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

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the so-it-can-charge-for-more dept.

Windows 842

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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Obama (-1, Offtopic)

Hamilton Publius (909539) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782917)

"A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe."

-- President Obama, Feb. 4.

Catastrophe, mind you. So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared "we have chosen hope over fear." Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill.

And so much for the promise to banish the money changers and influence peddlers from the temple. An ostentatious executive order banning lobbyists was immediately followed by the nomination of at least a dozen current or former lobbyists to high position. Followed by a Treasury secretary who allegedly couldn't understand the payroll tax provisions in his 1040. Followed by Tom Daschle, who had to fall on his sword according to the new Washington rule that no Cabinet can have more than one tax delinquent.

The Daschle affair was more serious because his offense involved more than taxes. As Michael Kinsley once observed, in Washington the real scandal isn't what's illegal, but what's legal. Not paying taxes is one thing. But what made this case intolerable was the perfectly legal dealings that amassed Daschle $5.2 million in just two years.

He'd been getting $1 million per year from a law firm. But he's not a lawyer, nor a registered lobbyist. You don't get paid this kind of money to instruct partners on the Senate markup process. You get it for picking up the phone and peddling influence.

At least Tim Geithner, the tax-challenged Treasury secretary, had been working for years as a humble international civil servant earning non-stratospheric wages. Daschle, who had made another cool million a year (plus chauffeur and Caddy) for unspecified services to a pal's private equity firm, represented everything Obama said he'd come to Washington to upend.

And yet more damaging to Obama's image than all the hypocrisies in the appointment process is his signature bill: the stimulus package. He inexplicably delegated the writing to Nancy Pelosi and the barons of the House. The product, which inevitably carries Obama's name, was not just bad, not just flawed, but a legislative abomination.

It's not just pages and pages of special-interest tax breaks, giveaways and protections, one of which would set off a ruinous Smoot-Hawley trade war. It's not just the waste, such as the $88.6 million for new construction for Milwaukee Public Schools, which, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, have shrinking enrollment, 15 vacant schools and, quite logically, no plans for new construction.

It's the essential fraud of rushing through a bill in which the normal rules (committee hearings, finding revenue to pay for the programs) are suspended on the grounds that a national emergency requires an immediate job-creating stimulus -- and then throwing into it hundreds of billions that have nothing to do with stimulus, that Congress's own budget office says won't be spent until 2011 and beyond, and that are little more than the back-scratching, special-interest, lobby-driven parochialism that Obama came to Washington to abolish. He said.

Not just to abolish but to create something new -- a new politics where the moneyed pork-barreling and corrupt logrolling of the past would give way to a bottom-up, grass-roots participatory democracy. That is what made Obama so dazzling and new. Turns out the "fierce urgency of now" includes $150 million for livestock (and honeybee and farm-raised fish) insurance.

The Age of Obama begins with perhaps the greatest frenzy of old-politics influence peddling ever seen in Washington. By the time the stimulus bill reached the Senate, reports the Wall Street Journal, pharmaceutical and high-tech companies were lobbying furiously for a new plan to repatriate overseas profits that would yield major tax savings. California wine growers and Florida citrus producers were fighting to change a single phrase in one provision. Substituting "planted" for "ready to market" would mean a windfall garnered from a new "bonus depreciation" incentive.

After Obama's miraculous 2008 presidential campaign, it was clear that at some point the magical mystery tour would have to end. The nation would rub its eyes and begin to emerge from its reverie. The hallucinatory Obama would give way to the mere mortal. The great ethical transformations promised would be seen as a fairy tale that all presidents tell -- and that this president told better than anyone except commander taco.

I thought the awakening would take six months. It took two and a half weeks.

Re:Obama (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782951)

Nice trolling, why didn't you put in the part where he eats orphans and is solely responsible for global warming? Or that he's a Muslim.

Perhaps if you understood what it is that you're cutting and pasting you'd have the sense not to do so. The Republican party lost, deal with it. Tax cuts and spending cuts definitely won't work, so what if this probably won't?

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782921)

i win!

To Err is Human--to Persist is Microsoft? (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782925)

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.

