back to article Microsoft SKUs Windows 7 clarity

Microsoft has announced how it will package Windows Vista's successor, Windows 7. And as ever, Microsoft has put segmentation ahead of clarity. The one bright spot in Microsoft's Windows 7 news is that - contrary to some reports - it won't add a brand new edition solely for netbooks. Although even this is not that straight …


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  1. John O'Hare

    Successor vs Service Pack

    "Microsoft has announced how it will package Windows Vista's successor, Windows 7."

    Microsoft has announced how it will package Windows Vista's service pack, Windows 7.

    There fixed that for you. Really wonder how there are still people out there who (some of those a second time) happily fork over their hard earned cash to MS for something that should have been a service pack.

    Hey, whether it's a service pack is debatable; shame there's generally two opinions on whether it's a service pack or a completely new release and those opinions are directly linked to the person working for MS or not (mind that the key word here is 'generally').

    For the amount of different versions; it still appears that MS haven't been beaten with a cluestick yet, even adding an extra version for netbooks.

    Happy to be using Ubuntu, which is the same version for all types of workstations and isn't crippled when I don't fork over enough dosh.

  2. Radim Horak
    Thumb Down

    Holy Sh!t

    WHY>>> WHY>>> WHY cannot Micro$oft come up with something that would be easy... let's say 3 versions...just like XP.. Home version with all that media center stuff and bells and whistles for home users. Pro version that would include bitlocker / domain connectivity and all Home stuff for power users and corporate version without any extra multimedia stuff..

    oh.. but that would be too easy.. i guess

  3. Doug Glass

    Decisions, Decisions

    This is getting so hard what with six choices of what not to buy.

  4. wsm

    Amazing marketing

    The marketing gibberish spouters are obviously still in charge at what should be a software company.

    Just two versions, Home and Professional--what's so hard about that? Do they really believe they get a larger income stream from having an Ultimate version? It's more likely they cause more resentment than income.

    Ah well, some lessons are still not learned from Vista.

  5. Kanhef

    Still being stupid

    It takes a lot more work to build six versions than one or two. Starting with the full thing, you'd have constantly test to make sure nothing breaks as you strip out features and add crippleware (e.g. that the 'only 3 programs at a time' restriction doesn't count system processes). Costs more, takes longer to develop. At least in theory. You could skimp on the testing and assume that as long as there are no obvious bugs it's working fine.

    They need to go back to the XP model with two versions: Pro and Basic. Pro has everything, of course. Basic leaves out particularly resource-heavy features and anything a typical tech-literate user* won't need. Make them API-compatible, so developers won't have to worry about their programs running on Pro but not on Basic.

    *Meaning capable of setting up home network, keeps A/V scanner up-to-date, might work from home with a VPN, etc.

  6. Herby

    Actually another SKU is needed

    It is called "Windows XP". (service pak 4)

  7. E


    Just use Slackware instead.

  8. Patrick Ernst
    Jobs Horns


    The implied bigotry in MS's definition of "developed" is interesting. Maybe the execs don't get out much? In the "undeveloped" countries I've been in most people are running current kit. In fact, most of the young kids had more recent kit than I was running. Maybe they meant people outside those 'developed" countries are too unsophisticated to handle the real windows! Poor undeveloped bastards - one can only hope they get sophisticated real soon so MS can sell them the grown up stuff.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perfectly clear

    Translated versioning

    1. Broken, for netbooks.

    2. Crippled Limited Edition

    3. Home Bloat

    4. Pro, Parental controls now called User Mangler.

    5. It ain't Server but, ooh is that minesweeper?

    6. Recommended hardware, Cray XT4.

  10. Smokey Joe


    I'll stick with Ubuntu then.

    Thank you Vista. I haven't looked back!

  11. k


    There should be only one version like NT & Windows 2000.

    I support many small businesses and they usually buy their computers from retailers who sell only XP/Vista Home & Premium.

    This just creates a mess for everyone.

    The reason I suspect BitLocker is restricted from all versions is because they think users (without an IT dept.) will end up locking themselves out.

    Please MS there needs to be only one version.

  12. Jeffrey Nonken

    Windows versioning

    ... It's recondite, but at least it's expensive.

  13. David Kairns

    More SERVICE PACK 7 Versions Needed...

    Fully user screwing

    3/4 user screwing

    1/2 user screwing

    1/4 user screwing

    Oh yeah, couple more:

    Fully vague

    Semi vague

    Micro vague

    There, that's better.

    Man, what a donkey farm up there in Redmond


  14. David Kairns

    TKU MS for a great idea!!!

    I'm going to acquire six refrigerators, all different.

    Then six different flush handles for my toilet (somehow incredibly appropriate in a discussion regarding the Redmond monkey farm).

    Once the handle use is well drilled, I'll get six toilets, each one urgently required directly after using another different MS product.

    Then six transmissions -- all varying gear ratios -- brilliant.

    Six coat hanger types.

    Six toilet paper densities (again, so appropriate).

    Six wives (looking better here, despite MS crap).

    Six nose hair trimmers, varying amperages and motors, some doubling as hedge trimmers, powered hole diggers.

    Life's good.

  15. Brett Brennan

    Why not one base package...

    ...and sell "upgrade" packages to add the features needed for the other functions? That way EVERYBODY gets the Home Basic/Starter edition, and OEMs and other folks can add away to their heart's (and wallet's) content.

    Oh, wait. That's too much like a Linux "distro". Wouldn't want THAT to blemish Window's clear, easy to follow functionality ladder. Like Vista Home: you're offered the opportunity to "upgrade" your "experience" via the internet - IF your ISP doesn't cut off the 5GB download half-way through...

    Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

  16. Adam White

    Home Basic

    Offering a limited cut down version of Windows in Asia, Central/South America, Central/Eastern Europe and Africa is going to discourage piracy and the take-up of Linux?

  17. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Thumb Down

    Looks like it's...

    ..Marketing Twonks: 6 ~ Common sense: 0

  18. P. Lee

    Three versions

    Windows basic

    Media edition (OSX)

    Ultimate (Linux)

    I know, I'm leaving alread...

  19. Rock Lobster
    Gates Halo

    Re: Successor vs Service Pack

    @ John O'Hare

    Well, first of all, you could call every new Ubuntu or Fedora a "service pack", since it always uses the older version as a basis. But here, nobody has a problem with calling it a successor.

    And even if Windows 7 is really only a "service pack", then it is still understandable that MS won't call it that way, because Vista's reputation is already as low as it can get. No wonder that they'll use a new name for it.

    Maybe people want to call it a service pack because of its shorter development time. But if they'd need another 5 years to develop it, only to justify it being a really new release, people would be unsatified as well.

  20. bruceld
    Gates Horns


    Has everyone forgotten about the DRM "broadcast flag" that cripples video files recorded through Windows Media Center? No one has even mentioned this in the new version of Windows.

    I had Vista preinstalled on 5 of my new computers and I promptly reformatted everything and installed XP instead. Then after Vista SP1 I gave it a spin, and everything seemed to be running smoothly and stable.

    I actually started to enjoy using Vista until I started recording TV shows on Media Center, and then discovered I can't even watch them on another computer in the bedroom. It was then I really truly HATED Vista!

    I mean, the largest computer software maker on the planet is suddenly deciding that my computer is a television VCR and automatically assumes that I'm going to burn TV shows and movies on to DVD and start selling them to black markets in China? F*CKING NOT! Maybe I just want to watch it on another computer, or maybe I want to save it for another time after, but none of that matters because even if I reformat everything, I can't watch everything that I recorded.

