InfoWorld: Microsoft and hardware vendors collude to fix netbook prices

“Microsoft is colluding with netbook hardware vendors to deny customer choice and protect profits,” Randall C. Kennedy reports for InfoWorld.

“It’s the question vexing hardware vendors everywhere: How do they seize on the fervor and froth of the netbook craze without cannibalizing sales of their higher-priced, higher-margin notebooks?” Kennedy reports. “Now we’re hearing that Microsoft is about to weigh in on the matter. The company already muddied the netbook hardware waters when it set forth its byzantine “maximum hardware requirements” for netbooks running Windows XP Home. And with Windows 7 just around the corner, the company is reportedly preparing an updated set of parameters. In a nutshell, the acceptable netbook screen size is decreasing (from 12.1 inches to 10.2 inches), the acceptable storage capacity is increasing (from a 32GB solid-state drive or 160GB hard disk drive to 64GB SSD/250GB HDD), and restrictions on touch and other Windows 7-centric features are being lifted.”

Kennedy reports, “The whole situation reeks of the worst kind of collusion, with Microsoft helping certain at-risk hardware vendors to deny their customers choice by letting them hide behind the straw man of software licensing costs. Do you like that shiny, new netbook on the shelf? Want one with the same general specs but a slightly larger screen? Then get ready to go with a second- or third-tier vendor and pay through the nose!”

Full article here.

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