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Windows Operating Systems Software

MS Confirms Six Different Versions of Windows 7 758

darien writes "Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 7 will be offered in six different editions. In a seeming admission that the numerous versions of Vista were confusing to consumers, the company says that this time its marketing will focus on just two editions — 'Home Premium' and 'Professional.' But the reality is more complex, with different packages offering different subsets of the total range of Windows 7 features."
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MS Confirms Six Different Versions of Windows 7

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  • by ArIck ( 203 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @10:27AM (#26724293)

    Since Vista worked out so good for them they had to follow their 'success'. Seems like some people never learn.

    • by von_rick ( 944421 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @10:42AM (#26724477) Homepage
      The selling point for all the versions would be the same, "Buy me, buy me, I'm not Vista."
      • by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @10:44AM (#26724505) Homepage Journal

        six nothing! BoingBoing has listed 20 new versions of Windows 7! [boingboing.net]. Just what I needed, Windows for Voting Machines, just right to make sure your favorite Republicrat gets elected!

      • Re:Obviously.... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @10:58AM (#26724717) Journal

        What's wrong with this though? It's standard practice that when companies release a new version, they tell you how much better it is than the previous version. Just as how with Apple, for years PPC was great, but as soon as they switched to Intel, it was "Buy me, I'm Intel".

        The only thing that's a problem is if a company ends up urging people to buy a previous version of their product, not a newer one.

        • Re:Obviously.... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by rad_chad ( 611206 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @11:19AM (#26725095)
          But it's not so cut and dry with that. For some time PPC WAS great...then Intel became the better choice for them. Apple moved on with the times. Microsoft just doesn't get what people want, and that is definitely not 6 different versions of Windows.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Ilgaz ( 86384 )

          Apple doesn't have problem with people still preferring to use Tiger, a lot of people do BTW and that is why iTools/iWork 08 (until 09) can be installed to Tiger adding their own frameworks and it keeps getting Quicktime/Security updates.

          Apple doesn't start a "Mojave experiment" just to prove people that they are hallucinating. In fact, they do everything to keep low Mhz CPU people away from Leopard.

          Besides trying to justify their move (a big move) to Intel for portable future, they never said anything bad

        • Re:Obviously.... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @12:34PM (#26726323)

          The Apple transition to Intel was about logistics more than it was about performance. PPC chips can be more powerful than Intel chips. The problem for Apple was that they had to custom design their PPC chip as the generic ones were not made for general consumer uses like playing media but were specialized for computational applications like modeling. Apple like any manufacturing company would only order enough chips to meet their forecasts. The chip maker (Motorola, IBM) would only make enough to meet Apple's forecasts. Neither company wants to be stuck with excess inventory.

          Unfortunately, if Apple's sales required more chips, their chip maker could not keep up. Being a custom chip for one customer, the chip maker could not dedicate many resources for changes in schedule because Apple, even with millions of chips a year, would never be one of their high volume customers. So Apple went with Intel because Intel could keep up with changes because Apple would not be a small customer ordering more of a custom chip. It would be a small customer ordering more of a stock chip. If they couldn't sell to Apple, they would sell the chip to Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc.

    • Re:Obviously.... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by linhares ( 1241614 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @11:30AM (#26725305)
      Do they know how to read? [amazon.com] As much as I am glad to see their new MS-repeatfuckup, I wish we had fewer distros of linux. And, irony of ironies, probably the same people going HAHAHAHA here are to be found in the recent post where prophet Linus declared that billions of distros were greatest thing around on the monkeysphere.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Linus declared that billions of distros were greatest thing around on the monkeysphere.

        Linus did not say that. His exact quotes are:

        "I think multiple distributions aren't just a good thing, I think it's something absolutely required . . . We have hundreds of distros, and a lot of them are really for niche markets. And you need that - simply because different markets simply have different requirements, and no single distro will take care of them all."

        So Linus says that because of all the different things L

  • Original Sources (Score:5, Informative)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @10:27AM (#26724295) Journal
    I would hesitate to use the strong language of "confirmed" as the sites in the summary just link to other PCPro articles and it's all PCPro. I can't seem to find any really formal news release or website with Microsoft's official stance on this. I think this is a bad decision but they know their business better than I do.

