As the line dividing netbooks and entry-level notebooks continues to blur, Microsoft has been trying to make a clear distinction between the two to protect profit margins and ensure discounts are only awarded to devices that meet certain guidelines. For example, the company will sell a low-cost version of Windows 7 only for devices with a single-core processor, up to 250GB HDD or 64GB SSD, and no more than 1GB of RAM. Likewise, Intel has its own set of rules, and it seems as if they are not happy with Samsung and Lenovo’s latest offerings.
The company has reportedly punished Samsung and Lenovo by canceling their preferential Atom pricing, after the two companies broke Intel’s netbook restrictions. Considering both have or are planning to launch Ion-based netbooks, it would seem that Intel attempting to stamp down on Nvidia’s platform rather than anything else, but according to DigiTimes it has to do with screen size. Lenovo already launched its 12.1-inch Ideapad S12 whilst Samsung is expected to launch the 11.6-inch N510 this month. Intel, however, along with Microsoft have set the screen limit for netbooks to 10.2-inches or below.
Intel has declined to comment on this citing “customer confidentiality,” though I’d be interested to know if Acer’s recently launched 11.6-inch Aspire One 751 netbook was subject to the same penalty. Otherwise it would seem as if they’ve not learned a thing despite getting a record $1.45 billion antitrust fine in Europe recently.