    Vista SUCKS in these terms. But has anyone found out if this DRM bullshit is on Windows 7? Why doesn't microsoft just put a disclaimer when playing the video back for the first time saying "Windows 7 is computer software, and not a TV or VCR. Keep in mind that this program has a Broadcast Flag with limitations on how you may view/use this recording. Do you wish to honour the legal limitations, or do you wish to continue knowing that you are violating the broadcast flag limitations? YES OR NO" and then just strip the DRM crap from it if you say "no", but GIVE consumers the choice about what they wish to do with something that they obtained legally.


  21. paulc

    full function experiencce?

    "In the consumer space, customers outside of developing technology markets will get Premium edition, which Microsoft described as a "full function PC experience and visually rich environment.""

    I get that with Ubuntu and KDE

    oh sorry, I'm not getting "Full Function", I don't have to suffer the wonders of DRM'd WIndows only media... but I wouldn't want that crap anyway...

  22. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Microsoft doing what they do best

    Apple users will pay money to avoid having to make a decision - hence one version.

    Linux users get to pick whatever they want, and can expect it to run for ever without having to buy upgrades. They are peeved because retailers insist they buy a throw-away Microsoft license.

    Microsoft users have to decide how locked in they are, and pick the version that runs their legacy software (eg Window 7 Super-pricey with bundled XP).

    Microsoft own the copyright to their operating system. They get to distribute it in as many flavours as they choose. If this annoys you, you can accept it or switch to something else. Moaning is not going to help you (although I am sure MS will offer a $50/minute phone line so you can moan at them and they can ignore you and do exactly the same thing with Windows 8).

    (PS dyslexia: skus -> suks & read the url :-)

  23. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Maybe by self-competition

    they want to avoid being seen as a monopoly?

    Or they want to have as many versions of W-7 as there are linux distros? In this way, windows users can experience the same futile arguments as so often heard between openSUSE, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu and other fanboys

    (I have debian at work and openSUSE at home so I can take two sides in those debates ;-) )

  24. Jim Macdonald


    Far too confusing...

    Actually it isn't, I'll just be sticking with XP thanks.

  25. Chris Beach

    Still No Family Pack?

    So the advanced home users are screwed over again, and family's are still expected to pay stupid amounts to upgrade all their pc's, which they wont do and just download a pirated copy.

    Any news on if we'll get screwed over on the 32/64 bit issue again? Or will they at least make sure each of these sku's just has the one combined disk?

  26. Steve

    @ El Reg = Fail

    Article is wrong. There is no Home Basic.

    There's Starter that's sold only in emerging markets. We won't see this.

    Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate are the retail SKU's.

    That's three.

    Home, Pro and Ultimate. All have media center. Home is the lowest, followed by Pro (which has home stuff plus domain join, RDP etc.) Ultimate has BitLocker to go and some Enterprise features in it as well as the Pro feature set.

    Three retail SKU's is pretty good and from that it's clear MS are listening to feedback.

    Enterprise is only volume licencing. Not OEM, not retail. Starter is OEM only in a handful of "emerging" markets only.

    So in PC World or from Dell you'll have three options only.

    But your complaining again? WTF?

  27. nobby


    sorry, there *were* two versions of win2000 (that i saw) - Home and Professional.

    nobody bought "Home", because win98 worked a tad better for people not on a Domain (it could play the odd game or two).

    So there you go - they started selling useless editions of the O/S 8 or 9 years ago. Why should they stop now?

  28. CeeJay

    All I care about is... many floppies will it come on? Will I need a pallet loader?

  29. Adam Harris
    Gates Horns


    I take it there will be an additional 6 versions in Europe without IE8?

    Or is it still cheaper for them to pay a daily fine?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How hard is it?

    Maybe it's because I played a lot of Pokemon while I was growing up, but I don't have any trouble remembering the different SKU's, or what they're for.

  31. Christian Berger


    From a Netbook OS I expect it to run GUI applications like Browsers

    I expect a real OS to have networking capability. So I can, for example, log into it remotely without disturbing the person currently working on the machine directly.

    So... what will Windows 7 will be? A boot-loader for Browsers, or a real OS?

  32. Ash
    Gates Halo

    Developing markets don't want crippled software.

    How do Microsoft sell to their share holders this idea that "developing markets" want a crippled edition of Windows WHICH THEY HAVE TO PAY FOR over a pirated version of their flaghship OS?

    I wouldn't buy it, and i'm a civilised Westerner.

  33. Jess
    Thumb Down

    I knew there had to be a catch.

    The beta actually seems to work well, so they needed to do something stupid.

    I think 3 versions. Basic (Just OS and essential tools, no crippling of no. of apps running)

    Home (+ mulimedia, browser etc all chosen at install)

    Professional (everything but all optional)

  34. Steven Raith
    Thumb Down

    Feature lockout - why?

    Why is this lockout even required? I can understand things like bitlocker and Aero Glass not being on by default for less grunty systems, but who knows any home user with, say, XP Pro, who has been trying to twiddle with Domain setup etc?

    Utterly, utterly pointless segregation clearly only there to up the margin on the top versions, and yet again small businesses who buy from domestic retailers will be screwed over when they buy five machines from PC World, install Windows Small Business Server on one of them, and realise that they need to spend another £1000 just to connect to a domain because Windows Home Edition won't let you even contemplate talking to one.

    Money grabbing, arrogant bastards MS are, but I guess those of us in the support world are going to have to deal with this [and charge, natch, so shouldn't complain...] for another five years. Like we have the last five with XP.

    Steven 'Yes, I know you only bought the machine three months ago, but you need to spend another £100 on a proper Windows license for this to work' R

  35. Humph

    Surely One would be better?

    Why MS can't provide ONE version of their OS'es, with all the bells and whistles as optional components, I'll never know.

    Providing six or seven versions of a product really only serves to confuse their customers. The poor sods are then effectively coerced into buying the most expensive version of a product just to ensure they get what they need.

  36. Paul

    Vista Service Pack 7

    I quite like the Windows 7 beta so far - it runs really well on my old laptop (compared, even, to my beloved XP). Can't wait to see how they fuck it up :)

  37. Paul Docherty
    Paris Hilton

    XP Versions


    Can anyone actually remember how many versions of XP were released? Here's a reminder:




    Tablet PC Edition

    Media Center Edition

    Volume License



    Professional 64-bit

    How many of you had trouble picking one of them?

    Calm the hysteria - we only need to think about the editions that will actually be available to the average user. This leaves Premium and Professional. Ultimate is a stupidity tax, Starter/Basic versions will be on 3rd world PCs and netbooks (same difference), leaving Enterprise for those that *really* need it. Seriously, this will not impact us in any way, shape or form.

    Paris, 'cause even she can figure this out.

  38. Eric Van Haesendonck
    Thumb Down

    This sucks!

    They need only 3 versions:

    - Netbook for hardware-limited budget devices (because promoting an OS that has a 16 GB diskspace requirement for SSD based devices is complete nonsense).

    - Home (with mediacenter).

    - Professional (with enterrpise management tools)

    And these should be the only differences between versions. Anything else will just confuse customers. Any limited version will only make windows look bad compared to Ubuntu and OSX.

  39. Richard
    Paris Hilton

    Starter Edition...

    ...why do i feel as though they should be calling it "Fisher Price Edition?".

    Surly it would be simple enough that during installation you could detect a netbook and just install appropriate drivers for it?

