savings for restricting to two? Unless there is something significant here... the pricing structure is just silly.

    Can I just write a meta app that runs multiple apps beneath it? I'm sure it's not as easy as it sounds... but I'd expect to see some pretty clever work arounds.

    Microsoft DOES want people to like their product, don't they?

    • by slashdotlurker (1113853) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:15AM (#26783515)

      What is the extra cost to MS for allowing users run more apps? What is the cost savings for restricting to two? Unless there is something significant here... the pricing structure is just silly.

      The "reason" is obvious. They can sell this crippled version of windows 7 for $10, claim that they are as cheap as Linux in Microsoft funded TCO studies, and still make money by asking OEM's to "recommend" more expensive versions.

      The question is : are you smarter than your 5th grader ?

    • by xdroop (4039) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:31AM (#26783783) Homepage Journal

      Welcome to Economics 101.

      Price isn't controlled by the cost of production, it is far more influenced heavily by the consumer's willingness to pay.

      What Microsoft is doing is trying to monetize the value that consumers get from their product. To wit: it is worth $$ to customers to run more than three applications, so Microsoft wants a cut of that.

      Where cost of production only becomes a serious influence on price is where the cost of production exceeds the consumer's willingness to pay for the product. To wit: you can't buy 2GB spinning-platter hard disks any more, because they'd still cost $30 or $40 to make, and for $100 you can buy a half-terabyte drive, and for $2 you can buy a 2GB flash drive. So there's no market for 2GB hard drives. So nobody makes them.

      My guess is that they are trying to create (or enter) a market where cost is a big decision driver; this will get them some sales in a market where previously they had almost none, and will not steal too many sales from other, higher priced markets.

  • by Ron Bennett (14590) on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:49AM (#26783113) Homepage

    Seriously, such limitations gives the public the perception that older versions of Windows, in particular XP, are a better value and more usable.

    If Microsoft plays up the "most people only run 2 apps" too much, that makes it far easier for others to sell people on netbooks, running a non-Microsoft O/S. For browsing, email, and basic word processing many people can't tell the difference / don't care what the O/S is.

    Ron

  • by Steemers (1031312) on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:49AM (#26783115)

    If one is stuck with that one could run a free OS in one of those vizualisation applications and run their mediaplayer, webbrowser etc in there, while leaving two spots for windows-only applications.

  • by EMB Numbers (934125) on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:52AM (#26783175)

    Is it April Fool's day already ?

  • by ProppaT (557551) on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:53AM (#26783189) Homepage

    They may (in part) be right if they were surveying those with Vista Home Basic. Everyone I know who has Vista has opted for Home Premium if, for nothing else, media center (the xbox 360 is kinda slick like that). I would imagine that most people using Home Basic would maybe have IE, solitaire, and windows media player/iTunes open at once. We're looking at the bottom rung users here and they're probably right with their figures.

    That being said, I think this is pretty stupid of MS to do. I don't think this was a problem to begin with seeing that no one in their right mind would want Vista Basic (okay, hold back the Vista jokes buddy) to begin with. Netbook users maybe use a few more than 3 aps at once, but they're surely not using media center and other features of Premium, so it kinda balances.

  • that's funny... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sfing_ter (99478) on Monday February 09, 2009 @10:55AM (#26783213) Homepage Journal

    Wine let's me run as many as I want at about 1/28th the overhead... does Steve know this? I anticipate flying chairs.

    Will Clippy pop up and tell you that you cannot open anymore programs or will they get some cryptic notification that the limitations placed on their operating system require them close one of the currently open programs.

    Will spyware be included as one of the programs or do Conficker and AV360 count as "Anti-Virus"?

  • by abigsmurf (919188) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:00AM (#26783285)

    You will NEVER see this edition in the west. This is designed for ultra poor countries and it's a fraction of the price of other editions. The version you will see on netbooks will be Home Basic (the most logical version for a fully compatible, budget laptop), not this.

    Has anyone even seen a computer with Vista/XP starter edition?