Re:To Err is Human--to Persist is Microsoft? (5, Insightful)

syntap (242090) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Just reset your clock (5, Funny)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783131)

Of course, the obvious alternative would be for people to just dig out their old copies of Windows 3.1.

That could cope quite well with running two applications, just so long as you didn't sneeze or look at the machine sideways. But the proviso of course applies just as much to later releases. The advantage here is that your two applications will run (or crash) blazingly fast...

*ducks* ;-)

Re:Just reset your clock (1, Funny)

dattaway (3088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783171)

Of course, the obvious alternative would be for people to just dig out their old copies of Windows 3.1.

Windows 3.1 had no built in network stack. Microsoft wanted their own propietary service at the time. Third party vendors were the only source if you wanted the internet.

Re:To Err is Human--to Persist is Microsoft? (-1, Flamebait)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783221)

while a million Ubuntu licenses running Wine where Windows apps are really needed = $0.

hahahahahahahaha. Wait let me stop laughing long enough to respond. hahahahahaha, nope can't do it. hahahahahahah

Re:To Err is Human--to Persist is Microsoft? (3, Insightful)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:To Err is Human--to Persist is Microsoft? (4, Insightful)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#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 ;).

Re:To Err is Human--to Persist is Microsoft? (3, Insightful)

Joe U (443617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783327)

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

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

Re:To Err is Human--to Persist is Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26783151)

It makes sense to charge more for more features in your app. Modularization is just an efficient way to reach a wider range of audiences and ensure that each audience can get all they need from your product, at the cheapest price, without undermining the price for those who need more.

But deliberately crippling your product and charging less for it is stupid. It doesn't add value to any market segment, and doesn't earn you any good-will from your clients. It is just a marketing technique to attempt to make people feel like a higher price for the un-crippled version is justified. People see through that crap, and dislike you for it, and go hunt for alternatives.

wait wat? (4, Funny)

ChayesFSS (896146) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782929)

Source:TheOnion.com?

Evil Empire (4, Funny)

matt_martin (159394) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782935)

Princess Leia: The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers

Re:Evil Empire (0, Troll)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783025)

Yeah, where is bitch when you need her...

Re:Evil Empire (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26783157)

OD'ed on cocaine.

Ya sure ya want to know? (3, Informative)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783303)

Carrie Fisher just released her autobiography "Wishful Drinking" [amazon.com] . The cover shows her, as Princess Leia, nearly passed out with martini glass in hand and pills nearby.

Don't think she'll be saving us from the Empire this time around.

Re:Evil Empire (4, Insightful)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Average User Only Runs 2 Apps... (5, Funny)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782945)

before Windows starts crashing.

Re:Average User Only Runs 2 Apps... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26783091)

1) Browser
2) Mail reader
3) Messenger

Now, let me open this cute powerpoint presentation... *BOINC*

Re:Average User Only Runs 2 Apps... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26783223)

This reminds me those old-school adventure games where you had to manage your inventory...

You are in front of your computer.

> OPEN BROWSER

Ok.

> OPEN INSTANT MESSENGER

Ok.

> OPEN MAIL READER

Ok.

You received a cute powerpoint presentation.

> OPEN POWERPOINT

*BOINC*

> CLOSE BROWSER

Ok.

> OPEN POWERPOINT

You see an entertaining presentation.

Your boss is comming by!

> OPEN EXEL

What is "EXEL"?

> OPEN EXCEL

*BOINC*

> OPEN EXCEL

*BOINC*

You are fired.

Re:Average User Only Runs 2 Apps... (1, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783181)

That joke is funny in the same manner that saying Linux requires you to use a command line is funny.

Re:Average User Only Runs 2 Apps... (5, Insightful)

@madeus (24818) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783313)

In theory is not true, but in practice it usually is?

What's an 'application' to a user? (5, Interesting)

onion2k (203094) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782947)

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.

Re:What's an 'application' to a user? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26783063)

What about Google chrome and it's seperate instances?

Re:What's an 'application' to a user? (5, Funny)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783229)

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

Re:What's an 'application' to a user? (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783237)

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:What's an 'application' to a user? (1)

Thanatos81 (1305243) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783265)

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.