    I would debate the need for even having two editions. The group policy stuff should be there by default, if you don't know what it for then you won't use it. Which is as good as not paying for a service you don't use.

    Sell bitlocker as an add-on if you must.

    Paris, coz she isn't this confusing.


  40. Anonymous Coward

    "a very small set of customers who want what everything that Windows 7 has to offer"

    Since most MS customers would much rather have a limited feature set (for their extra $$), using more hardware than ever, loaded with crippleware and slower than the last version.

  41. MGJ

    Damned if the do and if they don't

    When MS offered one version of their OS with everything built in for everyone, people took them to court. Presumably that cost more than supporting six versions. Be careful what you wish for

  42. Dave Bell

    Who needs Windows?

    Buy the game machine of your choice, and who needs Windows?

    Maybe the corporates with bespoke software, but I still see lots of stuff with DOS-style box-drawing (and I suspect a Borland compiler somewhere in the history). WINE runs on my Netbook, so a corporate IT department ought to be able to sort it out.

    And this Asus Eee I have seems to appeal to people who see it, even with the ill-supported Xandros Linux.

    There's no reason Windows can't be as esoteric as the Apple Mac, lurking in specialised roles of the sort which kept Apple alive.

    Well, I can dream.

  43. Joe K
    Thumb Down

    3 APPS AT ONCE??!?!

    Oh yeah, i'm sure that'll really steer the indians and chinese away from pirate copies of XP and Linux.

    Jesus fuckin christ, that company is going DOWN.

  44. Dan

    Will they ever learn?

    Just when you think that Vista has been such a failure that any sane MS employee must have woken up and smelt the coffee, they go and prove us wrong. Wasn't Vista supposed to be the last monolithic OS, with subsequent releases being 'modular'? Surely a modular approach would leave a single edition, with optional installable components to suit? Why the hell would anyone bother with this sh*t?

    The cost of a Mac gets more a more justifiable each day.

  45. Ewen Bruce

    Futile marketing gibberish

    Look MS, its an OPERATING SYSTEM!! It something I only care about to the extent that it provides the platform for the things I want to use. I know you'd really like me to get excited about it, but I just don't give a monkeys. I want one, simple, secure OS that runs my applications; why is that such a hard concept to grasp?

  46. Mick Gower

    Well we now know why it's called Windows 7

    You now have seven choices:

    Starter Edition, Home Basic, Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate.

    And Fedora

  47. keith

    tomany versions hum

    it seems microsoft hasnt gotten the message about how many versions of windows they make whats it gonna take an atom bomb heh. seriously microsoft stop making to many damn versions its most annoying its just to get more money out of us poor people struggling as it is without you making loads of confusion and fuss.

  48. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Any SKU for netbooks...

    ...absolutely needs all the network connectivity it can get. The whole point of these machines is that they give you a portable form of access to heavier resources elsewhere. A netbook that can't connect to your domain is a doorstop.

    Face it, the only version of Win7 worth running is the Ultimate Pan-Galactic Edition. Everything else is missing what people have come to expect in one way or another, whether it be networking, security or media. (And even UPGE is missing the "DRM-free" feature that Microsoft's competitors are offering.)

    There are just two reasons for the other SKUs. Firstly, by creating the appearance of a product line, Microsoft go some way to justifying the justify the price of the premium offering. Secondly, there are probably a few customers out there who can be suckered into buying it.

  49. Tom

    three apps at once??

    windows update, the IE8 that called it and a trojan,

    Thats not an operating system - thats a boot system.

    As in a boot you put on a car when you want to stop it going anywhere!

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Which version?

    Which version do I need for my netbook at work then?

    Windows 7 Work Starter Premium?

    sorry, forgetting we are in the EU

    Windows 7 Work Starter Premium No-WMP?

  51. Dr_Spain
    Paris Hilton


    Why not just allow everyone to join in and share the Ultimate version? OS-snobbery is already rife.

    The money saved on trying to market each version and printing different labels to line the east-wall of every PC World in the UK with, and reduced dvd-production efforts would allow Microsoft to sell Ultimate to everyone for £6.93 + Vodka & Tonic.

    P.S. Please Intel, stop making Celeron products. (I know Intel CEO reads these posts carefully)

  52. NB

    el oh el

    heh, what a crock. I installed debian a few years ago. Never looked back, never had to reinstall my OS and never had to pay a penny. (que the number of windows users I know that seem to be proud of their pirated copies of their OS whilst I haven't stepped on anyones legal toes.) Never had a virus, never had any malware, spyware or had to worry about hidden backdoors in the OS (what was that about an NSA key in versions of windows?), never had a blue/red screen of death, never had my computers media functionality intentionally crippled by the OS (vistas DRM backend anyone?). My life has been pretty windows/stress free ever since I said goodbye to the beast and hello to the penguin ;)

  53. A. Lewis

    Why why why?!

    Even XP's Home vs Pro was a bit much in my opinion. Why bother? Why not just one version, and slap a wizard on the front of 'add/remove windows features' that allows you to select the feature set most appropriate to your needs.

    I was warming to Windows 7, but this puts me off!

  54. jonathan keith
    Gates Horns

    The good news...

    ... is that this time they haven't fubared the versions. At least now each version will be a full superset of the previous one, meaning that the business edition, for example, won't be missing the media centre.

    Still too many versions though, but what can you do?

  55. Efros
    Gates Horns

    The just don't get it do they

    Differentiation should be on the basis of added features not of decreased crippling. Looks as if MS marketing dept has potentially fubarred the Redmond monkey factory's big hope, as they news announcer on H2G2 once said 'Keep banging those sticks together boys!"


  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @David Kairns

    Erm, even though they'll love it, I don't think MS are hoping one individual will buy all six flavours.

  57. Jim
    Thumb Down

    will they never learn..

    choosing a Windows edition is getting as complicated as installing/supporting a *nix install.. which ones cheaper?

  58. Test Man

    Really simply

    There's no confusion whatsoever. It's clear, we'll only see two versions of Windows at retail - Home Premium or Professional. Ultimate is exactly the same as enterprise this time round, except the licence is different (and we won't see Enterprise at retail while Ultimate will have a limited run). For us, there is NO HOME BASIC WHATSOEVER. Not only that, it's not the version that only runs 3 apps concurrently - Starter Edition is (and both of them are aimed at the small markets Microsoft wouldn't normally touch with a bargepole - so again we won't be seeing them).

    The only people getting confused is people who can't read properly.

  59. TeeCee Gold badge


    XP? Two versions?

    XP Home, XP Pro, XP Media Centre, XP Corp (aka XP pirate edition).

    That's four. I'm sure there are others as well (try factoring in the retail, retail upgrade and OEM versions, where applicable, for some real fun). I'm sure that the announced versions of 7 are the tip of an iceberg too.

    Pirate, in fond memory of MS's game of extreme whack-a-mole with XP corp licenses.

  60. Neil



    Why not just kick out one version, with all the features, priced in the middle.

  61. Stef

    Burger King

    I went to Burger King the other day. Those evil corporate money grabbers had at least 6 types of burger. And they all had different prices and names. And the burgers had different toppings. One of them wasn't even cow, it was chicken. Oh how my head spun. Why can't they just make 1 burger for everyone to enjoy/complain about?

    On a serious note, I bought a laptop last year which claimed to have XP Pro on it. When it arrived, it was Vista Home. Dear god, why!?!?!? I thought Windows ME was the worst OS ever, until I played with Vista Home. Vista Ultimate on my gaming/video editing PCs, and never looked back.

    Everyone is just going to torrent the version they want anyway, and then proudly claim they have never 'bought' Windows in their life.

    Please MS, just fix your current stuff before releasing new bloat.

  62. Avi

    Trying to copy Linux?

    What happened to the days of the Windows Fanboys complaining at the Linux Zealots that as long as there are multiple distros Linux will never make it to the desktop?

  63. Len Goddard



    Undeveloped has nothing to do with the technological or industrial state of the country, just the quality of its copyright control. Undeveloped means a country where people will pirate expensive stuff and the state won't stop them, so it is better to sell them something cheap and get some cash than lose control completely.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Home Basic / Starter

    This is

    On XP/Vista "Starter" is the version that only runs 3 programs, Vista "Home Basic" is a fully featured version that doesn't have all the Aero crap.

    It appears for 7 they're going to swap it round? Brilliant.

    By the time we add in all the EU-compliant versions this thing has as many SKUs as Vista.

  65. Anonymous Coward

    Why wouldn't people want TitBlocker?

    Because it's a pile of steaming carp, that's why. If we look at the Fista version, it's DOG slow compared to third party products, inflexible and lower security.

  66. Patrick

    slackware bah.

    @E and the LInux junkies. Wake up and smell the coffee, more people are installing Hackinstoshes and accessing the internet now than all your LInux combined. Linux is becoming an uber minority.

    Back to the OP topic:

    Its 2006 all over again, has Microsoft not learned anything from Vista? Where is the business justification for so many versions? Vista has only had single digit percentage uptake in Windows Key #1 market -- business. Where do they think they are making it easy for business managers and it departments the the ilk of this deployment strategy?

    Only thing W7 can win over Vista is the latter was a pig on the hardware that delivered very little bacon. Now its years later, hardware has caught up, hardware companies have had years to get used to writing drivers, and MS has a chance to really show the world its trying hard to win back the minds of its core markets. But then go and take two steps backwards by pulling the same 6 versions and then tossing on an oh except in certain countries its not 6 versions.

    Or maybe trying hard is the key word here. I have never seen a Windows release go to Beta only once then rapidly to a single RC then chucked out the door. I've never felt anything so rushed from Redmond as I have with W7. Lets hope when they chuck it out the door its not a fetus being chucked out the womb.

  67. Anonymous Coward


    Not only does this confuse things for the buyer, it also confuses things for anyone providing technical support for these multiple versions. They've got to try to remember which features are in which versions, and contend with clueless users who don't know what version they're using, and why features they've read about aren't available to them.

    Why don't Microsoft copy something useful from Apple? Just 2 versions of Mac OS X:

    Mac OS X - £83

    Mac OS X Server - £312

    No confusion there - ALL features available to ALL users, with additional Server features if you buy the Server version.

  68. Peter Kay

    The author needs to take reading comprehension classes

    It's very clear that Vista Starter allows only three apps, and Vista Home Basic allows unlimited. Can't you read?

    The real question is why Ultimate and Enterprise exist. On Vista Ultimate = business connectivity+media tools+Unix subsystem and Vista Enterprise=Business plus Unixy stuff and suchlike.

    Obviously their thinking is that Windows 7 Professional=SOHO and Enterprise=MLE. This is all utter bollocks to extract more money from the consumer.

    Get rid of Ultimate/Enterprise, stick it all in Professional. If business users don't want a function in the OS, they can customise the installation process.

  69. Richard Porter
    Thumb Down

    Microsoft ... Enthusiast?

    An oxymoron if ever there was one!

    Why can't we just have an operating system which can be incrementally expanded and upgraded as necessary? That's what I have on my RiscPC. I want a computer that works, not a "full function PC experience and visually rich environment" thank you very much.

  70. Matt Bradley
    Jobs Halo

    pay for security

    As with Vista and XP (where you had to pay extra to have password protected fileshares), you have to pay extra to get full security (like bitlocker) for your data.

    I can't understand how Microsoft can possibly think this a good idea: flood the market with low-security, crippled versions of windows, then deal with the PR disaster later? Stupid.

    It doesn't sound like they've learned *anything* from the Vista deployment debacle.

    Ah well. No skin off my nose (see icon).

  71. KB

    @Herby / XP SP4

    Joking aside, that's actually a very good idea.

    Microsoft really just need two versions of Windows 7 - Home and Professional.

    Home should cater for "working from home" people as well as the traditional "family" PC; Professional should be the all-in complete package by default but provide appropraite tools so that IT dept can switch certain modules on and off as they (or their users) so desire.

    With those two bases covered, I do accept that Microsoft needs to do something to cater for the netbook market and older / cheaper PCs that can't handle Aero etc. And the simple answer is to continue to offer XP.

    Yes, you'll still get the nay-sayers who will insist they want to stick with XP till the end of time, but frankly, Microsoft isn't going to persuade them to upgrade just by offering 6 SKUs, so it's hard to see how this confusing state of affairs is really going to help.

  72. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: Undeveloped?

    "The implied bigotry in MS's definition of "developed" is interesting."

    I think as far as Microsoft is concerned, "developed" people pay for their OS and "undeveloped" people don't. The starter edition is just a way of paying a little for your OS. (Of course, some of us might feel those definitions are back to front.)

  73. Ross Fleming

    Not to mention...

    full version, upgrade versions, OEM versions. Plus double that for the 32/64 bit variants.

    So, picking Home Professional:

    Home Pro 32bit retail

    Home Pro 64bit retail

    Home Pro 32bit upgrade

    Home Pro 64bit upgrade

    Home Pro 32bit OEM

    Home Pro 64bit OEM

    Extrapolate to 36 SKUs? Kindly lower that to ~30 as some won't exist (Starter Edition Upgrade for example)

    Stoopid, stoopid, stoopid... This was their chance to get it right!!!

  74. David


    And I was so looking forward to Windows 7.

    I'm weeping here.

  75. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)


    Anyone else listing all the versions of Windows yet again will be sent to the naughty step.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Nooooooh!

    "Please MS there needs to be only one version."

    One SKU to rule them all, and in the glow of a BSOD, blind them.

  77. Bernie Cavanagh
    Thumb Down

    Good Grief

    Trust Microsoft to come up with what looks like a reasonable serviceable product and then carry out a true marketing f**k up.

  78. NB

    only 1 version required

    Debian. Then you can just add the components you want for either a server or a desktop or whatever you want to make it. It's that simple.

  79. Gary F
    Gates Halo

    You selfish people...

    Do you realise how many employees Microsoft will have to make redundant if they have to close their Multiple Versioning Marketing department and Multiple Versioning Product Development department? Honestly people, it's always you, you, you! What about them?!! You think it's hard enough for you guys to get your head around all the Vista/7 versions, well my friends, you try being in their shoes and you'll realise how difficult it is to create such utter confusion with only a few million dollars in your budget. Cut these Microsoft guys some slack will you!


  80. Dick Emery

    Mines the version...

    ...with The Pirate Bay crack.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ bruceld

    Why bother? Are you really going to let MS burn you again?

  82. Lee
    Thumb Down

    Why oh why

    Well at least no-one can say that they have copied Apple...

    2 versions - Home and Business make it cheap and fully functional and people may well ditch the pirated versions of XP. Have been using the beta and the lowest spec machine in runs on is a lowly 1ghz cele 512mb ram - it runs (not brilliant) but could you even imagine what Vista would do to that machine...shudders...

    Why do MS take so much time and trouble creating stuff, and then fuck it up when it looks like they could have a winner (ok fair replacement for XP) here

    mega fail

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Test man

    No confusion. Just bemusement. The real question is why. There is no need for these SKU's (now there's a marketing term if ever I've heard one).