    The FUD surrounding Windows 7 is getting increasingly desperate each day. Slashdot is almost becoming a parody of itself on this front. If there's valid things to criticise MS on then fine but don't twist things around in a desperate bid to make them look evil in such a pathetic manner.

    • by Dunbal (464142) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:04AM (#26783353)

      This is designed for ultra poor countries

          That is, the countries that pirate Microsoft software in the first place. Wow, Microsoft, you sure are giving them an incentive to buy your software now!

            I can't believe the "strategic" decisions coming from this company. This is fantastic news for non-Microsoft users. Please, continue to shoot yourselves in the foot by all means. Don't worry about the black stuff, that's NOT gangrene...

      • by abigsmurf (919188) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:16AM (#26783549)

        Yeah, how stupid of them to sell a version of windows that's legal at only $5 or so more than it would cost them to buy a pirated version (if they're that poor they're not exactly going to be on a bittorrent friendly internet connection).

        Even in poor countries, if you're spending $300 on a PC, $10-$15 to have a legal, rootkit free OS, even one that isn't fully featured, makes it hard to justify Piracy. $15 premium for system builders to be able to claim that their PC's are 100% legal and legit?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wastedlife (1319259)

      I hate to look like an apologist, but I definitely agree with you here. Starter edition was always meant for "emerging markets" as a cheaper version to combat piracy. The problem is that pirated copies are free or nearly free and do not have these crazy restrictions. Just "being legal" is not a big enough incentive to poor people in these nations to take the weaker product.

      This story and the "Broken Fix-it Tool" [slashdot.org] article are some examples of criticizing Microsoft just to criticize Microsoft. There are tons

  • Is this the 70s ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slashdotlurker (1113853) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:05AM (#26783373)
    And did I miss the transition to a multi-tasking OS somewhere ?
  • Question (Score:5, Funny)

    by PPH (736903) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:08AM (#26783417)
    Does the Ubuntu installer count as only one app?
  • Clippy says (Score:5, Funny)

    by yanyan (302849) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:17AM (#26783565)

    Hi! It looks like you're trying to run more than two applications, which is currently not allowed! Would you like to:

    - shoot yourself in the other foot (you brought this upon yourself in the first place)
    - throw a chair at the nearest bystander
    - do the monkey dance while yelling "applications applications applications!"
    - write an internal memo whining about your new netbook not being able to do actual work

  • by azaris (699901) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:21AM (#26783605) Journal
    Just install Cygwin and run Emacs.
  • by vshade (1451739) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:23AM (#26783641)
    Here in Brazil we have starter editions since before Vista, and the xp starter was even more crippled, it didn't allowed resoltions greater than 1024x768, and even though there were computers with this windows and 17" lcd monitors, wich have a native resoltion of 1280x1024, forcing everyone who bought those to have a blurred screen
  • by foniksonik (573572) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:31AM (#26783787) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft should call this Windows Mid-Manager edition, since the only people using 3 apps are enterprise level office drones doing data entry via Excel or Word, Possibly Powerpoint. They are so locked down that they can't listen to music, or use IM or anything except the tools for their job. Even receptionists would balk at this... but the mid-manager's would be okay, they just want to go play golf anyways....

  • by xorsyst (1279232) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:40AM (#26783939) Journal
    Sounds like a standard genie agreement to me: You are allowed 3 wishes. I guess Virtualisation software is like wishing for more wishes.
  • by tenco (773732) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:43AM (#26784005)

    I had to use a XP Home edition on a laptop that wouldn't run Linux/*BSD without pains 2-3 years ago. (That XP came preinstalled with the laptop accompanied by a rescue CD that extracted an image into a partition. This would result in a XP installation with lots of other crap preinstalled.)

