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Microsoft softens Windows XP restrictions

Eee PC XPMicrosoft may have ceased offering Windows XP to retail customers, but that doesn't mean you can't get your hands on the venerable operating system. The company is allowing PC makers to offer customers a "downgrade" option if they purchase a new computer with Windows Vista Business or Ultimate. And Microsoft has been trying to fend off the Linux threat (more of a mosquito than an alien invasion) posed by ultra-low-cost laptops like the Asus Eee PC by allowing some cheap laptop makers to use XP.

Originally, Microsoft was only letting PC makers get away with that low-cost option if a PC met strict requirements. For example, it had to use 1GB of RAM or less, have a 10.2 inch or smaller display, and less than 80GB of storage capacity. Now IDG news is reporting that Microosft is easing off on some of those requirements.

Here's the new definition of an ULPC (Ultra Low Cost PC):
  • Display: 14.1 inch or smaller
  • Hard drive: 160GB or less
  • CPU: Single Core, and no more than 1GHz (with exceptions for low-power processors like the 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU used by the Eee PC 901, Acer Aspire One, and MSI Wind)
  • RAM: 1GB
Will this move be enough to help Microsoft maintain its market share? We're going to tentatively say yes, because honestly, we're not convinced that Linux-based laptops were going to make much of a dent anyway. Especially ULPC Linux based laptops, which are so cheap that many users are picking them up as second and third computers, not primary machines.

Tags: eee-pc, osupdates, ulpc, windows-xp

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