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Windows 7 To Come In Multiple Versions 821

Posted by kdawson
from the win-7-ready dept.
Crazy Taco writes "Tom's Hardware reports on newly discovered screenshots that reveal Microsoft is planning to release their newest version of Windows in multiple confusing versions ... again. The information comes from the latest version of the Windows 7 beta, build 7025 (the public beta is build 7000), and shows a screen during installation that asks the user which version of the OS he or she would like to install. Who's up for guessing what the difference is between Windows 7 'Starter' and Windows 7 'Home Basic?'"
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Windows 7 To Come In Multiple Versions

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  • by TheMidnight (1055796) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @10:40PM (#26633105)
    Windows Starter edition comes without the Pipes screensaver?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @10:42PM (#26633139)

      Windows Starter edition comes without the Pipes screensaver?

      But that's the best feature!

      • The reality... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gravos (912628) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:48PM (#26633879) Homepage
        First of all, all of those flavors were available for Vista as well. Starter was only marketed for emerging markets.

        Second of all, all of those builds have been available since the early days of Windows 7. This isn't something they recently added in to 7025, it's been there the entire time as a carry-over from Vista.

        Just because these versions are randomly available in a pre-release version of an OS doesn't mean they'll still be there by the time it's actually released.
        • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @02:14AM (#26635117)

          Exactly. The only place I've heard about the "Disasterous Confusion" of vista's multiple versions is on Slashdot.

          Who's up for guessing what the difference is between Windows 7 'Starter' and Windows 7 'Home Basic?

          There is another method... it's far more effective than guessing. You could... look at the feature list.

          http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-vista/compare-editions/default.aspx [microsoft.com]

          OMG The confusion!!!

          Let me break it down for ya'all

          Do you need remote desktop?
          Ultimate or Business.

          Do you need Faxes?
          Ultimate or Business.

          Do you need Media Center?
          Home Premium or Ultimate.

          Do you want to burn DVDs and HD-DVDs out of the box?
          Home Premium or Ultimate.

          Do you live in a third world country and have flies on your face?
          Home Basic

          Was that REALLY so difficult?

      • by deepershade (994429) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:51PM (#26633907)
        Thats only because it's the only feature thats stable.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:29AM (#26634263)

        For you Google chrome users...

        Point your browser to: about:internets

    • by davester666 (731373) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @10:56PM (#26633277) Journal

      "Starter Edition" just lets you install Windows 7, and when it reboots, it pops up a dialog where you must either shutdown, or type in your credit card information to pay for an upgrade to "Home Basic" edition.

    • Re:Survey says.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunityNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:00PM (#26633339) Homepage

      The confusion is quite ridiculous. I mean really, when the fscking salespeople need to look up tables to determine which windows versions include which features, you can tell someone somewhere in marketing has screwed the pooch badly.

      Maybe MS is preying on the fact that most consumers will be too stupid to know they're buying more than they need, or too elitist to buy just what they will use instead of getting "Ultimate". Either way, they make more money.

      I have nothing against them making money, but hawking feature incomplete operating systems at rock bottom price just to artificially create the appearance of choice drives me nuts.

      • Re:Survey says.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tubegeek (958995) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:21PM (#26633607) Homepage
        It's gotten so bad, it's not even any fun to mock them anymore - machine-gunning fish in a barrel is a challenge by comparison.
      • Re:Survey says.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by darkpixel2k (623900) <aaron@heyaaron.com> on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:56PM (#26633953) Homepage

        The confusion is quite ridiculous. I mean really, when the fscking salespeople need to look up tables to determine which windows versions include which features, you can tell someone somewhere in marketing has screwed the pooch badly.

        After being in the Linux arena for several years, I ran into a client that needed a Windows solution. CDW was their preferred vendor. I called them for a quote....and spent the better part of my work day on the phone with the account rep, and some odd sort of Microsoft licensing rep trying to figure out the correct licensing for a handfull of workstations, and two servers.

        Strange combinations of eOpen licenses for workstations, and server CALs, but then special CALs for having more than 1 server on an SBS network, and then a license for SQL, and then Office under some other 'open' license, plus a few standalone apps from the office suite for computers that only needed Word or PowerPoint, etc...

