A closer look at the Windows 7 SKUs

A closer look at the Windows 7 SKUs

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Today, I wanted to take a closer look at the Windows 7 SKUs since there has been some discussion about them for the last couple of days. By the end of this post, I want you to know exactly which edition of Windows 7 is right for you and help you understand how we approached addressing the large amount of feedback we received.

Our SKU line-up is based on listening to feedback from customers and partners and here is what they have told us and how we are addressing their feedback in Windows 7:

1. Customers wanted clarity on which version of Windows is the right version for them.  So…Windows 7 will be offered primarily in 2 editions: Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional.

2. Customers wanted upgrading to a different SKU to be easier.  So…for Windows 7, we are using a single image for all SKUs. This means the bits for all the editions are already on your computer if you are running Windows 7.  With Windows Anytime Upgrade, users can unlock and upgrade to a different SKU much easier than before.

3. Customers did not like losing features when upgrading to a different SKU.  So…in Windows 7, each SKU is a superset of the previous SKU. No features are lost on upgrade.

4. One size does not fit all—particularly with a billion users and thousands of partners around the world.  So…we are addressing the specialized needs for customers in specific markets with Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, and Windows 7 Enterprise.

Let me dive a little deeper into these 4 areas and what it means for you.

Our marketing efforts, when they begin for Windows 7, will reflect an emphasis on Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional. With the continued hardware advancements made since the launch of Windows Vista, we think 80% of end users will choose one of these two SKUs.

  • Windows 7 Home Premium: Recommended Choice for Consumers
  • Windows 7 Professional: Recommended Choice for Enthusiasts and Small Business Customers

Essentially, when Windows 7 hits store shelves consumers will see Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional as the choice they will need to make.

We also make it easy for customers to change down the road. So let’s say I purchase Windows 7 Home Premium and want to upgrade to Windows 7 Professional. With Windows Anytime Upgrade I can, as it makes upgrading to another version of Windows 7 much easier now that we have a single image for every SKU. Users will be able to unlock upgraded editions of Windows 7 without original media or additional software as everything they need in order to upgrade will be on their PC already.

Because each SKU is a superset of the previous SKU for Windows 7 that means each higher edition SKU will also include every feature the lower edition SKUs has. Windows 7 Professional will have every feature that Windows 7 Home Premium has plus other business-oriented features such as the ability to join a domain.

Not every customer has the same needs. In general, we discovered that most think we should have about 2 or 3 SKUs but there isn’t much agreement what “the right” SKUs should be. So we are accommodating specialized needs for customers in specific markets. You could also think of these as niche offerings. A small percentage “niche” (like 2%) of the overall customer base is still many millions. That feels pretty big to me and we wanted to make sure we had the right solutions for them. We think it is important to respond to the needs, so we have:

  • Windows 7 Starter: Something that our OEM partners asked for is to have an offering for folks that will do very limited things with their PCs and for PCs with limited hardware capabilities. Windows 7 Starter only allows up to 3 applications to run at once. This is something that will be offered only through OEM partners.
  • Windows 7 Home Basic: Another offering that our OEMs asked for was a basic offering on Value PCs in emerging markets. This is something that will also only be available through OEM partners. 
  • Windows 7 Enterprise: An offering asked for by our best and largest enterprise customers which has all the advanced security and manageability capabilities which also includes BitLocker data protection. This is something available only through Volume License agreements. 

And, for those who want everything we have Windows 7 Ultimate.

Many of you have been asking about how to think about SKUs and very low-end notebook PCs or “Netbooks”. All SKUs of Windows 7 will work on many of these devices, with Windows 7 Home Premium as the recommend SKU on small notebook PCs with sufficient hardware. I have a Dell Mini 9 running the Windows 7 Beta (which is Windows 7 Ultimate) just fine. Brad Brooks, Corporate Vice President for Windows Consumer Product Marketing, talks more about Windows 7 on Netbooks here in this Q&A with Microsoft PressPass.

Today, 1 billion customers use Windows and the needs of our customers span a wide range. We have been listening and learning to make sure we are addressing the full range of needs while simplifying/clarifying the choices.  Our SKU strategy reflects Windows 7’s ability to work well on a variety of PCs as well as meets the needs of our customers.

So which edition of Windows 7 fits your needs? I expect for the majority of you it will be either Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 7 Professional. For me, I think Windows 7 Professional looks perfect for my needs.

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  • cipher
    1 Posts

    Which version will have IIS 7.5? Will homepremium have it?

  • yellowhat, SKU means "stock keeping unit" and is used in retail:

    en.wikipedia.org/.../Stock-keeping_unit

    A specific SKU is essentially a specific edition of Windows 7. The Windows 7 Ultimate Edition is one SKU of Windows 7, the Windows 7 Professional Edition is another SKU, etc.

  • Help, what is SKU?

  • tomfra
    1 Posts

    Personally, I don't understand why the Multi User Interface (MUI) is included in the Ultimate & Enterprise editions only, just like with Vista.

    MUI is a great feature for everyone who needs, even if just from time to time, switch the OS language. I am using Czech language version of Vista Ultimate now and have created one user account using the English MUI.

    Why do I need it? Part of my business is helping English speaking customers with their Windows related problems. I need to be able to tell them "Click this click that..." so I need to know the exact wording in the English version, and it's great for recording video tutorials too.