    From Paul Thurrott's [winsupersite.com] site (which breaks each version down by feature--don't ask me how he got them).

    Here's the most reliable source [microsoft.com] I can find where it is revealed in a Q&A with the general manager for Windows at Microsoft.

    The AP [google.com] has picked it and quotes passages from the Q&A session. So I think the majority of this is coming from a Q&A session with Mike Ybarra, general manager for Windows.

    Which gives me pause and causes me to wonder ... are they really going to use the same marketing strategy they did with Vista?
    • by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @10:46AM (#26724539) Homepage

      Which gives me pause and causes me to wonder ... are they really going to use the same marketing strategy they did with Vista?

      Most likely. That 'strategy' is having the PC manufacturers preinstall it. That is how most normal people get Windows.

      I am surprised that they didn't go with _7_ versions. They could have then called them Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy and Sneezy. Exercise to the reader to match them up with Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, Ultimate, and Fully Cracked editions.

    • by Dystopian Rebel ( 714995 ) * on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @10:50AM (#26724625) Journal

      but they know their business better than I do

      Let's see...

      "It's the guys who can touch us in multiple places that are Microsoft's top competitors rather than the guys who can touch us in any one place." -- Ballmer

      "I want to squirt you a picture of my kids. You want to squirt me back a video of your vacation. That's a software experience." -- Ballmer

      "I'm going to f****** kill Google." -- Ballmer

      Er... maybe you actually DO know better.

  • by scubamage ( 727538 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @10:28AM (#26724309)
    *TOTALLY* buying a 'windows 7' capable pc and suing when I can't run the most bells-and-whistles-ful version that exists. Anyone else game? We can start planning the class action lawsuit now!
    • by digitalunity ( 19107 ) <digitalunity AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @10:58AM (#26724723) Homepage

      I'm already considering this. I just got a new laptop with Vista Home Premium. In numerous places, Microsoft has touted the security of Vista, yet Home Premium doesn't even include the Local Security Policy MMC snap-in.

      Without the basic tools to manage my own local security, it is impossible to set up my laptop securely. This wasn't removed because Home Premium is incompatible, it was done as an up-sell opportunity. I've searched Microsoft's website extensively and there is little mention of the LSP snap-in being missing from Home Premium.

  • Starter Edition (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Neeperando ( 1270890 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @10:29AM (#26724325)
    From TFA:

    Starter Edition: A lightweight version for netbook computers, that will only be capable of running three applications concurrently.

    Maybe someone can educate me here: are EeePCs and subnotebooks so underpowered that they can only run three programs at a time? It seems like a purely artificial limit repackaged as a "performance" feature.

    • Re:Starter Edition (Score:5, Informative)

      by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @10:38AM (#26724417) Journal

      From TFA:

      Starter Edition: A lightweight version for netbook computers, that will only be capable of running three applications concurrently.

      Maybe someone can educate me here: are EeePCs and subnotebooks so underpowered that they can only run three programs at a time? It seems like a purely artificial limit repackaged as a "performance" feature.

      Yeah, I don't know where they got that data point in the article. From the original source [microsoft.com], Mike Ybarra mentions netbooks twice:

      The second change is that we have designed Windows 7 so different editions of Windows 7 can run on a very broad set of hardware, from small-notebook PCs (sometimes referred to as netbooks) to full gaming desktops. This way, customers can enable the scenarios they want across the broad hardware choices they have.

      Ybarra: At beta we've had a lot of people running our most premium, full-featured offering on small-notebook PCs (netbooks) with good experiences and good results. So we're pleased to see that on this class of hardware Windows 7 is running well. And of course we will continue to tune Windows 7 for performance as we move through the engineering cycle.

      Nowhere does he say anything about the 3 app limitation and you'll note he mentions that in beta their most full featured offering runs on netbooks.

      I do not know where PCPro got their information but I think this Q&A session is what started it. He seems optimistic about all versions of Windows 7 being usable on netbooks but who knows without getting field results (Vista capable, anyone)?

      • Re:Starter Edition (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @10:50AM (#26724607)

        I believe it's inherited from the super-crippled version of XP that was released into "emerging markets" that could only load up 3 applications at a time.