        What a huge fucking nightmare. With all the time spent dealing with the licensing, a company could probably save money if Microsoft had a 'dumptruck licensing plan' where you simply drove them a dump truck full of money every 6 months and you could use whatever software in whatever situation.

        My linux licenses are so much easier.
        Server: $0
        Workstation: $0
        Database (MySQL or Postgresql): $0
        Jabber collaboration server: $0
        Development workstation (with any combination of vi, vim, emacs, openkomodo, kate, eclipse, etc...): $5
        (Actually, my linux sales rep says 'Just kidding stupid, it's $0')

        • Re:Survey says.... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Thinboy00 (1190815) <thinboy00&gmail,com> on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @01:52AM (#26634953) Journal

          My linux licenses are so much easier.

          Server: $0

          Workstation: $0

          Database (MySQL or Postgresql): $0

          Jabber collaboration server: $0

          Development workstation (with any combination of vi, vim, emacs, openkomodo, kate, eclipse, etc...): $5

          (Actually, my linux sales rep says 'Just kidding stupid, it's $0')

          A fully functional server: Priceless.

        • Re:Survey says.... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MichaelSmith (789609) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @02:18AM (#26635145) Homepage Journal
          I have never had to work with Microsoft licensing but I have had to do it with Rational and IBM products. I think the licensing system is there to generate support revenue. If the actual product doesn't generate enough calls then make the licensing more complicated.
        • Actually... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by YuppieScum (1096) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @05:08AM (#26636103) Journal

          With all the time spent dealing with the licensing, a company could probably save money if Microsoft had a 'dumptruck licensing plan' where you simply drove them a dump truck full of money every 6 months and you could use whatever software in whatever situation.

          This does actually exist, although not quite in the terms you describe, as the enterprise licensing agreement.

          The investment bank I recently worked for paid MS a fixed amount per "seat" per year, which gave them carte blanche to deploy as much end-user and server software (Office, Server OS, MS-SQL, Exchange, Sharepoint, Virtual Server, HyperVisor and so forth) as they wanted.

          Developers are handled in a similar fashion - you pay x per developer, and that gives you MSDN access, all the dev tools, documentation, and support.

          In passing, this is why VMWare ended up making their server editions no-cost - any company on the enterprise deal gets as much virtualisation as they want for effectively free... the VMWare reps would turn up and ask what it would take for us to use their product in our server consolidation projects, and the answer was always "be the same price..."

    • Re:Survey says.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob&hotmail,com> on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:06PM (#26633421) Journal
      Windows Starter edition comes without the Pipes screensaver?

      The XP Starter edition was a crippled version of XP intended to reduce piracy in countries where people couldn't afford full-priced versions.

      It was limited to 800 x 600 resolution, classic mode only - no theming, only three applications running, and a network restricted to an internet connection, not home networking.

      The press at the time called it "cut-rate," "cheap," "crippled," and "futile. Users in emerging nations ignored it and continued pirating XP.

      Expect the Windows 7 Starter Edition to have similar restrictions.

      • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @03:06AM (#26635443) Homepage Journal
        Even if you shell out some bucks, their os is still worthless. Case in point:

        Go out an grab a copy windows server 2k3, enterprise edition. Sounds like it is just like the ship, right? Tons of phasers, holodecks, and fun toys. It will have everything you need.

        Set it up as an application server, and see how many connections they allow. You have to buy a friggen extra license if you want to say set it up to allow more than a couple of people to log on. AND...you have to install a special service somewhere on the network to manage it.

        Just think of that: it actually takes writing extra code once you set up the service protocols to limit the number of connections, and make sure that you aren't exceeding the number of connections you have paid for. They paid programmers to limit the number of connections that the OS would allow, to make more money off licenses. If I set up a Linux server, I could open connections (for free) until my RAM exploded.

        Even when you try to play the game their way, and buy the biggest, most expensive OS on the shelf, they will still try to fuck you over with an incomplete product.

        Go read my old posts. I am generally easy going in regards to MS overall, and I will not advise anyone to buy their operating systems. They are utter garbage.
    • by beav007 (746004) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:08PM (#26633439) Journal

      Windows Starter edition comes without the Pipes screensaver?

      I believe it still comes with the "Tubes" screensaver though.

