Ah, Microsoft, that crazy company from Redmond, WA is at again. This time they want to rename the Netbook unilaterally to the...drum roll please..."low cost small notebook PC."
As first reported in the Digitimes last week, Microsoft decided on their own that the name was not appropriate and they were renaming it. I'm fairly sure they didn't consult with the rest of the industry about this change, but hey they're Microsoft right? They can do whatever they please. Of course, it doesn't mean the rest of the world has to go along.
Same Old Song and Dance
I doubt very much that anyone was actually looking for a new name, certainly not Intel, the company selling the chips to power these machines, which actually coined the term. This is after all a hardware issue and the last I looked Microsoft doesn't actually make PCs, but why should that stop them from trying to force an entire industry to bow to their considerable will.
Even if the Netbook industry were looking for a new name, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be from the succinct "Netbook" to the mouthful of "Low cost small notebook PC." Sure, that rolls off the tongue and should make the folks who write the marketing copy very happy.
It's Really About Selling Windows 7
Digitimes reports that Steven Guggenheimer, corporate vice president, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Division, Microsoft said the Netbook name suggests it's only for internet use and these machines can do so much more. On this we can agree, but why change the name? If Netbook sales were anemic maybe one could understand a pitch for a change, but they seem to be doing quite well.
Could it be that Microsoft doesn't trust the hardware manufacturers to name these machines correctly or for the public to understand what they are without being hit over the head? No, as it turns out that's not it at all. What it's about is selling more expensive copies of Windows 7. You see, by creating a new higher end Netbook, they can justify forcing the manufactures to adopt a more expensive version of Windows 7. In the end. this is just a ploy for selling a few more copies of the more expensive version of Windows.
Command and Control
It's moves like this that make Microsoft the target of ridicule. When I first heard about this last week, my reaction was that Microsoft just makes it too easy for bloggers like me. You can't make this stuff up even if it sounds like it came straight from the Onion.
Idiocy, hubris, chutzpah, arrogance? Choose your word. Regardless Microsoft really needs to find a clue. Sure, I get that they are trying to sell more expensive copies of Windows 7 by creating a new category of computers, but this is ridiculous even for Microsoft, a company that seems to continually trip over its own considerable corporate shadow.