Iirc, some viruses bypass firewalls or antivirus software today. So, if Antivirus is excluded from counted applications, I fear that the next viruses will register themselves as antivirus software.

Re:What's an 'application' to a user? (-1, Troll)

neoform (551705) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783321)

What they really mean is three *processes*.

Which might explain why Windows 7 crashes 3 seconds into the boot process..

DoS (4, Interesting)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:DoS (5, Funny)

mikerubin (449692) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783169)

What do you mean "IF" they get a virus?

Re:DoS (4, Insightful)

PolyDwarf (156355) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783235)

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

I mean... I know this is microsoft... And I know this is slashdot... But, can you at least read the summary, where it's stated:

The three-app rule includes applications running in the background but excludes antivirus

Re:DoS (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783261)

Maybe if you read two sentenced into the deck, you would have seen this little gem "The three-app rule includes applications running in the background but excludes antivirus," [emphasis mine]

Re:DoS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26783323)

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

Oh, i don't know...how about:

The three-app rule includes applications running in the background but excludes antivirus

and reclassify all the apps (including virus) to antivirus!

Intel/AMD are screwed (5, Funny)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782959)

This means that 2 cores should be enough for everybody !

Re:Intel/AMD are screwed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26783231)

No, Win7 will come with a heavily threaded word process0r.

This is why I use linux... (3, Interesting)

slifox (605302) | more than 5 years ago | (#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 ;)

Morons! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26782969)

Heh...next thing, car companies will issue a study saying that people mostly use the first four gear and that they'll change extra for fifth gear.

Morons. Or crooks. Take your pick.

Re:Morons! (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783163)

car companies will issue a study saying that people mostly use the first four gear and that they'll change extra for fifth gear.

They already do this on some models: 5-speed transmission is an 'option'.

The tighter you squeeze... (0, Offtopic)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782977)

the more systems will slip through your fingers. (mostly a quote from Star Wars, 1978.) MS hasn't figured this out yet.

Nothing to do with each other (2, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782985)

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.

Re:Nothing to do with each other (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26783149)

LOL dumbass IE users have tons of apps running because there infected with teh spyware and have aids

getting old (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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

Re:getting old (2, Informative)

Barence (1228440) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783089)

Um, well Microsoft's official press statement says: "Starter is a limited functionality SKU with an application limit designed for small notebook PCs in all markets." I'd say that's a bit more than a hint, wouldn't you?

Re:getting old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26783147)

Care to link to that?

I've never seen anything from MS saying anything except that starter edition is going to be for developing countries.

Nothing about notebooks / netbooks. Nothing.

out of curiousity (3, Interesting)

qw0ntum (831414) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782989)

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.

Wow... (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782993)

This is the dumbest idea I have ever heard. Microsoft might as well donate $10 billion to the free software foundation and call it a day.

I predict some hackers come up with a way around this very quickly. I'm thinking something similar to Firefox's tabbed browsing, but for multiple applications.

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26783053)

I don't think that hackers would even bother (should they?).

Re:Wow... (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783179)

Expect stuff running in browsers as AJAX, Flash or Java a *lot*.

Excessive (2, Insightful)

iamangry (1463943) | more than 5 years ago | (#26782999)

"Browser, Email Client, IM Client. I'm sorry, if you want to play music as well you're going to have to upgrade to a better operating system. It's called Windows 98, you may have heard of it." Ridiculous Microsoft... truly.

How does it count Chrome? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26783003)

Is that one app, or one app for every window?

Thank god! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783005)

Thank god that Win7 Starter is just the "we have to deliver Windows bundled with our crates, we know people will wipe it as the first thing they do with their new machines, and we hope they don't come in for the cents for a refund" version.

I mean, imagine it was supposed to be a real OS someone would be forced to use!

How to Count? (3, Interesting)

daniel23 (605413) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783009)

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

3 apps, is that a joke? (1)

theascended (1228810) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783011)

"The three-app rule includes applications running in the background" So, I assume they'll be bludgeoning HP, Dell, etc for installing crapware after crapware to the tune of nearly 30 extra processes on first boot? Or HP (again!), Logitech, Cannon, Intel, etc etc for their awful driver packages that can leave more than one "background" task running?! I know the monkeys at Microsoft aren't the brightest bulbs, but you would think that the marketing department at least USES Windows... if only on occasion.