      To start the "Tubes" screensaver, open the program with an icon that looks like a blue 'e'. Click around to different places for a little while to enable all the features.

      The "Tubes" screensaver takes the appearance of the Windows desktop, getting covered with overlays that flash and blink, show pictures of naked women playing with animals, and games where you get to hit monkeys.

      "Tubes" has been included with Windows since Windows 95.

    • by kybred (795293) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:11PM (#26633483)
      No Start button?
  • how is this news? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Omega996 (106762) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @10:41PM (#26633119)
    I mean, my copy of the beta from TechNet says right on the login screen 'Windows 7 Ultimate'.
    That would imply a product selection similar to Vista...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Khuffie (818093)
      It's so we have an excuse to flame Microsoft, as per usual.

      I really have no problems with multiple versions, however...I do think Microsoft needs to cut down on the number of versions they had. The need for 'starter' is for netbooks or 3rd world countries, sure. Other than that, there should be just "Home" and "Business".
  • The difference (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rewind (138843) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @10:42PM (#26633135) Homepage

    If I remember right, starter is a stripped down version they just sell in developing countries at a big discount in at attempt to combat some piracy by giving users a low priced option. Home would just be home again like in XP. Business would be enterprise. It is the ones after that where it gets pointless and confusing. They would do better to stick with home and pro. Then an ultimate after that if they just MUST toss in extras.

    • So... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @10:48PM (#26633187)
      Starter is basically the version you ask for if your going to replace with Linux.

      Priced low enough that you couldn't be arsed to ask for a refund

    • by AdamPee (1243018) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @10:50PM (#26633211)
      I'll just hold out for Windows Cool Ranch.
  • by spankyofoz (445751) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @10:43PM (#26633145)

    I've got big issues with artifically crippled software, where all versions come on the same install media.

    It's like buying a car with 12 cylinders and having a switch hidden under the hood somewhere that controls the number of cylinders used. You buy the budget model, still have to cart around the weight of all 12 cylinders, but only get to use 4 of them.

    • by rm999 (775449) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @10:52PM (#26633233)

      Your analogy doesn't work. By stripping out features, an operating system can actually run faster. My only experience is with XP, but the Home addition stripped out features most people wouldn't need, and ran faster out the box. At an extreme, a highly-regarded (but of questionable legality) version of Windows called tinyXP speeds up Windows considerably by stripping out tons of features and services 90% of people will never use.

      I prefer an operating system to come lean and fast, and to allow me the option to add features I want.

      • by humphrm (18130) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:20PM (#26633593) Homepage

        I wouldn't mind the stripped down version if features could be added piecemeal. For instance, I prefer a stripped down, lean running Home Edition of XP on the one Windows box I run. But, I'd also like for it to sync my SAMBA-served home directory automatically. There's a sync tool that MS distributes separately, but it doesn't work the same, it's basically a file copier. Unfortunately I can't get the sync tools built in to Windows without upgrading to a version that has a lot of features I don't need.

        THIS is why I don't like the Windows sales model.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hardburn (141468)

      It's more likely that they don't ship on the same install media (at least in this case), since they're likely compiled with different options. For instance, desktops want low latency premptive multitasking, while servers and (sometimes) workstations want high throughput, which could be done with a different config at compile time (it is on Linux, though the Windows kernel is a bit further towards the microkernel side of things).

      It also used to be that a lot of closed source software for servers limited how

    • by carlzum (832868) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:05PM (#26633401)
      I don't mind a distinction between workstation and server versions of an OS, or a cheaper basic version stripped of bundled crap like media software and bad productivity suites (like MS Works).

      But I find the Vista versions really objectionable. It's a dishonest scheme to milk PC buyers. The buyer wants to know what version is right for him, and the salesman says "you want a great looking interface for that great computer you just bought, right? Well, you'll need the Premium Edition. How about backups, you don't want to lose your files? OK, you'll need the Business Edition. Wait, you want backups and be able to create DVDs right? Great, I'll ring you up for the Ultimate Edition."
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by R3d M3rcury (871886)

      There was an old saw about IBM mainframes I remember hearing. Don't know if it's true...

      Essentially, somebody with an IBM mainframe had decided to upgrade to the next higher level and gave IBM a big hunk of money to do so. One day, the FE arrived to do the upgrade. He went over to the mainframe, pulled out a circuit board, and cut a resistor.