        I was under the impression that Home Basic was intended for netbooks, and Starter for "emerging markets." Although I wouldn't put it past Microsoft to artificially limit what a netbook can do out of the box, to give the impression of a lack of power to drive people to buy a more powerful laptop with more expensive copies of Windows on it.

    • It seems idiotic to me. What counts as an application? What about services? What if you turn on IIS? Does that count? How about SNMP? How about explorer? How about the windows login executable? Svchost.exe? Bluetooth tracker service? Rundll32.exe? It sounds impossible to me - and very easily gotten around. Suppose each of those are signed, just remove the signature check and boom, done.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hognoxious ( 631665 )

      are EeePCs and subnotebooks so underpowered that they can only run three programs at a time?

      Nope. I have a 1000H and it's fine with excel, word, a few pdf docs & browser windows open. Seems to switch snappier than my aging stinkpad T40 for good measure.

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @10:34AM (#26724377)
    I have never understood why Microsoft does this. Well, beyond the "make more money" aspect but that's because they're a company in the business of making money. The thing is, I just don't understand _how_ this leads to them making more money. In my mind, having one-and-only-one version of your operating system seems so much more efficient and cost-effective. It reduces the cost of pressing the discs, packaging, marketing - everything. It reduces the headaches of support (it outright eliminates the question of which version of the OS a person is running and thus what features they have access to, for example). In every way, it seems like it would cost Microsoft MORE to offer different versions of their OS which surely more than offsets any additional money they may make from doing it so I just don't understand why they do it. I'd love for someone to offer a flash of insight to explain what I'm obviously missing but, on every level, it just seems like the wrong choice.
    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by HockeyPuck ( 141947 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @10:47AM (#26724553)

      So then what do you base your price for the product?

      Do you base it on the "entry level user" that uses it for web/email/photos and toss in the Enterprise features for free?

      Or do you base it on the Enterprise features, but then customers will complain "Why am I paying for enterprise features which I'll never use?"

      To solve your manufacturing/distribution point above you could always package the full version, but only allow certain features to be enabled via licensing. However, managing license keys brings its' own set of issues.

      • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by JCSoRocks ( 1142053 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @11:43AM (#26725519)
        The trouble here is that you're acting like all of those enterprise features represent some huge chunk of the OS - and Microsoft is too. That's what makes the pricing ridiculous. The bulk (let's say 99%) of the code is identical across all versions. People are basically paying double the price just to get remote desktop and the ability to join a domain. That's complete insanity.

        It'd be like Ford selling an "ultimate" F-150 that includes an extra cup holder and costs twice as much.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by HockeyPuck ( 141947 )

          The trouble here is that you're acting like all of those enterprise features represent some huge chunk of the OS - and Microsoft is too.

          I'm not assuming that it's a huge chunk of the OS, however these licenseable features could be considered to add significant value to the product. If the only features that are optional are remote desktop and domain support, then why raise the price the average consumer will have to pay? As they say, "My grandmother doesn't need those two features, so why make her pay for them?"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mdm-adph ( 1030332 )

      Aye, it's confusing. I'm guessing it's because, in reality, all versions of Windows aren't worth any more than a decent copy of MacOS (around $100), probably less, and having all these fancy "Enterprise" and "Ultimate" versions of things enable them to sell something for $300 which normally should sell for $100.

      That make any sense? The packaging, production, and stuff included with "Ultimate" doesn't really cost any more for Microsoft to produce than the cheapest version (is BitLocker really worth that mu

      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by initdeep ( 1073290 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @11:09AM (#26724915)

        except that wonderful macos you tout comes with an additional expense of needing to buy the hardware along with it, which apple is the only source for, and thus also has revenue from.

        so in reality, did it only cost $100?

        or did you also pay them more because you purchased the hardware along with it, and they simply "hid" some of the cost of the OS in the cost of the hardware?

        the only way you have a clue what apple OSX costs is the $129.99 version you can buy standalone, but again, you've already purchased their hardware, and thus potentially already paid more for the OS in reality.

    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by furby076 ( 1461805 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @10:54AM (#26724663) Homepage
      Actually - it is the "charge less money". They charge less for the reduced versions. So if ultimate is $300 and they only sell ultimate everyone pays $300. But if grandma only needs Basic features then why have her pay $300? Why not have her pay $200 and get only what she needs. Also, the lesser versions - since they have fewer features - will be less of a hardware hog meaning the computer hardware will be cheaper since they don't need to get the best.