In other words... (4, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783013)

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.

Re:In other words... (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783201)

"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."

Stuff running in browser plugins. How many functions could you do using Firefox, Flash and Java?

Re:In other words... (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783291)

How many functions could you do using Firefox, Flash and Java?

Haha! Brilliant! This is Windows "The Browser Is My Real OS" Edition.

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26783343)

iPhone does this too.

Pricing Rational? (4, Insightful)

dmomo (256005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783017)

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?

Re:Pricing Rational? (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783071)

A point I forgot to mention is that a rational price bound to cost is important. While MS is free to charge what they want... and non-monopolistic company would be careful in doing so because when a feature has zero cost, the second there is a charge for it a competitor can charge less until the price drops to zero and is just an "assumed feature". This is in a way evidence of Monopolistic practices. I just don't see this happening. There's no way it will stick around. To many "reasons not to". Unless as I've stated before, the limitation does have a concrete impact on cost.

Re:Pricing Rational? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783365)

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

Well, maybe they rationalise it like this:

* People liked DOS about 20 years ago. DOS allowed you to use 1 application at a time. So...
* If they sell an OS that allows you to do twice as much as you did on DOS, you'll like the new OS twice as much...

Hmm (1)

not already in use (972294) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783029)

I've generally defended Microsoft and their products against the non-objective hordes of Linux zealots here at slashdot, but this is inexcusable and ridiculous.

Who only uses two? (1)

swaq (989895) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783055)

I can't think of any time I use two or less applications (just counting the ones that show up in the taskbar) except right when the computer boots up...

We are not average users. (1)

fumanchu182 (1428447) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783057)

I wonder where they got their test data from? I personally am glad I made the switch to *nix for regular application use. The only time I am forced to use a MS OS is when I need to play a game, so that is only one process still.

Let the Linux fanboyism commence (0, Offtopic)

johnsie (1158363) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783061)

We should all install Linux... microsoft is bad. Blah, blah, blah... Linux should take over the world!

xterm and firefox (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783075)

Yah, xterm and firefox are my two apps. I think I'll be going elsewhere, Microsoft. Thanks for thinking of us, though!

Re:xterm and firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26783203)

I'd say 50% of my time I require just a terminal emulator and a web browser. Even if I were stuck on "3 Windows" and I needed to run more, the solution would be easy; make one of the apps a VM and install Linux.

Voila, functional desktop computer operating system ;)

Re:xterm and firefox (1)

yanyan (302849) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783345)

I put Eeebuntu on my sister's 701 EEE PC (the first generation model with only 4 Gb of solid state storage, 512 Mb RAM, and a 900 Mhz celeron castrated to run at 600+ Mhz only).

After running apt-get a few times and tweaking some files in /etc i ended up with a netbook that is an excellent unix workstation comparable to most other desktop systems out there. Hell, it even runs compiz as smoothly as a baby's behind -- out of the box and with no configuration required. To get wireless working all i had to do was create an entry associating it with our home router.

Occasionally when i borrow my sister's EEE to play around with it, i usually have a bunch of xterms and firefox open with a good number of tabs. I also start audacious or xmms. Even with a typical "desktop load" like that i get great performance from such an underpowered machine. My sister is completely happy with her netbook.

Guess I'll be running hosted apps in Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26783085)

I guess they don't want me running Microsoft apps locally in Windows. How many apps does this count as?

1) GMail in Firefox
2) Yahoo Calendar in Firefox
3) Zoho spreadsheet in Firefox
4) ThinkFree word processing in Firefox
5) Facebook in Firefox
6) (some IM app) in Firefox
7) wiki in Firefox
8) Amazon simpleDB in Firefox
9) Salesforce.com apps in Firefox
10) Hulu TV in Firefox
11) Pandora radio in Firefox

etc.

Re:Guess I'll be running hosted apps in Firefox (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783209)

One.