      *POOF* 50% faster.

    • by daybot (911557) * on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:47PM (#26633871)

      It's like buying a car with 12 cylinders and having a switch hidden under the hood somewhere that controls the number of cylinders used. You buy the budget model, still have to cart around the weight of all 12 cylinders, but only get to use 4 of them.

      Ssssh! They have the Internet in Detroit now...

  • by zappepcs (820751) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @10:46PM (#26633165) Journal

    I always wondered why they didn't just call it Windows 7 or whatever code name and then distribute it with application packs, which would include application packs such as:
    server app pack
    home/media app pack
    basics/offic app pack

    The way they do it, joe public can't really be sure what version they have. Hell, there are a lot of end users that don't know if they are currently running XP or Vista (but you can tell by complaints about performance LOL).

    I think that Ubuntu, Fedora and others could use with that sort of packaging also. By simply distributing the basic distro and setting up repositories for each application pack. That would make it easy to get a media server based on abc linux set up and maintained.

  • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @10:58PM (#26633305)

    Who's up for guessing what the difference is between Windows 7 'Starter' and Windows 7 'Home Basic?

    "Starter" won't do much more than, well, start, and "Home Basic" will let you get your email.

  • by sunderland56 (621843) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:00PM (#26633343)
    To confuse things further: many of those versions also come in both 32 bit and 64 bit flavors.

    Why Win7 is not purely 64 bit is beyond me - any recent machine can run the 64 bit version, any older machine should be running XP anyway.
    • by jpmorgan (517966) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:03PM (#26633383) Homepage

      Intel's Atom processor is 32-bit only.

      • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:00AM (#26634003)

        Intel's Atom processor is 32-bit only.

        That's kind of, sort of, not really true. The Diamondville core supports x86-64, but Intel is playing an odd game where they're disabling it on some processors for no specific reason. The Atom 200 and 300 series leave it enabled, meanwhile the N27x series disable it for no obvious reason. Meanwhile the Silverthorne core used in the Atom Z5xx series is more ambiguous; none of the products its used in support x86-64, but there's a lot of disagreement over whether it's actually a different core. The reigning belief is that Diamondville is just Silverthorne built to use the GTL bus, which means Silverthorne supports x86-64 all along.

        So why would Intel artificially disable x86-64 support? There's the million dollar question.

        I probably should also add that the Intel Core (1) is 32bit only. Replaced since 2006 by the Core 2, MS may not want Core (1) boxes limited to Vista, hence they still need a 32bit version

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by PCM2 (4486)

      Why Win7 is not purely 64 bit is beyond me - any recent machine can run the 64 bit version, any older machine should be running XP anyway.

      There are probably some people who buy recent machines for performance or some specific features, but who still need to run peripherals for which only 32-bit drivers are available. My Mustek scanner, for instance. First they said they would never write Vista drivers. After lots of moaning from customers they finally did, but only 32-bit. Vista x64 requires 64-bit signed drivers for all hardware.

  • by malevolentjelly (1057140) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:03PM (#26633369) Journal

    If you really want to know the different, pop into add/remove windows components on Windows 7 beta. You'll see a motley connection of odds and ends relating to business and home use. Most of them aren't installed and are somewhat irrelevant to you.

    Basic is baseline (like XP home)
    Home Premium includes media center (like XP media center edition)
    Business is basically XP Professional
    Ultimate is XP professional + media center

    They didn't actually add any new editions except for Ultimate. I am sure the home users will really be lamenting their lack of NFS client/server capabilities.

    Most of the guification will remain and all the desktop essentials are now under the Live Essentials umbrella, so the versioning should be irrelevant to everyone except people on slashdot who make it into a massive philosophical crisis.

    Oh my god! They've made spins of their operating system with a feature relevant to the market and usage scenario!
    Oh my god! Media center costs extra!
    Oh my god! enterprise-level networking features aren't included on my mom's compaq!

    This is a COMMERCIAL operating system. This is similar to the complaint that Ubuntu and Kubuntu are separate distributions because they have different software sets except they cost a different amount of money because commercial systems COST MONEY.