    So I first got my backups (as administrator of course) unpacked onto the XP Home box and tried to change the permissions on that backup so that it could be accessed by an account with normal user privileges. It took me nearly half an hour to realize that XP Home doesn't let you change permissions on files. Another half one to find the way Microsoft thinks this should work (Copying into a folder called sth like public documents or so. Hardrive was 80GB large and I had ~60GB of backups.). I finally found a HOWTO on the net for making a XP Professional (nearly feature complete) out of my Home edition and an installation CD using BartPE.

    Result: even XP has editions which are crippled beyond being useful. This is hardly news.

  • Monopoly Mindset (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mlwmohawk (801821) on Monday February 09, 2009 @11:55AM (#26784241)

    This quote, even if not an official policy of Microsoft is indicative of the monopolistic mindset of a tyrant.

    There is *no* technological reason or justification to limit the number of applications that can be run. The *only* reason to even think of doing this is that if you are confident that no one can compete with you.

    In a truly competitive environment, *NO* ISV could dare even think of this. The instant that you artificially limit your software, competition eats you up.

    We, as an industry, REALLY REALLY need to nuke Microsoft. They are anti-customer (this), anti-worker (H1B), andi-freedom (DRM), and anti-competitive.

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Monday February 09, 2009 @12:47PM (#26785179)
    If it didn't affect users then there'd be no reason to implement such a limit. It obviously affects users and forces them to buy a more expensive version of what is essentially the exact same program, while allowing Microsoft to still claim how cheap Windows is.
  • by torkus (1133985) on Monday February 09, 2009 @12:52PM (#26785283)

    Disclaimer: This post makes the assumption that Windows7 sh!t version really is planned to exist and really will limit you to 3 open apps.

    It's 2009. In theory we're making "progress" with technology. The basic function of an OS is to provide a standard framework on which programs can run. All the fancy UI tweaks, audio and video nonsense, bla bla bla is extra. You're going to give them all the extras but limit the basic, core functionality of your software. Really, I don't understand why we need multiple versions of the OS to begin with. If you want to have add-on software...well SELL THAT - separately. Everyone buys W7 for whatever (reasonable) price. Sell an add-on pack that includes...well whatever other crap you want to consider value-add. This way if someone buys a computer and later on decides they need XYZ functionality they can just buy that and not have to reinstall (or hack) windows.

    I suppose my underlying point is that it's way past time for an OS to be transparant to the end user. Give them extra software and capability if you want, but no user should need to worry about "oh noes, did I get the right windoez version? Is it going to stop my computer from doing cool things?" when a computer is delivered to their house.

    Hey, car analogy! It's a 2009 Ferrari with a 1995 geo metro engine. Except even drug addicted rock stars crash ferrari's less often than windows and vista/W7 are more akin to a UPS delivery truck with fancy decals on the side. Big, ugly, and slow with valuable but hidden/inaccessible content and a fancy look on the outside disguising it all.

    Oh, and 3 programs excluding AV? Ok, so let's also exempt anti-spyware, firewall, and disc encryption tools. I run at least 2 chat client, MSIE, P2P (closing and restarting screws up xfers too), webcam program that insists on coming up, solitare or other games...

  • Charge? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tgrigsby (164308) on Monday February 09, 2009 @01:48PM (#26786265) Homepage Journal

    Perhaps this is straight out of the Department of the Bleeding Obvious, but I can't be the only one thinking that Microsoft proposes to actually charge money for an operating system intentionally broken so that it only runs three applications at a time. Meanwhile, if I install Ubuntu (just to pick a distro), it's free and I can run whatever I want, as much as a I want?

    Is that what I'm reading here?

    It is?

    Oh, okay, just checking...

  • by gabrieltss (64078) on Monday February 09, 2009 @02:16PM (#26786769)

    New for Windows 8 will be the "Time Sharing" version. This version of Windows will be cheaper yet, you will get 1 hour tiwce a day of computer time, you get to run 1 program at a time and get 10 megs of file storage. All for the low price of $29.99. If you wish to get more time on Windows, you can just call Micro$oft at 1-666-666-6666 and buy more time, they take Visa, Mastercard, American Express and PayPal.

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