      See it's not hard to think of the positive. We don't have to be negative nancies.
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Silentknyght ( 1042778 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @11:14AM (#26725007)

      Sometimes I worry that the people on Slashdot aren't really smarter than your average bears, otherwise I wouldn't keep reading the same, rehashed, "why are they making X versions, that's so dumb" comments over and over.

      It's simple economics. And I've seen only very few people stand up and point this out. It makes sense with economic theory. I'm not making any comments on whether or not it's confusing, or on whether or not it's ethical, but just that there is a perfectly logical reason for it: money.

      I suppose the best description of their economic practice is Price Discrimination [wikipedia.org]. It's not a new theory, and it happens all over the place (see airline ticket sales). In short, think of your standard supply/demand curve. If you sell one product, at $50, you lose out on the people who would have paid $75 for the product, and you also lose out on the people who will only pay $25 for it. By charging different amounts, they're capturing demand at all (or many more) points on the supply/demand curve, maximizing their efficiency.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Zebedeu ( 739988 )

      If you want the long answer to that, read Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy [amazon.com].

      It's eye opening, and it explains how tiered pricing works to maximize sales and profit.

      Basically, the lower/crippled versions of the product are sold below production cost while the top versions pay a hefty premium -- the users which need the most features are subsidizing those who don't need them because those who don't need the features wouldn't buy the product for the original price.

      Usually this is done

  • 6 versions? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Shome ( 621324 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @10:36AM (#26724391)
    I was expecting 7 versions to justify the names?? :-)
  • by furby076 ( 1461805 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @10:38AM (#26724427) Homepage
    What's so hard to understand? First off, they list - in a concise paragraph - what each version is. Second off, grandma-sue who barely knows how to use e-mail is not goign to perform an upgrade so she doesn't need to understand. People who perform upgrades, a task that is timeconsuming, will either 1) research, 2) pay someone (or ask a friend), or 3) buy a new computer and take what it comes with.

    BTW - there will be 12 versions, not 6. They forgot to mention 32 bit vs 64 bit.

    This is beneficial. Not everyone needs ultimate. Grandma who barely checks e-mail doesn't need every single bell and whistle. Emerging markets - those who can barely afford computers - I doubt they will be buying the latest and greater computers or the latest and greatest games...do you really need the latest and greatest in drivers if you don't have a video card for it? If 6 versions of windows is too complex I wonder what the author feels like when he goes to buy a car.
  • To me, at least, Windows has just become a front end. Windows - The welcome mat to the Internet, endless web services and a few essential applications. Frankly Windows deserves to be about 100Mb big and start in 0.33 seconds. I note this because I've also read that there will be a few versions of Windows 7, perhaps not as many as the silly number of Vistas available, but enough to cause concern. See, I'd be happy with the Windows 7 (insert real name here) Ultra-skinny-super-deluxe-lite version please. Pri
  • I didn't really do the Vista thing, but it was my impression that everyone was really fucking confused about all the different versions and which one did what, possibly including Microsoft guys themselves? So the way this reads, Windows 7 will be pretty much the same in this regard, except they'll ignore most of the versions for the purposes of simplifying advertising, pushing the "fancy/expensive" versions while the lesser versions probably are what comes pre-installed on your pre-assembled computers. Or s

  • by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @10:42AM (#26724467) Homepage

    Starter Edition: A lightweight version for netbook computers, that will only be capable of running three applications concurrently.

    Great, so one of the slots will be used by your Virus scanner, another by the Spyware checker leaving you with one slot left to run an app of your choice!

  • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @10:58AM (#26724715)

    Is there a reason Microsoft cant put BitLocker, AppLocker, Cornerstone, Direct Access, Branch Cache etc into Windows 7 Professional and then just have Enterprise be a volume license product (like XP pro corp was for XP pro)?

    Is it purely a case of "those who need it can pay extra for Ultimate and get this stuff, those who dont shouldn't have to pay for it"? (i.e. money) Or is there more to it?