    Let's break this down further:

    Basic is for low-end bargain PC's
    Home Premium is for middle-high end PC's
    Business is for Business PC's
    Ultimate is for enthusiasts (like beta testers and people with pony tails and translucent panels on the side of their tower-- it exists because some people will pay for it)

    By offering different levels of product at a different price point, they've made their product more accessible to people who would rather pay less and just have an operating system. If you use mostly F/OSS on your windows system, you should get Basic. It's not that complicated!

    • by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:36PM (#26633781) Journal

      Basic is baseline (like XP home)
      Home Premium includes media center (like XP media center edition)
      Business is basically XP Professional
      Ultimate is XP professional + media center

      So maybe they just need a name change.

      Home
      Home + Media Center
      Business
      Business + Media Center

      Maybe make it easier:

      Home*
      Business*

      * "And if you call in the next five minutes, we'll throw in Media Center for only $29.95!"

  • by mazarin5 (309432) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:03PM (#26633381) Journal

    All I care about is that my new machine is Windows 7 Compatible!

    </snark>

  • by sstpm (1463079) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:10PM (#26633457)
    ...but the single, common user experience is a big selling point for fruity products among people I know. Microsoft obviously can't attain a similar degree of this without controlling PC hardware, but having a single version of Windows 7 would help immensely. Joe the User won't understand why his PC is different from his wife's under the same operating system. Most people can't be bothered with learning about the different versions of the same thing. Windows should be Windows should be Windows.
  • Why not one version? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by swb (14022) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:18PM (#26633567)

    Can someone explain to me why MS doesn't win by releasing one "loaded" version at some low price ($49 or something)?

    The low price would work against people who might be inclined to pirate it to get some more "loaded" version, one version without artificial limitations would make it easier to support both at the end-user organizational level as well as at Microsoft level, as well as promoting a unified, less bullshit-enhanced image for Windows 7 as compared to Vista, which was an incomprehensible Medusa of marketing and phony choices.

    I work for a SMB VAR and the XP home/pro split actually loses business for Microsoft when customers with a half dozen or so XP home PCs decide whether they want something like SBS and we tell them it will have limitations with XP home clients. They don't want to buy new XP licenses for the same hardware already running XP Home on low-cost boxes bought retail, but they have to if they want domain mebership and some of the gee-whiz features that come with it. They often opt out of the SBS option because they have Home and can't join machines to the domain. Seldom does anybody spring for more than 1-2 XP Pro licenses to clean up the XP Home installs.

    Thus, MS loses SBS sales and almost never gets XP Pro upgrades from XP Home, either. Stupid. If there was only one version, I can think of at least 5 customers off the top of my head that would have spent money on servers & OS licenses.

    I can live with the "Server" and "Desktop" OS differences, which are probably just as artificial as Home/Pro desktop if you think about it. Those seem legitimate or at least based around rational reasons and purposes. But it would be nice to rid ourselves of the Pro, Deluxe, Media Center, etc. subdivisions within each category.

  • by BountyX (1227176) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:18PM (#26633575)
    Windows 7 is a marketing attempt to remove the negativity associated with the Vista marketing campaign and name. Instead of rolling out vista with a new service pack, they are rolling out "windows 7". In reality, windows 7 is a bunch of delayed features and vista bug fixes. They HAVE to keep the same versioning system as windows vista becuase of licensing tools already in place and the way the development teams are setup. The vista team is working on the Windows 7 stuff too, as opposed to having a seperate dedicated team (which will come later). So from a business standpoint, the internal resources have no need to be rearranged for a simple marketing change.
  • Astro Turfin' (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BlueBoxSW.com (745855) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:24PM (#26633633) Homepage

    (Sung to Surfing USA)

    Everybody is turfing',
    Cross the USA,
    Everybody is turfing',
    Turfing' USA.

    What a non-story. Windows 7 should be the next service pack for Vista, but then they wouldn't get to charge for it.

  • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:25PM (#26633639)
    Sad news. I hate their tiered approach. They purposely cripple the cheap versions so that some key function you need requires you to pay a hundred bucks or more for a single feature.

    I'm actually pleased enough with Ubuntu and Gnome that I think I have installed my last Windows image at home, except for my work box, and that license is paid for.

