Details on Windows 7 Starter Edition’s Three-App Limit

Ed Bott:

In short, when I used this system as a netbook, it worked just fine. […] If I tried to use this system as a conventional notebook, running multiple Microsoft Office or OpenOffice aps, playing music in iTunes or Windows Media Player, and using third-party IM programs, I would probably be incredibly frustrated with the limitations of Starter Edition.

So “netbook” users don’t listen to music or run IM programs. Uh, OK.

Also, a few DF readers have emailed asking how this is different than Apple’s “no third-party background apps” policy for the iPhone. For one thing, Apple isn’t trying to up-sell you on a more expensive “edition” of iPhone OS — it’s not an artificial constraint imposed upon customers who pay less money, but a design decision. If you disagree that the iPhone’s background app policy is a good idea, go ahead and buy an Android G1 or a BlackBerry or whatever instead. The danger I see for Microsoft is that the more they push Windows users to consider alternatives, the more of them who will switch.

Update: DF reader Michael Tofias, via email: “Worse yet for Microsoft, doesn’t this encourage the browser to be the OS?” Exactly. How is it in Microsoft’s interest to discourage users from using Windows-specific apps and instead use web apps?

Tuesday, 21 April 2009