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Microsoft to exclude ARM netbooks for Windows 7

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Microsoft's MSFT.O new Windows 7 operating system will not run on netbooks powered by ARM ARM.L chips, Microsoft said on Wednesday, a blow to the British firm's hopes of becoming a big player in the sector.

A worker wearing special 3D glasses tries playing a game on a computer enabled with the Microsoft Windows 7 platform during the 2009 Computex exhibition in Taipei June 2, 2009. REUTERS/Nicky Loh

The news comes days after ARM said it planned to grab a foothold in the fast-growing netbook market this year, and that it was aiming for a 30 percent share of the entire market next year.

ARM previously said netbooks using its chipsets would run on an operating system based on the open-source Linux system, which it says it prefers for its lower cost and the fact programmers can tailor it to their needs.

“For people who want a PC, albeit a different chipset, we don’t think those will work very well,” Steve Guggenheimer, Microsoft’s corporate vice-president for original equipment manufacturers, told Reuters during an interview at Computex.

“We sort of learnt in the last year that if it looks like a PC and acts like a PC, people want the features and benefits of a PC.”

No one at ARM was immediately available for comment.

Guggenheimer also said he did not think consumers would begin choosing Google's GOOG.O Android operating system over Microsoft, pointing to possible compatibility issues, its Linux core and a lack of supporting software.

His comments come a day after Acer 2353.TW became the first company to announce it would sell a PC running on Android, a move that could threaten Microsoft's stranglehold on the PC operating system market.

“I’m somewhat skeptical that consumers will begin running to Android right now. You’ll still want your printer to work, you’ll still want your software to work,” Guggenheimer said.

“There’s a lack of a complete ecosystem around Android.”

The company also does not expect the same problems with its new Windows 7 operating system that it saw with Vista, as both programs work on the same core, Guggenheimer said.

Microsoft said on Tuesday Windows 7 would be launched on October 22, and would be released to manufacturers in late July, ahead of its original schedule and in time for the peak holiday shopping season at the end of the year.

“Vista had some issues at the start because we were starting from a new core. This time, any computer that works with Vista will work with Windows 7.”

Reporting by Kelvin Soh, editing by Will Waterman