TechRadar heard from Mark Croft, Microsoft Director of OEM Worldwide Marketing, that $200 netbooks with Windows 7 Starter Edition will be available in the US this holiday season, and systems based on the the NVIDIA Ion platform should be available for around $250.
Some OEMs will continue to offer Linux netbooks, although Croft repeats stories of higher return rates than Windows models: "I have heard from big US retailers that they are seeing a disproportionate amount of returns."
And although the Starter Edition will be an option for Windows 7 netbooks, "we are clearly going to market to customers that Home Premium is the default. We've made our case to the OEMs; we've shared some analyst data with them about customer preferences."
But there will be netbooks with Starter Edition and that will drop prices lower than ever, he predicts. "We have a couple of the OEMs continuing down a path to be very aggressive on price. It puts the pressure on everyone. We're anticipating opening price points to reach about $200 at least in the US market this holiday season, and another $50 maybe for Nvidia Ion machines."