According to an article on Computerworld, Microsoft plans to offer six different versions of Windows 7. For developed markets, Microsoft will focus marketing efforts on two versions; Windows 7 Home Premium for consumers, and Windows 7 Professional for business customers. The lightest version of the OS will be Windows 7 Starter Edition. It limits users to a maximum of three open applications. This version will be intended for developing markets.
Windows 7 Starter Edition will also be made available to OEM's for installation on netbooks in all markets. This is presumably so that MS can finally end the sales of Windows XP to the netbook makers. I find it hilarious that Microsoft will offer such a limited, pathetic product for the netbook market. This will be a huge opportunity for the Linux community to educate the public about the plethora of free, feature complete Linux distributions available to run on their netbooks.
Another limiting factor for Windows 7 - Microsoft's got a strategy to offer easy OS upgrades from one version to the next. The user would purchase a license online from MS and enter the license key on their computer to unlock the higher version. The key enabler for the easy upgrade is for the full premium to be already installed on the system. The purchased license key will simply unlock the greater feature set for the consumer. This will limit Windows 7's usefulness on the lower spec'd netbooks with only a few gigabytes of disk space. Will 8 GB of flash memory be enough to hold a Window's 7 installation along with the user's files?