Six Different Versions Of Windows 7? Didn’t Microsoft Learn Anything From The Last Time They Tried This? [UPDATED]

According to an article on PCPro, Microsoft in its infinite wisdom has decided that the world needs six versions of Windows 7. You read that correctly, six different versions. The versions according to the article will be:

Starter Edition: A lightweight version for netbook computers, that will only be capable of running three applications concurrently. It will lack the vast majority of the advanced features, such as Media Center and touchscreen support, but will include the new Taskbar and Home Group feature.

Home Basic: For emerging markets only. Microsoft has, bizarrely, appeared to swap the meaning of Starter and Home Basic. Intended to “access the internet and run basic productivity applications”.

Home Premium: The mainstay version that Microsoft will put the majority of its marketing weight behind. Will include Media Center, touchscreen support, full Aero glass graphics, improved media format support and streaming, and the option to easily share files across a home network with the new Libraries feature.

Professional: A business version for home workers and small businesses not operating on a volume licence. Will include features such as advanced network backup and Encrypting File System. However, BitLocker encryption is once again reserved for the Enterprise and Ultimate editions.

Enterprise: For volume licence customers. Will include all the Professional features, plus BitLocker protection – including the new option to encrypt USB flash drives and external hard disks. Will also include DirectAccess, which allows remote workers to securely access a company network without a VPN.

Ultimate: The all-encompassing version of Windows 7, although there’s no repeat of Vista’s much-maligned Ultimate Extras. Branded as the “no compromise SKU for tech enthusiasts” it will include every single feature available in Windows 7.

Oh, I’m not done yet. Accoding to a different PCPro article, each version will have a completely different subset of Windows 7 features.

Confused yet? Imagine how “Joe Average” will feel.

Keep in mind the last time they tried this with Vista, Apple got a lot of mileage out of it. Not to mention that it caused confusion in the marketplace.

I suspect that history is about to repeat itself.

UPDATE: The Globe And Mail is reporting that Microsoft will pimp heavily promote Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional. The software giant claims that this move will “make these choices as simple and clear as possible for customers and partners.” That may be the case Microsoft, but you’re still selling six different versions which means that someone will ask which version they need.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: