Microsoft on Monday said it will sell just three Windows 8 editions for Intel PCs, half as many as the company pushed in 2009 for Windows 7.

Windows 8 -- the label Microsoft and analysts have long used, and as of Monday, the official nameplate -- will be sold at retail and preloaded on new PCs in one of two editions: Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro.

Windows 8, said Microsoft, will be the de facto standard for consumers, while Windows 8 Pro will be aimed at advanced users and businesses.

"If you are an enthusiast or you want to use your PC in a business environment, you will want Windows 8 Pro," wrote Microsoft spokesman Brandon LeBlanc in a blog post.

Volume customers that pay for Software Assurance agreements -- subscriptions that let companies upgrade during a multi-=year period in exchange for paying a set per-license fee -- will be offered Windows 8 Enterprise.

Windows 7 came in six SKUs, or stock-keeping units: Home Basic, Starter Edition, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate.

Only three of those SKUs, Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate, were available at retail in the U.S. The Home Basic version was restricted to developing markets, and Starter Edition, although available worldwide, was a bare-bones version whose users could open only three applications simultaneously. Windows 7 Enterprise, like its upcoming sibling, targeted volume customers.