How Many Versions of Windows 8 is Too Many?

It appears that Microsoft is planning 9 potential versions:

  1. Windows 8 Starter;
  2. Windows 8 Home Basic;
  3. Windows 8 Home Premium;
  4. Windows 8 Professional;
  5. Windows 8 Professional Plus;
  6. Windows 8 Enterprise;
  7. Windows 8 Enterprise Eval;
  8. Windows 8 Ultimate; and
  9. Windows 8 ARM.

That is two more versions than what was in Windows 7. 

These versions were garnered from a peak into

HKLM\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS\CURRENT VERSION\COMPONENT BASED SERVICING\PACKAGE INDEX\PRODUCT

which may have been first discovered and referred to in an Engadget article.

As a business owner and Microsoft reseller,  I can justify only four versions:

  • Windows 8 Basic;
  • Windows 8 Home Premium;
  • Windows 8 Professional / Enterprise;
  • Windows 8 ARM.

The difference between these products should be apps and the ability to connect to a domain.  It should not be core functionality like the number of apps it can run at the same time.  The naming is confusing for consumers and businesses alike and should be streamlined.

I understand that Starter is so limited (3 apps at a time, change not change wallpaper background without third party tools) because Microsoft sells it in the Asia / African markets for almost nothing.  Basic is sold for < $20 to netbook builders and the like.  The limits on Starter (and Basic) are so bad that I think it leaves consumers with a bad overall impression of Windows and for that reason alone it should be removed and some of the annoying and obviously arbatrary limits on Basic (like ability to change the wallpaper) should be lifted.

Home Basic, should just be referred to as Basic and sold for very little, much like Starter.

Professional is the exact same as Enterprise excepting the name and some additional licencing features and options, so settle on a name and make it simple.  Personally I think Professional is the better name.

ARM for obvious reasons, should exist.

The ‘Ultimate’ name is just plain overselling the product and inevitably leads to disappointment.  It has nothing the Enterprise doesn’t have… in fact because of things like MDOP, Enterprise can have more features.

Questions or Comments?