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Microsoft fires another shot at Linux netbooks by extending XP availability

Linux advocates had a lot of fun recently taking shots at Windows 7 Starter version, which Microsoft has positioned as an option for low-cost netbooks.

What could Microsoft possibly offer in response to the "Starter is a comically bad attempt at an operating system" comments?

They could announce the continued availability of Windows XP for netbook manufacturers for a full year after the release of Windows 7 - which exactly what they've done.

If what Acer said earlier turns out to be true, that means OEMs will be able to sell XP-powered machines until October 2010, and that decision is sure to have repercussions for Linux on netbooks.

After all, one of the key weaknesses of Starter Edition was the three application limit - something that can't be said about Windows XP.

Though it will still add a bit to the cost of a system, the amount has been pegged as low as $15. That's a negligible amount and one most consumers will be willing to absorb to have access to an operating system that is far more familiar to most than any Linux distribution.

The extension will give Microsoft an entire year to build public awareness of Windows 7 and showcase Starter Edition - or scrap it and offer better pricing on another more complete version. Either way, today's announcement could mean a continued rough road ahead for mainstream Linux.

[via PC World]

Tags: hardware, linux, netbook, osupdates, windows-xp