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More Reader Feedback: Windows Lockdown and Netbooks

It's been so long since we've run reader e-mails that we just can't help ourselves. You're getting a double dose this week! Let's pick up with Microsoft patenting technology to lock down the operating system. Joseph can kind of see where Microsoft is going with this:

"It is a rather interesting technology, actually, and I can see its uses, such as with Windows Unified Data Storage Server, where legally according to the license you can only install anti-virus, storage management and backup software. Of course, currently there is really nothing stopping you from installing whatever you want on your HP AIO Storage Server. Also, I can especially see it being useful for medical device vendors where they could be held responsible for an OS crash that causes someone to somehow die if the hospital IT department installs something it shouldn't."

Goodness, we hadn't thought of that, but that's why we ask for reader feedback. Death by Windows -- now that's grim. Talk about a blue screen...

Bryan is more on our wavelength on this issue:

"This can't be a serious question. [Well, sort of...but not really. --L.P.] No one should control the OS except the customer. That answer is so obvious that I'd worry about anyone who answered differently. Yes, a contracted outsourced IT support provider may actually deliver the control, but they effectively become part of the customer when they enter into the outsourcing agreement. They should be doing what the customer demands and requires, no more, no less.

"I would never let an ISV or vendor partner dictate what I can and cannot do with the workstations under my control."

Brian, we're right there with you. We figure most other folks in the industry and elsewhere are, too. Surely Microsoft understands that.

Finally, our e-mail of the week, maybe of the month. On the topic of Microsoft so graciously letting netbooks run more than three applications at a time in Windows 7, Kurt gives us -- and Microsoft -- something to think about:

"The article about Window 7 Starter Edition on netbooks being limited to only four concurrent applications got me thinking about the following: My BlackBerry Storm allows me to toggle between more than just four applications, LOL [that's the second 'LOL' we've had in an e-mail in this edition of RCPU, an unprecedented event --L.P.], and it only cost me $100 after a $50 rebate from VerizonWireless.com. Although the touch screen is only about the size of a 3"-by-5" note card, having the portability, all-day battery life and combination of a cell phone, GPS, 8GB flash drive, camera, video recorder, multimedia player, voice recorder and computer all in one device is a huge plus. I can do just about anything on my BlackBerry that I can do on Windows. In fact, if I could dock my BlackBerry as the CPU in a tablet-clamshell- type add-on device to achieve a full-size keyboard and LCD monitor, then why would I need Windows? [Let us just step in here: Why indeed, Kurt? We're not sure, either. --L.P.]

"If I were Microsoft, I would try to make Windows 7 on the netbook as functional as possible, rather than risk losing this popular new niche to a competitor such as BlackBerry. Kind of like what happened with Apple and the iPod. However, because of BlackBerry's unique heritage as a much leaner but robust business-aware operating system, perhaps it is a better fit as a netbook device OS."

Kurt, don't be too frightened by this, but our minds are running in the same channel here. Windows won't necessarily rule the technology world forever. The game is changing. We'll have to wait and see how or whether Microsoft changes with it. Thanks very much for that little vision of tomorrow's (actually today's) world.

Have anything to add? Add it at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on June 04, 2009 at 11:55 AM