  • by Mostly a lurker ( 634878 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @11:18AM (#26725077)
    • Netbooks will come with Linux or Windows 7 Starter edition, depending on model. In most cases, Linux will be replaced with Windows 7 (whichever is the most expensive version that the hardware supports) before leaving the shop. If it already has Windows, it will probably leave the shop unchanged.
    • White box computers, without exception, will be sold with Windows 7 Ultimate or Enterprise preloaded.
    • Low end desktops and full size notebooks all come with Free DOS or Linux, which means (as long as the hardware will support it) they will all have Windows 7 Ultimate or Enterprise preloaded before the computer leaves the shop.
    • More expensive name brand computers may come preloaded with a legit Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 7 Professional preloaded. Often, they will leave the shop in original condition. A free upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate or Enterprise will be on offer.


    If the computer goes in for repair, or to have malware removed, part of the service is an upgrade to the latest and best version of Windows the system will support. [Note that saving your data is not part of the service.]

    All this is depressing, given that perfectly good Thai Linux distributions exist. The trouble is that Windows is all anyone knows. I have converted a few souls to Linux and they mostly end up liking it (especially on Netbooks) but it is an up-hill struggle.

  • by wicka ( 985217 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @12:57PM (#26726637)
    Well, I guess it makes sense you guys would ignore some more facts in your endless rant against Windows. It's funny that the post says "the reality is more complex," when in fact the reality is LESS complex. See, there are six versions (Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, Ultimate). Starter is NOT meant for netbooks. Starter is exactly the same as Vista Starter: meant for super super poor countries. Home Basic is an extension of that, but it is meant as a low-cost version in countries with lots of piracy.

    Let's go to the top of the list. Enterprise is just for businesses purchasing bulk licenses. Ultimate is the same as Vista Ultimate, except you're only ever going to be dealing with Ultimate if you are a techie and know where to find it - it won't be sold through normal distribution channels.

    The only two left are Home Premium and Professional. These are the only two actual consumers will deal with. They are exactly the same as XP Home and XP Pro; in fact, the only reason it's called Home Premium is because test users thought Home was a downgrade from Home Premium, so the kept the name. So there you have it: there are TWO versions of 7, and four versions for niche markets that will never be sold in stores. It's a lot like XP, where Home and Pro were considered the only two editions, but there were lots of others (Starter, MCE, Tablet PC, Embedded). But in the case, people were smart enough to understand that consumers only had to choose between two.

    It's interesting that Gizmodo and Endgadget (and any places that quoted their stories) made all this very clear, but Slashdot had to go find the one site that had their facts wrong.
  • by mdarksbane ( 587589 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @02:13PM (#26727621)

    What ticks me off is not that they are charging more for these extra features - that's fine! I am all for being able to buy a cheaper version of something that doesn't have features I don't need.

    But why the hell are they separate versions of the OS instead of applications I can buy?

    Why do I have to buy media center edition to install the media center app - why can't I buy JUST media center for $25?

    Why isn't touchscreen support a $5 option that OEM's can opt to get?

    Why don't they sell Bitlocker as an addon for small business for $50?

    These are great *applications*, and I don't have a problem with them offering a bundled version that includes a lot of them together - but why are they tying them to an operating system version? Someone explain to me how that isn't retarded.

  • Segmentation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MikeURL ( 890801 ) on Wednesday February 04, 2009 @02:36PM (#26727927) Journal
    I get why they do this--I really do. When you get an MBA you have it drilled into your head that if you are not thinking segmentation then you aren't thinking. So MS's marketing group is likely insisting that Windows 7 come in multiple versions so that they can target multiple markets. To a very real degree I think that multiple versions is one of the ways that the marketing people justify their jobs. If MS just offered one monolithic version then suddenly you don't need very complex market research in order to figure out what version to push.

    The problem, as i see it, is that the market for Windows 7 IS monolithic. No one wants to try to figure out if they need bitlocker, media center, previous versions, etc etc etc or not. They want to buy a fully functional operating system. Very few people really understand why an OS would even have various "versions". I suppose a better way to handle this would be to have one OS and then sell separate software packages as completely separate software packages. Suddenly discover you need full-drive encryption? No problem! Buy BitLocker as a totally separate, and retail boxed, piece of software. At least people understand that model. This notion of a REALLY crippled OS and then progressively less crippled versions is bizarre and must be an artifact of MS bureaucracy.

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