    MS has simply become too expensive for too little in return, and the options out there in Open Source, and even on the Mac side with it's more up front cost for hardware offer more bang for the buck with less stress and lost time spent fixing the OS.

    Thanks but no thanks...
  • by CambodiaSam (1153015) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:28PM (#26633667)
    I somehow got roped into the Microsoft Partner Research Panel. It's essentially a mailing list with highly detailed surveys about their products. I figured this ended up in some statistics that are eventually bleached and skewed in their Executive Reports, but heck, it's worth it for the possibility that I might a little bit of my opinion voiced.

    Yesterday they sent one out that asked very pointed questions about XP, Vista, 7, 98/ME/2009, Linux, and Mac OS. Things like "On a scale of 1 to 9, rate how likely you are to develop solutions on one of these platforms".

    They included questions about likely we would be to upgrade systems to Vista if 7 were released soon (Yup, I answered "Extremely Unlikely"). There were also focused questions on the versions available and if it was more/less confusing. I specifically wrote a comment on how the multiple versions serve as an obstacle.

    I wonder when this starts to eat into real profit. I mean, if they have to un-bundle IE for European distribution, they just multiplied their versions by at least 2. Checking MSDN, there are a huge number of flavors for XP when you also add in the 32/64 bit, Embedded, Media, Tablet, Volume License, and other types beyond Home and Pro. At least 50. Yup, 50! And that's XP!
  • by jlindy (1028748) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:35PM (#26633761)
    I don't know what all the flap is about. No matter what distinctions Microsoft will impose it'll boil down to just two versions... Server, and Bot-net!
  • by icejai (214906) on Tuesday January 27, 2009 @11:37PM (#26633787)

    The textbook says, if a company is in a monopoly position, the best way to maximize revenues is for them to differentiate their output so as to take away as much consumer surplus possible under the demand curve.

    So, of course, they differentiate their product.

    What they've failed to understand is this factoid completely relies on the consumer's ability to differentiate between the products! If 100,000 Joe Schmoes don't know the difference between Home Basic and Home Premium, then guess what, revenue from the two will just be the average prices between the two as Joe Schmoes around the world toss coins to decide which to buy. Some will buy the "better" (more expensive) one because they can't tell but want to "be safe", while others will get the cheaper one because they can't tell and want to save some money. MS will have been better off just selling an all-encompassing "Home" version at a price set at the averages of the Starter and two Home versions and not incur the overhead costs of differentiating the two versions in the first place.

    Bottom line:
    The people who can differentiate between Start, Home Basic and Home Premium won't bother with either, and the people who can't won't care which one they get.

    I mean, three different versions for non-geeks?? Of all products to differentiate, they choose the one aimed at the customer demographic who are least equipped to make an informed decision between all options.

    Geez, God help you Microsoft.

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:04AM (#26634035) Homepage

    Typical Microsoft. Anyone remember Windows 3.0 real mode, protected mode, and virtual mode? At least there was some excuse for that. But it had the beneficial effect (for Microsoft) of soaking up most of organizations' development efforts just trying to target, optimize, and SQA products for three different kinds of Windows, leaving precious little bandwidth for work on, oh, UNIX or OS/2 or Mac OS.

    I once worked for a Fortune 500 company where people literally used the word "port" to describe what needed to be done to keep a piece of software working under Windows, as in "We're porting the code from Windows 3.1 to Windows for Workgroups."

    IBM did the same thing when they were dominant. Multiple versions of everything and small changes mostly for changes' sake. Big organizations couldn't afford to ignore IBM, and were kept very busy tracking all that stuff.

    People build careers on the personal knowledge of the various changes IBM kept making, and people build careers now on their personal knowledge of the changes and variations in Microsoft products.

    Lousy engineering. Great way to exploit a monopolistic position in the marketplace.

  • by AbandonAllHope (211475) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:44AM (#26634409)

    Which only has one version and a single standardized desktop environment. Clearly multiple versions of the same OS are bad.

  • by RSKennan (835119) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @12:54AM (#26634503)
    Microsoft is finally getting hip to the Pokemon/Magic card phenomenon- only about 12 years late. Features will be sold in randomized booster packs with commons like "Borked Registry", and rares like "Uptime: all day".

The amount of weight an evangelist carries with the almighty is measured in billigrahams.

Working...