Microsoft kills Windows 7 Starter's 3-app limit

Microsoft today dropped a limitation from Windows 7 Starter, the edition expected to ship on most netbooks, that would have blocked users from running more than three applications at the same time.

"It's been rumored all week," said Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft. "I think it just makes sense. They've gotten the performance of Windows 7 on netbooks pretty good, and it was only going to cause confusion for people if they'd kept the [three-application] limit."

In an , Microsoft spokesman Brandon LeBlanc announced the change. "Based on the feedback we've received from partners and customers asking us to enable a richer small notebook PC experience with Windows 7 Starter ... we are going to enable Windows 7 Starter customers the ability to run as many applications simultaneously as they would like, instead of being constricted to the 3-application limit that the previous Starter editions," LeBlanc said.

Earlier editions of Windows XP Starter and Windows Vista Starter, both of which were sold only in a small number of markets outside the U.S., came with the three-app restriction.

Microsoft was roundly criticized by bloggers last month after the Wall Street Journal ran a story about the artificial limitations it was planning for Windows 7 Starter. One Computerworld blogger called it the " I can ever recall, while another officially dubbed Starter

Unlike Windows XP's and Vista's entry-level edition, Windows 7 Starter will be available to computer makers worldwide, including those selling within the U.S.