Microsoft has been growing its share of the Netbook segment in recent months, but it's largely on the back of the company's older Windows XP product, rather than Windows Vista.
The trend toward the small, cheap notebooks has not been lost on the software maker, however. When the topic turns to Windows 7 at the Professional Developers Conference next week, I would expect the software maker to talk about an operating system that can run well on all manner of laptops, including the ultra-low-end.
It's just one of many topics expected to come up at the conference, which takes place in downtown Los Angeles next week. CNET News will be there in force with live blogs, analysis, and some really high-level executive interviews. You can find all our PDC coverage both now and during the show from our PDC special coverage page.
Most of the Windows talk at next week's show will come Tuesday, on day two of the event, while the first day's keynote speech is expected to focus on "Windows Cloud," or "Windows Strata," or whatever the company has decided to call its cloud-based operating system. Steve Ballmer mentioned Microsoft might have a trademark by the time of PDC, but my search Friday didn't turn up anything for Windows Cloud or Windows Strata.
Day two will also feature talk of Office 14, the next version of Office, with sources saying that the company will show off some features, including its ability to run inside a Web browser.
As for the Netbooks, it's a critical segment for Microsoft to be competitive in, growing far faster than the market as a whole. It's also the first slice of the desktop market where Microsoft has seen a significant level of competition from Linux.
After many of the initial models were Linux only, Microsoft has hustled back with versions of XP that can run on flash-based memory. As some of the Netbooks have started to come with traditional hard drives, some Vista models, such as HP's 2133, have also cropped up.
Microsoft has declined to comment on Windows 7 ahead of the conference. The company has said that it will outline the product in detail and give attendees a pre-beta version of the operating system.