ZDNet: $800 MacBook Puts the Squeeze on Microsoft & Partners

With the onerous Vista hardware requirements conflicting with a low cost PC notebook, an $800 Apple MacBook would make customers think longer and harder about whether to go with Vista or Mac OS X, according to ZDNet on Thursday.

Microsoft isnit sitting still, wrote Mary-Jo Foley, but it still has a problem. Ultra-low-cost PCs (ULPCs) run Linux very nicely and are growing in popularity because they are simpler and faster than Vista at getting Internet tasks done. Thatis why Microsoft allows makers of ULPCs to continue to install Windows XP.

There are other initiatives at work, both internal and external to Microsoft to make the lost cost notebooks easier to use. The PC|3 project at Microsoft is aimed at "improving the mobile PC experience," according to Microsoft VP Bill Mitchell and his PC|3 team.

In the meantime, however, Microsoft has left the door open just a bit for Apple and a lower cost MacBook. When customers have a choice between a slow Vista notebook loaded with crapware -- which could also be on the way out -- and a low cost Mac, they could well continue the trend that has sent MacBook sales soaring.