One of the things that many consumers were confused by when Windows Vista launched was all of the different versions available. Some versions lacked many of the new features that Microsoft talked about so frequently, like the Aero interface.
Other versions lacked useful things like the Media Center applications and remote desktop. It was very hard for consumers to know that they were getting the components they needed or wanted with all of the versions of Vista floating around. The multiple versions of Vista also provided Apple with fodder for mockery when Steve Jobs stated at a press conference that the new version of Mac OS X would come in Basic version for $99, Home version for $99, and Ultimate version for $99.
Ars Technica reports that Microsoft has now confirmed that multiple versions of Windows 7 will be offered as well. Among the choices will be Windows 7 Starter Edition, Windows 7 Home Basic Edition, Windows 7 Home Premium Edition, Windows 7 Professional Edition, Windows 7 Ultimate Edition, and Windows 7 Enterprise Edition.
All of the versions will be offered globally except for the Home Basic version, which is aimed at emerging markets. That means it's too cheap and lacks the profitability Microsoft wants for consumers in America. The Windows Starter edition will only be offered from OEMs on new PCs.
Microsoft believes that most users will opt for the Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate editions and these will be the only versions that users will be allowed to upgrade to. Microsoft believes that Windows 7 Pro and Home Premium will meet the majority of users needs.
If you are wondering, what the versions will offer that differ from each other Ars Technica has a nice chart that sums it up well:
- Windows 7 Starter (worldwide via OEM only): up to three concurrent applications, ability to join a Home Group, improved taskbar and JumpLists
- Windows 7 Home Basic (emerging markets): unlimited applications, live thumbnail previews and enhanced visual experience, advanced networking support (ad-hoc wireless networks and Internet connection sharing), and Mobility Center
- Windows 7 Home Premium (worldwide): Aero Glass and advanced windows navigation, improved media format support, enhancements to Windows Media Center and media streaming, including Play To, multi-touch and improved handwriting recognition
- Windows 7 Professional (worldwide): ability to join a managed network with Domain Join, data protection with advanced network backup and Encrypting File System, and print to the right printer at home or work with Location Aware Printing
- Windows 7 Ultimate (worldwide): BitLocker data protection on internal and external drives, DirectAccess for seamless connectivity to corporate networks based on Windows Server 2008 R2, BranchCache support when on networks based on Windows Server 2008 R2, and lock unauthorized software from running with AppLocker
- Windows 7 Enterprise (volume licenses): same as Ultimate, includes the following improvements: DirectAccess, BranchCache, Search, BitLocker, AppLocker, Virtualization Enhancements, Management, as well as Compatibility and Deployment.
We reported yesterday that only five versions of Windows 7 would be offered. That number left the Windows 7 Home Basic edition for emerging markets off the list. It's interesting to note that there is already confusion over how many versions of Windows 7 there are. We and other outlets reported five versions this week, then we found out there were six versions, now PC Mag reports that there are seven versions of Windows 7. Apparently they are counting the ones I mention here plus a special version for netbooks.
Via Ars Technica