    Oh and the muppet that says Ubuntu releases are just service packs is absolutely right. That is why they are versioned the way that they are i.e. 9 (2009) . 04 (April). or 8 (2008) . 10 (October). Clever isn't it.

  84. Peter Kay
    Thumb Up

    Home vs Professional

    Professional covers 'working from home' - it's not unusual for users to need to log into the company network, the main feature 'Home' lacks. This is also why Enterprise/Ultimate should be scrapped, as the Windows Server 2008 features should surely be used by users on a Windows Server 2008 network..

    Continuing to offer XP on netbooks is a losing strategy for an OS vendor and most software companies. Whilst it'll take a long time for XP to die there's no sense in having to maintain two codebases/codepaths because the APIs are different on each platform.

  85. Jim Middleton

    Multiple versions benefit no one (including Microsoft)

    Microsoft seems to forget that many students need VPN connectivity to school networks and many business users need the ability to play MPEG-2 files. Also, many small business people will purchase their computers from big box retailers who will only stock Home Premium and everyone benefits from the ability to secure their data (except those who forget their passwords!).

    Home users need practically every capability of Windows except the ability to join a domain and be managed by group policy. This is also true for Vista and I'm surprised Microsoft hasn't learned from that experience. Prior to XP there was only one flavor for each version and the world loved Windows (though there was some antitrust unpleasantness concerning IE). I personally think Microsoft should go back to that model and offer domain connectivity and group policy as an add on for corporate clients - perhaps bundle it with server CAL's.

  86. Lewis Mettler

    remember why IE was bundled?

    At least under oath Microsoft said they bundled IE to keep down their testing costs?

    Like one version is all they could afford to release?

    But, they were just lying anyway.

    Screw the consumers and then lie to them too.

  87. Anonymous Coward


    " you'd have constantly to test "

    Say what?????

    This is windows we're talking about. ...

  88. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Why bother?

    Look MS you only need two versions.

    Home users will get Home for nothing on their new PC.

    Power Users will buy Ultimate.

    Companies will buy Ultimate in cheap volume license bundles to make sure they get the right kit.

    Those without a clue, will ask the nob in PC World what to buy, he will say Ultimate so he can have the commission.

    ....and Pirates will rip off Ultimate!

    Job done!

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ The Fuzzy Wotnot

    you my friend are a clueless idiot

    "Those without a clue, will ask the nob in PC World what to buy, he will say Ultimate so he can have the commission."

    Possible in theory except they don't have a commission system and havn't had one for a good few years now, I know because I used to work there.

    I would say how about getting a clue before posting, but this is the register and i assume you are a freetard so thats going to be asking alot.

  90. stim

    here we go...

    i don't know who's worse... Linux fanbois with their 0.8% market share or XP fanbois stuck in 2001... either way, 7 (and it's sucessors) will ultimately consume both.

  91. Sooty


    i don;t really care about all the other versions, i just want a single disk with both 32bit and 64bit on, that installs the appropriate version based on your processor.

    that way anyone with a 64bit procesor, pretty much everyone now, would be using the 64bit version, which means people might actually start developing 64bit software, rather than just the few bits and pieces out there that take advantage of it at the moment.

  92. Jonas Taylor

    I think I'll join in...

    If Microsoft only intends for a tiny minority of people to use Ultimate then why bother? It just adds confusion. All that is needed is Home and Professional - the enterprise version should just be Professional and the emerging markets version should be Home. That way Microsoft can markup the features that cost more to develop without putting the price of the consumer version up.

    Oh, and why are they restricting multi-language options to Enterprise and Ultimate? Surely language is fundamental to how users interact with the operating system? Limiting language options strikes me as the most obscene of the artificial restrictions Microsoft has put in place.

    Microsoft needs to stop drinking engine oil and sort its act out.

  93. blue
    Gates Horns

    required title cocks a snook at microsoft

    I guess this is what (convicted) monoplists do to create the illusion of competition in the marketplace.

    Personally, I'm loving the way there are fixes to a fairly common windows Vista problem posted on the internet that *can't* be run on Vista home 'premium' because it's crippled by an artificial exclusion of group policies. The problem itself, of course, is perfectly able to run on Vista Home Premium.

    I wonder if Vista7 Home versions will again assume that fax facilities are only required by businesses?

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guess Apple can re-run their adverts then

    This is stupid and shows Microsoft have still learning nothing from THEIR OWN 'If Microsoft Made the iPod' video. Apple get it right. Consumers have a single version, no confusion.

    If Microsoft want to have different levels of experience then ship a single disk and build a smart installer that works with the user when they first put the disk in the drive, ask them questions about their use of the computer, their network connection and have a look to see what the computer can do. Make a recommendation of what will be installed - WHICH THE USER CAN ACCEPT OR ALTER - then install. If they later want to put more in or take stuff out, they put the disk back in the drive and work through the installer.

    Just to let Steve B know, my consultancy rates are very affordable and I won't insist on more than the one Aston.

  95. brimful

    How about just the 1 version

    that 1 version should just be an OS - you know the code that allows applications to communicate with the underlying hardware and manage services? None of that bloat like cd burner, media player, integrated internet explorer, briefcase, useless games such as "sol.exe" is needed.

  96. Wortel


    Market spin as always. I walked away a long time ago.

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    I have a Ford Pinto. I'm going to change the tires, call it Pinto 7

    and sell it for $100,000 cause it'll run faster. Another $50,000 if they want the keys.

  98. Mark
    IT Angle

    Why all the versions?

    The only difference between them (apart from VERY niche products like HA or HPC) is the support you get.

    One OS.

    Support for home users same as Workstation, but "best endeavour" rather than "business day".

    Support for corporate use as a Workstation. Less limited. Includes replication and a service metric for how quickly it get answered. Options for both limited and unlimited queries.

    Support for use as a Server. Includes any server issues (e.g. running Apache, IIS, etc). Unlimited queries, plans for business day service or 2-hour 24/7 service etc.

    Support for "Ultimate", unlimited. 24/7, 2-hour service.

    the only difference between workstation and home is that you only get answers for each machine purchased. Businesses have an IT who doesn't own but DOES ask for support for all the problems with the OS.

  99. Mark
    Thumb Down

    re: Damned if the do and if they don't

    But the thing is they DID.

    You just think that since they're not doing worse or same that we should be thankful they're only SLIGHTLY crap, less crap than they were before.

    Sorry, if someone is kicking me in the nuts and then starts punching me in the stomach, I don't think I should thank them for merely punching me in the stomach.

  100. Neil

    Digging a hole

    I just got an email from MS...a technet update about Windows 7, and in the first paragraph it says:

    "So what are my first impressions? Well, for me it's those small changes which make it an exciting new OS. When I first tried to access my wireless at home it asked for the network key. But now the default is to display the characters, and the option is to hide them. Hurrah"

    How is that secure? come on MS, get the basics right!

  101. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: 32/64 bit

    "i don't really care about all the other versions, i just want a single disk with both 32bit and 64bit on, that installs the appropriate version based on your processor."

    Scarily enough, I think there is enough *code* (rather than images and documentation) in the Win7 distro that providing it in both flavours might require an extra disk.

    "that way anyone with a 64bit procesor, pretty much everyone now, would be using the 64bit version, which means people might actually start developing 64bit software, rather than just the few bits and pieces out there that take advantage of it at the moment."

