September 11th, 2005, 17:15 PM
Old and Cranky
Windows Vista product editions revealed
9/10/2005 6:15:01 PM, by Ken "Caesar" Fisher
If you've been wondering why Windows Vista has taken a long time to reach Beta 1, we can now tell you why: there are seven separate editions of Vista headed your way. OK, that's not the reason for the delay, but how else do you introduce that many OS versions, without invoking Snow White & friends? Join me know as I romp through the various editions, many of which you'll see are just barely differentiated.
First up, there's Starter Edition, which like XP Starter Edition, is a crippled (and lame) product aimed at the two-thirds world. It will limit users to three concurrent applications, and provide only basic TCP/IP networking, and won't be suitable for most games. The next step up is Home Basic Edition, which is really the sibling to today's Windows XP Home. However, as the name suggests, there's also Home Premium Edition, and this is where we start to split features like hairs and create a gaggle of products. HPE will build on the the Basic Edition by adding, most notably, the next-generation of Media Center capabilities, including support for HDTV, DVD authoring, and even DVD ripping backed up (of course) by Windows DRM. For non-corporate types, this is probably going to be the OS that most people use. It's similar to XP Pro in power, but with all of the added bells and whistles for entertainment. Well, most of them.
Windows Vista Professional Edition won't occupy the same spot that XP Pro occupies today, because this time it's truly aimed at businesses. It won't feature the MCE functionality that Home Premium Edition has, but it begins to provide the kind of functionality you'd expect in a business environment, such as support for non-Microsoft networking protocols and Domain support. But don't expect too many businesses to necessarily turn to PE. Microsoft is also planning both a Small Business Edition and an Enterprise Edition, which build upon pro by adding (seemingly minor) features aimed at appealing to each market. SBE, for instance, includes a networked backup solution, while EE will include things like Virtual PC integration, and the ability to encrypt an entire volume of information.
Last but not least, there's Ultimate Edition. Hey, I'm just glad that they didn't call it Extreme Edition. I'll leave it to Paul Thurrott, who has all of the details, to explain (and promote) this beast:
The best operating system ever offered for a personal PC, optimized for the individual. Windows Vista Ultimate Edition is a superset of both Vista Home Premium and Vista Pro Edition, so it includes all of the features of both of those product versions, plus adds Game Performance Tweaker with integrated gaming experiences, a Podcast creation utility (under consideration, may be cut from product), and online "Club" services (exclusive access to music, movies, services and preferred customer care) and other offerings (also under consideration, may be cut from product). Microsoft is still investigating how to position its most impressive Windows release yet, and is looking into offering Ultimate Edition owners such services as extended A1 subscriptions, free music downloads, free movie downloads, Online Spotlight and entertainment software, preferred product support, and custom themes. There is nothing like Vista Ultimate Edition today. This version is aimed at high-end PC users and technology influencers, gamers, digital media enthusiasts, and students.
OK, everyone got that? There will be a quiz on Monday.
My initial reactions are reserved, because there's just not that much detail available. Pricing, for instance, would be really nice to know. Will Home Basic Edition debut below the price point of XP Home today? Place your bets. The one thing I will say is that I fear that this may cause a great deal of confusion on behalf of your average consumer. Two versions of XP were enough to cause confusion, and now Joe Blow has four choices that may fit the bill.
One final note worth mentioning is that this strategy does remove the "corporate Windows XP" option from the hands of pirates. Volume licensing for Pro, SBE, and EE may still mean that there will be copies of Windows Vista out there that don't "call home" for Windows Product Activation, but as you can see, Microsoft has removed most of the features that most pirates would want from those OSes. You won't see corporate licensing versions of Ultimate Edition.
September 12th, 2005, 06:41 AM
Too much editions in my opinion...
Can you find a comparative table with all components included or not in each edition?
September 12th, 2005, 07:27 AM
Sounds like they are mirroring the linux world with all these editions... it will confuse and annoy users.
Two or three versions is all that is needed. Home, Pro, Server... With varying editions of the server version.
September 12th, 2005, 08:14 AM
agreed,We all know that most users will go for the Home basic,Home premium and ultimate.