Every time Microsoft releases a new operating system, it's bigger and more bloated than the previous one. There's an inkling that Windows may have hit high tide with Vista, and the bloat will ebb when Windows 7 arrives. It would be a welcome change.The items scheduled for the chopping block supposedly include Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Mail, and Windows Movie Maker. None of those are best-of-breed applications, and antitrust issues prevent Microsoft from modifying them to be a revenue generator or traffic driver for Microsoft's own online services.
Microsoft's motives here aren't entirely related to bloat reduction, since by leaving out these applications they can push their own utilities linked to the Windows Live service. There's no guarantee that users will choose Windows Live, though; they might go to Flickr, GMail, or other non-Microsoft cloud services instead. The good news is that it is the user's choice. Whatever users pick, they won't have bundled-but-unused Windows applications cluttering up the drive.
Of course, knocking out a few nonessential applications doesn't guarantee that the overall size of Windows 7 will be smaller. Microsoft needs to attack not just the trimmings of the operating system, but also the main course. Vista can't fit onto small notebooks, and Microsoft has had to keep XP on life support in order to offer something there. Some version of Windows 7 needs to run on these tiny systems, which are increasingly popular and don't seem like they're going away.