    This is wrong-headed. There were two compelling reasons to switch from Win16 to Win32. Firstly, even fairly modest applications were using *far* more than 64K and paying a penalty in memory management. Secondly, Win32 brought a whole shedload of new features, like memory protection, threads, user-level security, etc.

    Neither is true for the 32-64 switch. There are a handful of applications that benefit from more than a gigabyte of working memory, and those have largely already been ported. Win64 offers no new API features. The Win32 version is fine, and will continue to be fine for the next decade or so.

    I've lost count of how many typedefs Microsoft now have for 32 and 64-bit integers, every single one of which is right in some cases and wrong for others. Microsoft first announced the scheme some time in the last century. The almost complete lack of take-up suggests that I wasn't the only one to decided almost immediately that it would *never* be worth the effort. Frankly, if I'm going to port my code to a new platform, grovelling over every line and type declaration wondering how to stop the compiler from screaming, I'll port it to something like Qt on Linux/OSX, because that would actually let me sell to new customers.

    I felt the same way when .NET came along. Microsoft have now offered me two new platforms with more a limited customer base than Win32 and no perceptible feature benefits. I've said no on both occasions, preferring to spend the time adding stuff that my customers want. I'm funny that way. Maybe that's why I still have a job.

  102. Doug Bostrom

    The ultimate in artificial scarcity

    Home Basic: "... just three applications concurrently..."

    Now that's innovation. Not only does MS flip a few bits to turn off chunks of their own ware, but they even make sure you don't simultaneously enjoy too much of everybody else's stuff.

    BTW, are applications bundled with Windows included in the limit? Anybody who's been exposed to this travesty able to say?

  103. vincent himpe


    ALL vista distro DVD's are identical. Its the DVD Key that you type in during registration that decides what gets installed/enabled ... So Win7 will probably be the same...

  104. jim

    merge with GM

    Microsoft should move to Detroit. That's where dinosaurs go to die.

  105. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    They just don't understand

    I am thoroughly convinced that the guys and gals at redmond just don't get the frustration and confusion they continually cause with their to screwed up SKU's. I would attribute malice to them since this seems like a ploy to cause enough confusion to make it easier to sell ultimate eXXtreme bloat version of this vista service pack. However I think that would be attributing to them far to much in terms of intelligence and forethought.

    Really as many have said above they should have three max (maybe four in a stripped down version that lives easier on netbooks). Of course doing that would make far to much sense for M$ since they still seem to be in the "lets throw as much half assed crap as we possibly can at users and hope they wont notice how flawed it all is" mind set. But that being said I'm not surprised as I've come to expect epic fail from MS at every turn and they have yet to do anything which shows that trend changing anytime soon.

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PC Enthusiasts

    Didn't P. T. Barnum say there was one of these born every minute?

  107. DrFix
    IT Angle


    It looks like MS suffers from some sort of multiple personality disorder. There was a time long ago when there was only one flavor of their Windows release. Where is the harm in simply making one version now, period, with all the heavy lifting apps etc. turned off by default and give the user the "option" of turning something on if they wish? If someone wants business grade support then bill them for that on some sort of tiered pricing structure but for goodness sake it's time to deep six this stupidity. And they wonder why users are wandering off to other OS platforms. I'm a firm believer that it is Microsofts own business to sell whatever they want even if they want to push a thousand different versions, that's called freedom of choice, but as a long time support technician it only muddies the waters for me. Maybe that's why I use a Mac at home.

  108. John O'Hare

    @Rock Lobster

    " Well, first of all, you could call every new Ubuntu or Fedora a "service pack", since it always uses the older version as a basis. But here, nobody has a problem with calling it a successor."

    Well quite frankly I don't give a toss whether a new 'version' of Ubuntu is called service pack or a complete new version, since I don't have to pay £99, whether it *is* or *isn't* considered one. Unlike the situation where MS makes the differentiation and you do need to pay over the distinction. So your invalid argument only diverts attention from the real issue.

    " And even if Windows 7 is really only a "service pack", then it is still understandable that MS won't call it that way, because Vista's reputation is already as low as it can get. No wonder that they'll use a new name for it."

    Which bit of my comment gave you the impression that there's a lack of understanding on *why* they're doing this. You don't get kudos for stating the obvious.

    Understanding *why* they do it, doesn't make it easier to swallow, quite the contrary actually.

    " Maybe people want to call it a service pack because of its shorter development time. But if they'd need another 5 years to develop it, only to justify it being a really new release, people would be unsatified as well."

    Really? Again I couldn't give a toss if they did; looking at all the people sticking to XP, it doesn't look like even the crowd sticking to would XP care either.

  109. John Latham

    Aboot time too

    "It seems that Home Basic will be lobbed into sectors outside of what Microsoft calls "developed technology markets" - which it defines as the US, European Union, Australia and Japan."

    I always suspected that Canada was a developing country.

  110. John O'Hare
    IT Angle


    " When MS offered one version of their OS with everything built in for everyone, people took them to court. Presumably that cost more than supporting six versions. Be careful what you wish for"

    Yes, I can still vividly remember all those cases going to court over MS-DOS (version whatever), windows 3.x and window 95/98.

    I suppose you mean the integration of the mediaplayer and internet browser in the software. Which wasn't about one flavour of windows not being ok, but about antitrust regulation for companies that have a monopoly. Plus essentially, that was about windows XP, which had at least two flavours.

    Please don't pull stuff out of context, when it suits your purpose (or go into politics, not IT).

  111. Anonymous Coward


    The lockout is bad enough. But not letting me use my legacy hardware because it can overcome DRM? They're asking for it.

    Penguin. Because I find freedom to do what I want to do in MythTV and Linux.

  112. Wortel

    @Ken Hagan

    It is thinking like that which keeps the world in the stone age.

    64-bit has been possible for a long time, yet there people go and franticly cling to their trusty old 32-bit platform.

    The same platform which hampers development of better technology, simply because it can no longer scale upwards as it is by design, less capable.

    Back when the 32-bit platform was designed, nobody imagined that sooner than they imagined, the world would need something more capable.

    The end result? how many valid answers to that do you want?

  113. Lennart Sorensen

    64bit windows does have a few issues

    If you run 64bit windows you can no longer run any 16bit code, only 64 and 32bit code. 32bit windows can run 32 and 16bit code.

    You do occasionally still run into small bits of 16bit code in installers and libraries. I have so far encountered two programs that refuse to work on 64bit windows due to use of 16bit code. Annoyingly the error message you get from windows in this case makes no sense at all, given that rather than saying "This is 16bit code and you can't run that" it says something like "Unsupported program. Please verify if you need a 64 or 32bit executable", to which you think "either one is supposed to be fine" not "oh darn, you mean this one isn't either of those?". I had pretty much forgotten there used to be 16bit windows code around.

    Of course 64bit windows gains you a little bit of performance in some cases, and gives you access to more than 3GB or so of ram (without the performance penalty PAE causes), and the ability for single applications to use more than 3GB of ram.

    On Linux it is much simpler. There never was 16bit Linux code, so all Linux code can run on a 64bit Linux system just fine.

    Unfortunately the 16bit code problem on 64bit systems is a hardware design limitation to improve performance, and not Microsoft's choice. So we can't really blame them for it.

  114. Paul

    3 words for you...


  115. Anonymous Coward

    WTF is windows

    quote :

    These customers are "PC enthusiasts" who want features

    Hey fatty Ballmer any PC enthusiast worth their salt uses Linux and not that pile of steaming overpriced manure

  116. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Several similar version of earlier, too

    "There should be only one version like NT & Windows 2000."

