SAn Engadget tipster took snapshots of a Microsoft survey that popped up on his Vista screen. The survey probes the customer's interest in an "Instant On scenario," in which the customer would sacrifice some applications or features in exchange for an eight-second boot time and much, much longer battery life. Aftermarket products like SplashTop already exist. Dell will ship you an instant-on laptop right now. So why doesn't Microsoft just buy SplashTop?It's this simple: All the current instant-on solutions involve packing the computer with a flash memory chip, one that contains a downsized operating system. Guess what operating system? Dell and SplashTop both use Linux. For Microsoft, bundling Linux into a Windows computer is still unthinkable. Okay, they can think about it, but the survey makes sense. Microsoft will either need to accept Linux as part of the product, or much more likely spin off yet another mini-Windows, as the company did for PC games and cell phones. Can you see Steve Ballmer's face? I'd rather be the senior vice president who tells him we can all relax about Instant On — nobody wants it.
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