Load three FF windows and check task manager if you like.

windows != applications (0)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783087)

It is well known that the number of windows open has no real connection to the number of applications running. I had 3 applications running the other day: 1 game with 1 window, 1 web browser with 3 windows, and 1 chat client with 5 windows.

3 applications, 9 windows.

Now please, stop with the fucking anti-MS FUD.

How are they going to explain this to their users? (1)

ekran (79740) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783103)

I mean, from a salesmanager's point of view it might be a good idea to sell such a version of the OS for next to nothing expecting people to upgrade (and pay more) as soon as they run into the 3 applications wall, but you must remember that people are basically paying for an inferior product (compared to Linux anyhow.) - so, if you take that into consideration, why not give something even more inferior out and charge even more for the upgrade? I think this sounds like something that truly came out of the marketing/sales department.

Also, there is a difference between applications and processes on Windows, at least there is on my old XP machine where I currently have 4 applications running and 25-ish processes running. My Linux system currently claim to have 178 processes running.

Linux's gain (1)

Davemania (580154) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783107)

If this isn't the manifestation of greed, I don't know what is. However, some Linux distros should be able to use this to captialize in the netbook market and increase their share.

This is the real world calling (1)

alephnull42 (202254) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783109)

Umm hello? The 2nd biggest selling point of Windows probably back to 3.0 after a GUI was so-called "multi-tasking" - i.e. multiple applications, is MS trying to jump back a full 2 decades in one go?

Looking at my desktop
- Browser (never less than 2-3 tabs)
- File explorer
- Instant messenger (being generous and counting as one, since you can use Pidgin, Digsby, Trillian etc)
- Email client
- Text editor
- One application actually doing the work (office, an IDE or whatever)
3 times over the limit already, although I guess that as long as you allow yourself to be voluntarily locked into their propriatary applications (IE, Microsoft Live, Outlook) you may be given just that little more...

2 Apps ought to be enough for anybody... (2, Informative)

Ron Bennett (14590) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783113)

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

So use vizualisation of some kind (3, Interesting)

Steemers (1031312) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Is this arbitrary? (1)

xch13fx (1463819) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783117)

or do development costs for an OS go up significantly when you hit that 3 app wall? Or did MS just pick something they could charge for as a feature. I could see brainstorming for this.."Well windows was so well received in the first place because it allowed users to multitask...Lets charge for it now they've been getting this multitasking feature free a little to long now!"

apps vs. windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26783121)

"the average consumer has open just over two applications [at any time] ... 70% of Windows users have between eight and 15 windows open at any one time"

This isn't contradictory. The average porn consumer (and really, what else is the internet good for?) probably usually only has one app open (Firefox), and about 80 windows. I know I usually do.

Hackers: Go to work! (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783125)

"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.

This is a call to hackers everywhere to release a tool that will defeat this nonsense the moment Windows 7 is released.

Or let's all help improve KDE 4.2 so that we can do what ever we want on the Windows platform. I see that the start [arstechnica.com] of KDE on Windows was not bad at all.

So... make sure one of your apps is a VM? (1)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783129)

If this news is true, then folks will find ways around it. Running a VM could be one. Or they will turn more to web apps -- hello, tabbed browsing!

Maybe this is actually an attempt to limit malware. If your computer is running multiple malicious background apps, suddenly you won't be able to run anything else, and users will become more careful about sites they visit, etc.??? Nah, that'll never work...

Re:So... make sure one of your apps is a VM? (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783267)

Or they'll apply a patch which removes the limitation. Or install that pirated version of Windows 7 Ultimate instead.

Assuming there's any truth to this story, I'm guessing IE doesn't count as an app but Firefox does...

Translation (1)

supermegadope (990952) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783135)

Translation: We have way to much money and taxes are getting to be a real pain in the but. What can we do to offload some of our users so I can spend more time chilling. This software business is hard work, if there was a way to have another company share the load with us it would be great.

The trend: (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783141)

More and more software that includes "anti-virus" functionality, such as media players, web browsers, email clients, etc ...