    NT4 had "workstation" and "server" versions, same kernel (bit by bit), of course but some programs would run only on "server" versions.

    2000 had several versions: Professional, Server, Advanced Server and Datacenter Server. Each was packaged separately and nobody knows now what were the diffences, if there were any (like NT).

  117. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    DRM stays

    "But has anyone found out if this DRM bullshit is on Windows 7? "

    Yes. Same kernel as Vista, same DRM. What do you expect from a company who sits in the lap of *AA mob?

  118. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Money generating rip off

    "Well, first of all, you could call every new Ubuntu or Fedora a "service pack", since it always uses the older version as a basis. But here, nobody has a problem with calling it a successor."

    You are missing a point. You don't pay money for a new version of Ubuntu or Fedora. You don't pay for a SP. On the other hand, you _do_ pay, a lot, for "new" version of Vista.

    If it's free, it doesn't matter at all if it's "new version" or "service pack", who cares. It matters when "new version" is expensive and is actually not even a service pack but a patch. Which "Windows 7" is: A patch to Vista, money generating rip off.

  119. Anonymous Coward

    Actually, it will.

    "Moaning is not going to help you "

    Like it didn't help in Windows ME or Vista? Oh well, maybe not actually moaning, but not buying which is, more or less, the same thing.

    The more you moan, the more those who can choose, will choose something else than MS. So saying "it doesn't mean anything" is plainly wrong: Those who can choose, use search engines extensively and loud enough moans are seen.

  120. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    BK notoriously bad example ;)

    "Why can't they just make 1 burger for everyone to enjoy/complain about?"

    Good question. Burger King stuff is always the same, no matter what they claim it to be. Same with Windows.

    Why several different labels and prices for the same stuff? Pure marketing, if you ask me.

  121. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    What is a "market share", excactly?

    "more people are installing Hackinstoshes and accessing the internet now than all your LInux combined. Linux is becoming an uber minority."

    _Buying_ maybe, but installing? How could you (or anybody) know?

    Define "Operating System Market Share" when a program is not sold, but given away and _is not at the market_ at all? Obviously market share is almost zero, then. Old MS trick, use your own definition of "market". You (nor anybody else) didn't define even that.

    Additionally no-one knows how many of them is in use or copied around. I know that I've downloaded _a_ copy of Centos5 and it's in use in 23 machines now. Why would I download more than one DVD-image?

    Definetely a company, which follows _sold items_ , doesn't know anything about usage and the claims you and the Inquirer are making, is just BS or nicely put: Guessing.

    If you insist to count Linux retail packages sold, then you should count also Windows retails only and I'll bet there are more Linuxes sold retail than Windowses: It's a OEM only product in practice.

  122. Anonymous Coward

    "Market", eh?

    "Linux fanbois with their 0.8% market share"

    Define "market"?

    In our market, Linux's market share is about 98%. And yes, that market is bigger than few machines. What's yours?

    I won't doubt that you could find a market which has 0,8% of linuxes, but in any standard company, there are more linuxes than that in servers alone: http and mail are the major applications, smb also. 0,8% is just 1 in 125 machines and it's so low that it's obviously a result of defining 'market' as 'licences _sold_'.

    As MS-fanboys always do, because 'units in use' would be too embarrassing: Most of the MS-licences sold are used a couple of years and then thrown away with the machine.

  123. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Advantages? Really?

    "It is thinking like that which keeps the world in the stone age.

    64-bit has been possible for a long time, yet there people go and franticly cling to their trusty old 32-bit platform.


    The end result? how many valid answers to that do you want?"

    One would be enough, haven't seen that yet.

    64 bits offers excactly one advantage: more memory. If that's not a problem, then none. "If it's not broken, don't fix it!" is wise saying: You are just losing time and money for exactly nothing. Bad karma, that.

    If people switched from one technology to other which offers nothing better but looks better and costs more, we'd be still in stone ages, just with pretty and shiny stones.

    Just like XP -> Vista or 32 -> 64 bits, at least now. As MS-software bloats more, we may later need 64 bits worth of memory just to run Windows 7 and Notepad, 4G won't be enough for this technical miracle.

  124. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Marketing BS


    The inquirer forgot to read small print and obviously you took marketing BS at face value.

    Company guessing "market" shares blatantly put all "unknown" versions of Macintosh into one pool: Hackintosh.

    Just a "small" mistake happened:"no version reported" ≠ hackintosh. Hackintosh running Leopard will report OS X 10.5.

    So the Hackintosh "market share" is BS.

    Market share is also defined as "browsers visiting in our sites (and reporting OSes)", which isn't anything more than a guess. Very bad even for that: In every practical use, just BS.

    That makes the Linux "market share" BS, too.

  125. Charles King
    Gates Halo


    "why wouldn't these customers want BitLocker to secure their machines?"

    Uhh, perhaps because they're using the free and superior Truecrypt instead...

    You've missed the real news here, though. If MS are to be believed, Win7 Pro will include all the media shinies from Win7 HomePremiumSuperUnleaded. This removes the false choice between media shiny and halfway-decent management tools that existed in Vista and means that the 'Ultimate' SKU is only aimed at the crowd who wants to rub $100 bills on Steve Ballmer's head.

    Starter, Basic and 'Anytime Upgrade' are there to do the same job they did in Vista - tempt the cheap shits who don't want to pay for an OS away from the evils of Linux.

  126. Anonymous Coward

    Much ado about nothing...

    Microsoft made a severe blunder with Vista. The product is sluggish, user-abusive, and incompatible with a significant amount of "Vista Capable" hardware. The IT company that handles our company's computers recommended that we simply refuse to buy any Vista product, but remain with XP as long as possible. This experience has been repeated endlessly. Vista is a fat, slow, ravenous pig that spends much of your computer resources making sure you don't do something illegal.

    As a result of the Vista debacle, Microsoft has had to quickly shove something out the door that they hope will mitigate this disaster. Their future hangs on Windows 7; if that's a flop, Microsoft will have to do some serious rethinking, or risk losing substantial market share to Mac and Linux.

    Personally, I find the DRM the most troubling aspect of Microsoft's OS. The silence concerning what, if any, DRM will be used in Windows 7 suggests that they're hoping that the issue flies in under the radar. While I don't support what is called software "piracy", I also don't want Microsoft or anyone else telling me how I can use my computer.

    Unfortunately for Microsoft, Linux has finally become simple enough for Grandma to use. The Mac, though expensive, is also very easy to use and has wonderful customer support. These represent more of a threat now, than ever before.

  127. Levente Szileszky

    Another *retarded*, incompetent MS decision

    "Professional: Planned features will include group policy-based management tools, Encrypting File System and Location Aware Printing.

    Enterprise and Ultimate: You'll get BitLocker data protection, and DirectAccess and BranchCache to connect to networks running Windows Server 2008 R2."

    Why, tell me WHY ON EARTH YOU NEED TO CREATE *ANOTHER* Professional and call it Enterprise???

    I bet it's Ballmer, this balloon-headed incompetent, ugly fat loser who can't use even an Office package but he still hinks he's a savy 'businessman'... problem is he's apparently never been properly smacked by anyone - I hope next time he will get something stronger than stupid eggs or cake...

    DO IT AS YOU ARE DOING IT WITH XP: 1 Crap (Starter) Edition, 1 Home (forget the stupid Premium, it's only good for confusing people), 1 Professional (put in ALL BUSINESS/CORPORATE/ENTERPRISE goodies) and if you want, create a stupid Ultimate (God knows why you keep insisting on it.)

