When all six versions
of Windows 7 were announced, we couldn't help but recoil in horror -- most still don't have all the flavors of Vista straight and now we all have to learn a new recipe for confusion. Microsoft, however, is quite confident that this array of offerings will fix one of its biggest woes: netbooks. If the wee things are running Windows at all it's usually XP, an issue that the company thinks Windows 7 Starter will address, acting as the low-cost intro Vista never was. With Starter's ability to run only three applications simultaneously, MS believes users will get quickly frustrated and then pony up extra cash to move to Home Basic or Home Premium. Will it work? HP at least has pledged
to offer Win 7 on its netbooks, and we found the beta ran quite well on our VAIO P
, so the shift from XP seems inevitable. Whether Starter Edition will push more people to Home Basic than to Linux, however, remains to be seen.