Do they ever learn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26783143)

This is how the public perception slowly turned against Vista - small snippets of negative information. Aside from being a horrendously incomplete OS when it shipped, Vista's problems began with little things like these - intentional crippling of the OS, multi-version release that didn't make any sense, elaborate DRM layers to prevent some hypothetical housewife from ripping HD content, etc.

This time around it is not enough to have a rock solid OS. Microsoft also needs to win the PR war and reverse the past damage Vista has caused. I can't see how replaying these things is going to help Windows 7.

It's like they had a meeting and concluded that Vista's problems were caused only by third-party drivers and not by things within their control.

Artificial limitation for extortion (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783165)

There is already a limit on how many apps you can run at the same time in Windows - it's called "your system's specs." We don't need another limit.

Q: Why would you pay for an operating system that deliberately keeps your computer from performing at its true potential?

A: You don't know any better.

Q: Why would Microsoft sell you that?

A: Um... to try to force you to buy an upgrade?

I can't think of any GOOD reason...

Is it April 1 already ? (5, Funny)

EMB Numbers (934125) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783175)

Is it April Fool's day already ?

I'm not defending this, but... (2, Insightful)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783189)

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.

Benefits? (1)

Rog-Mahal (1164607) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783199)

What benefits would come from limiting the number of apps being run? Stability? Speed? I assume it would allow for a smaller amount of ram and a less power-hungry processor, but are there other benefits?

that's funny... (2, Interesting)

Sfing_ter (99478) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783213)

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"?

Decadent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26783247)

Yeah; create artificial functional boundaries by squeezing and limit functionality wherever and whenever, because you can. Instead of helping and teaching people to *over* utilize it.

Though it has been done forever, it is decadent and perverse.

Okay, time to work (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783275)

Okay, time to work. Let's see:

MP3 player running .... check
IM client running .... check
Firefox running .... check

Now all I have to do is start Word and I'll be ready to work.

How Am I supposed to do work? (1)

workingstiff (221476) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783279)

I mean, if I'm checking for emails, and I'm surfing the web ... that doesn't leave me an ability to do work!

I always claimed Microsoft was impacting my performance at work in the past ... but even for me this is taking it a bit far ...

Enough with the FUD! (5, Insightful)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Enough with the FUD! (3, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#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...

Wall Street Journal Report and MS Release (1)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783299)

http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2009/02/06/microsofts-plan-to-upsell-windows-7/ [wsj.com]

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2009/feb09/02-03Win7SKU-QA.mspx [microsoft.com]

If MS really does this, they might as ship windows with a big icon on the middle of the screen that take people to apple Switch site. [apple.com] Perhaps they can demo the multimedia functions with a "I'm a Mac" commercial in Quicktime. People just need one more reason to switch. [easeintotheswitch.com]

Really as if the proliferation of windows versions weren't bad enough. This makes the major desktop versions of linux look easier to decipher.

Chrome? (2, Interesting)

Randy Savage (1465063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783307)

If Google Chrome opens a new thread for each tab, will Windows 7 Starter recognise this as one app or multiple?

Kiosk / Terminal (1)

ERJ (600451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783329)

Guess I am going to buck the trend here but I could see this being useful for kiosk / terminal applications. How many applications does that computer for looking up books run at your local library for instance.

Obviously this would not be good for you average desktop user but I see no issue for specific usage situations to save a few bucks.

smoke and mirrors (1)

roggg (1184871) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783331)

As near as I can tell, Starter Edition doesn't really exist as a viable product, and is simply there so MS can list Windows as starting at some low price in their marketing material. Honestly...who's going to use it with this kind of restriction?

next.. (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783355)

charging variable rates based on the alphanumeric distribution of a-z letters in the filename.

more letters, you pay more. more vowels, you pay more.


"If you drive a car car, I'll tax the street,
  If you try to sit sit, I'll tax your seat,
  If you get too cold cold, I'll tax the heat,
  If you take a walk walk, I'll tax your feet."

really - this is taxation applied to software.

I hope they do it, too - I'd like to see the MS empire finally crumble. this could do it. PLEASE over-tax us! please!

Is this the 70s ? (4, Insightful)

slashdotlurker (1113853) | more than 5 years ago | (#26783373)

And did I miss the transition to a multi-tasking OS somewhere ?
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