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Microsoft and Intel are in talks with ASUS about a stripped down version of the Eee PC

As if users needed another reason to endorse the ASUS Eee PC, it looks like Intel and Microsoft may both embrace the project with open arms. 

One ASUS employee close to the project, speaking on terms of anonymity added, "Originally, we used Linux to save on the cost.  However, after the launch, Microsoft contacted us to offer Windows XP with discount licensing."

The employee was able to confirm the Windows license will be a stripped-down version of Windows XP, specifically designed for emerging markets.  This Microsoft-ready Eee PC will carry a premium somewhere between $30 and $60 over the base cost of the system.

The company already supports "unofficial" installs of Windows XP on existing Eee PCs.

ASUS is not shy with its ambitions for Eee PC in 2008.  In a memo circulated to Eee PC team members at ASUS Headquarters, project leaders boldly declared the company plans to ship 3.8 million Eees for its next fiscal year.  By contrast, the OLPC project has committed to 425,000 notebooks for all of 2007. 

The company has not revealed its sales numbers for 2007 yet.  However, things must be looking pretty good at ASUS as the project has also garnered much attention from Intel. 

Intel, which announced its Classmate PC reference design in 2006, internally proclaims the ASUS Eee PC the greatest success of the Classmate project.  The Eee, which is quickly becoming the darkhorse of the affordable sub-notebook market, uses Intel processors; MIT's OLPC project uses AMD Geode processors.




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