Microsoft Notebooks Headed for a Price War with Google Chromebooks

A battle is brewing on the notebook front, and customers are going to be the big winners – that is, customers who want low-end systems. Microsoft is lowering its license fees to help manufacturers like HP produce low-cost Windows notebooks that can take on Google’s Chromebooks. With systems expected to arrive in time for the holidays, you’re probably going to have a lot of options for updating the kids’ old notebooks.

Word of Microsoft’s play for the margin-slim low-end comes from Kevin Turner, chief operating officer at Microsoft, who discussed the move during the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference. He mentioned upcoming Windows notebooks from Acer, HP, and Toshiba, all of which will be rolling out for $249 or less. In fact, HP’s Stream notebook is expected to be available for $199.

Microsoft is lowering license fees on Windows for entry-level notebooks like the Acer Aspire ES1
Acer Aspire ES1

Acer’s Aspire ES1 is already on the market with an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of memory, a 500GB hard drive and a 15.6-inch screen. Details are slim on specifications for the upcoming HP Stream notebooks, but Toshiba’s entry-level system is expected to have an 11.6-inch screen and a 32GB SSD drive. Whether these systems will really sway customers who would otherwise have picked up a Chromebook remains to be seen, but it’s going to give many shoppers more budget options when holiday shopping picks up this year, and that’s something.