    If you're sooo hooked on the name "Ultimate" then DO NOT sell Professional in Retail, only in OEM and Volume/Open, sell it as "Ultimate" in retail, period.

    There's no friggin' need to create *another* stupid Professional Edition - idiotic, annoying = atypical crooked Microsoft...

  128. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Market Fundementals

    Fundemental fact number 1: You are not Microsoft's customer.

    Microsoft's customers are: Dell, Gateway, HP, Walmart, BestBuy, etc. You buy from them.

    The OEMs want to be able to distinguish their lines of products, and more importantly to be able to 'sell up' to make more profit. They will offer a 'cheap' line with Home Basic, a medium range with Home Premium and a top layer with Ultimate.

    This allows them to 'sucker' you in with an offer of a '$500 Windows laptop', but it only has 'Basic' and you would hide it when friends came to call because of the shame. So they sell you up to 'Premium' or 'Ultimate' so you have bragging rights, but thee are only available on the $1000 or $1500 laptops.

    Ubuntu is just one version (for practical purposes) and it runs equally well on the $500 laptop as it does on the $1500 one. There is not a lot for the OEM to maximise the profit. They can't offer 'more' because it already has it all. They can't cripple it because it wouldn't be Ubuntu, and anyway it could just connect to download what was missing.

    This is the same as happened in the car market many years ago. Sure you can buy a $xxx BMW, but you need to buy the next model up for xyz feature and if you want flappy paddle gearchange to brag about to your friends then you have to buy the top line model for 3x $xxx for that to be an option.

    It is the OEMs, Microsoft's customers, who want these versions, not you the user.

    Of course it is also useful for Microsoft to plead at the anti-trust hearing that they haven't raised their prices and that 'Home Basic' is actually cheaper than XP or ME. The more expensive versions, the ones that actually sell, are more expensive but only because it includes additional stuff.

  129. Pink

    They're back again?

    From what I have seen of Windows 7 there's not much to separate it from Vista. To some this will be a good thing, to others a bad thing. I was amused by Microsoft's very tempting offer to 'Upgrade' my Vista business edition to Vista Home Basic for a mere $29 as I clicked through the interface discovering the wonderful new 'Experience' wizards and ended up on their Vista marketplace mini site. I'm sure windows 7 will, despite it's new and shiny and simpler market breakdown, still give me such options.

    I moved to OpenSUSE 64bit after trying Vista for three months. Never looked back. Upgraded from 10.3 x86, to 11.0 x86, to 11.0 x64, to 11.1 x64 and surprisingly the only disk I've used was the original 10.3 network install CD I downloaded to check it out. Admittedly going from 32bit to 64bit in place is a heavily technical operation that left me in a state that could not be described as stable for a while, but I've sorted it all now. I challenge anyone to try starting out with XP 32bit, then upgrade to XP 64bit and then upgrade to Vista x64 and fair any better (If that is even a possible upgrade path).

    I still get the daily Joy of Vista on my work machine and all that tells me is how glad I am to have got out and found something else workable at home.

    Okay I'll be honest, I miss the constant nagging of my OS for petty things such as cleaning up my desktop, cleaning up my hard drive, defragging my hard drive, installing VITAL updates to fix holes in a 'secure' OS on an almost weekly basis that also manage to reset various user chosen settings. I miss having to run with administrator mode constantly to do my job. I miss activesync/WMDC refusing to sync using Microsoft drivers, Microsoft synchronisation software and a Microsoft OS on both ends of the connection and telling me that the hardware is at fault [unknown device] (despite the fact that the same hardware running under a different OS has no knowledge of the USB connection problems that Windows ultimately claims is the problem) I miss paying Microsoft for upgrades that give me no more functionality than third party software I've already paid for or is free and that forces me to upgrade said third party tools and install anew anyway and then compete with the built in version I can't remove. I miss constantly keeping my AV software and spyware/adware/malware protection (from multiple providers to make sure I've got fairly good coverage in place) up to date and not conflicting with either the OS or each other. I miss the constant search for software and drivers to support the hardware I've bought that says it is certified but the first thing I find out is I have to upgrade the firmware, and then the drivers and then the user space software and that it only has 32bit support despite 64 bit being pretty much the norm for the last 2-3 years. I miss re-installing every six months to get a clean stable OS again and then having to apply literally hundreds of updates and having to re-install and reconfigure everything. I miss hacking the registry to set some setting that used to be in the OS and I now can't find despite Allah alone knows how many years in the industry, making the registry the easiest way to affect the change. Most of all I miss the annoying bugs and years that pass before they get fixed (if ever) despite a commercial testing regime from one of the world's leading software development companies. (and people claim *nix/*BSD are hassle)

    Actually no I don't miss it at all, I still have to put up with all this on my work machine.

    The only thing I really miss is the games I used to play, but then the games I used to play more often than not do not work on Vista anyway and so presumably are going to fair no better under Windows 7 no matter what UltimateSuperCaliFragilistic-2012-V8.1-SP5.NET-SVR-10 edition I choose. YMMV.

    Windows 7 you say... How's it doing now? Glad you're enjoying it. Give them my regards.


    I'm an Amigan who didn't "upgrade" to Windows till Win98SE, Vista made me jump ship again.

  130. Pink

    RE: Maybe by self-competition

    Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    "(I have debian at work and openSUSE at home so I can take two sides in those debates ;-) )"

    Only two pah, have you not heard of VMWare? Run EVERY OS and then you can just pick the currently winning side.

    I would have suggested VirtualPC but I've not had much luck getting it to run in WINE.


  131. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Give Microsoft a break

    baskin & robbins has 31 flavors, where is the public outcry?

  132. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    I smell Penguin Guana

    Will all the FreeTards go away. Obviously your way earned you less than 1% of total market share so keep up the decisions you've gone with, it has gotten you far.

    Saintly Bill Gates because he will welcome all you lost wayward children back into the Windows fold.

  133. John O'Hare

    @I smell Penguin Guana

    Thanks a lot AC, I'd really like to kiss you right now (since you just made me throw up in my mouth).

  134. mark jacobs
    IT Angle

    Steer Clear of Windows 7

    Windows 7 - Another flop in the making. There is something wrong with basing Windows 7 on Vista (as an evolution of Vista, rather than a fresh product). They have stuffed up Vista and it's so serious a stuff-up that even my technophile colleagues all tried it for 3 months and all went back to XP SP3 Pro. If all you are after is the Aero look, then use Window Blinds. I have used this for years and it has been an aesthetically pleasing experience, with none of Vista's drawbacks. XP works, so let's keep using it. Ubuntu isn't there yet - how does one get spinning cubes of desktops after installing it? It seems like a minefield!

  135. Levente Szileszky
    Thumb Down

    Win7 beta got great press through paid shills but it's still a Vista after all...

    ...and that's why it's "another flop in the making" as <mark jacobs> put it eloquently.

    I'm using this beta on daily basis and quality issues aside - hey, it's just a beta - it's STILL A FRIGGIN' VISTA, still a BLOATED, CLICK-O-MANIA interface, still lacks even such basic things as a telnet etc.

    It's a big, steamy, stinky, hairy pile of BLOATED SH!T, that's what Vista turned out to be and so far that's how Windows 7 is turning out again.

  136. Mark Simon
    Jobs Halo

    OS X

    Let’s see. I might go for OS X. No, wait. I want the advanced features so I’ll go for OS X. But I don’t want it to be too hard to use, so I’ll get OS X. Business or personal? Better get OS X just in case.


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