    Great feature indeed. But why in the world is it not included as a part of the standard Home Premium, or even the Professional edition?! What is so "Ultimate" about this feature anyway?

    Professional users will be using mostly the Professional edition. It should therefore include all Professional/Business related functionality, period!

    Keep in mind that very often you do not get the choice of the OS edition, for example when you buy a PC with the OS preinstalled, it will be either the Home Premium or the Professional edition 95%+ of the time. You may say, just upgrade the edititon through the "Windows Anytime Upgrade" to Ultimate.

    But if the upgrade price between editions is so outrageous as with Vista, it will not work. Now, if you buy a PC with preinstalled Professional (OEM) edition and can later upgrade it to the Ultimate (OEM) for like $30, I am happy with that.

    But since it's unlikely MS would allow us to upgrade the OEM edition to another (higher) OEM edition paying just the difference in the standard OEM editions price, we will be forced to upgrade the preinstalled OEM edition to full/retail edition using the upgrade license which is costly.

    I do not even hope we will get much better upgrade pricing through the Windows Anytime Upgrade. Sometimes I think there is one team in Microsoft supposed to cripple a good OS as much as possible in the name of marketing.

    SIMPLIFY SIMPLIFY SIMPLIFY!

    My advice to Microsoft:

    1) Nuke the Ultimate edition, move all currently Ultimate-only features to the Professional edition.

    2) Make the cost of upgrading Home Premium to Professional reasonable - ideally the same or just slightly higher than the difference in the standard edition pricing. If there is OEM version of Home Premium installed on the PC, it should be possible to upgrade to OEM version of Professional through Windows Anytime Upgrade at the same (or just slighly higher) price as the real price difference between the 2 OEM editions.

    3) All installation media should include both 32/64bit versions (with Vista only the Ultimate edition had this feature).

    4) If the Ultimate edition has features that could not be included in Professional due to high license costs to 3rd party companies (e.g. Bitlocker, I don't know), make it a separate product sold through Windows Live or something like that. Reintroduce "Windows Plus" if you have to.

    And again, please stick more to the KISS principle. Despite Windows 7 looks promising, the marketing could easily kill it!

    Tomas

  • I downloaded the Beta of W7 and was super excited, it resolved pretty much everything that kept me from using Vista but now I hear that there are 23 flavors of W7?  I certainly hope this is a joke because I don't think Microsoft can afford for another failed operating system; might have to stick with XP for a few more years ;(

  • sbsbofh
    1 Posts

    Brandon LeBlanc,

    Of all the copies of Windows XP currently used, what percentage do you suppose were "purchased in stores", and what percentage were provided along with a new PC by an OEM?

    Saying that customers will only see two flavours of Windows 7 is nonsense IMHO, becuase after a year or two, the majority of Windows 7 *users* will have received their copy with a new PC, rather than having bought it themseleves...  so it might well turn out to be Windows 7 Home Basic OR Ultimate

    Q: When did *you* last purchase a copy of Windows in a store?

    Best wishes

    Jim

  • I Prefer a Glass of Red Wine...

    Coming Soon:

    New System Windows Azure , İnternet Explorer 8 , New Client System Windows 7 , New Plain Service Packs (x) ,Win.Liw.W. III and IV :-) , New (Free)Security Proq. ''Morro'' ...

    Very Busy Busy Now (microsof) Windows , Very Busy Now :-)

    See You Aqain...;)

  • @Imani - You're right... "should" is a strong, suggestive and "bossy" word. I suppose "recommendation" or "suggestion" or "request" would be more proper and less annoying. Thanks for pointing that out. :)

  • colonelmad, I'm not sure I follow you there. What do you mean you can't get 32-bit "ever"?

  • I can get a Netbook edition

    I can get Enterprise edition (just)

    I can't get anything else other than a full fat edition

    and I can't get 32 bit, ever.

    I think you guys need to take a trip to Seattle.

  • Imani
    12 Posts

    Can some one explain why starter is needed if even 7 ultimate can run on a netbook well?

    Also instead of saying I think MS "SHOULD" as if you really own the company, I think it'll be better if we offer our suggestions in a more friendly non-bossy matter.

    I really think Microsoft can avoid the Vista confusion if they carry out a stricter policy on Windows 7, e.g don' let the OEM offer every single version and through it at the client, instead, go ahead with pushing Home Premium and Professional for customers. Dell confuses people when they don't offer consistency as to which version to choose on their products. However the strictness shouldn't starngle the OEM though its a really simple choice, Premium, or Professional. That seems reasonable, but that's just me :)

  • My suggestion is release four sku's only:

    -W7 Basic (OEM, for emerging markets, for netbooks, and really cheap to fend off Linux)

    -W7 Home (for home premium users)

    -W7 Professional (for business/ultimate users)

    -W7 Enterprise (for big companies, volume license)

    Too many sku's will create a lot of confusion as with Vista. I think you guys will loose more market if you complicate too much.

  • How many "Home" users actually purchase the Windows box from a store? What I see in "the real world" is people upgrading their Windows software when they purchase a new computer.

    So, let's say a "Home" user is shopping on Dell.com. Dell is an OEM partner (if I understand the term correctly), so the dell website will now present the "Home" user with all 7 choices for Windows. Since Microsoft will not have any oversight on how the OEM partners use these SKU's, dell can simply put a price next to each version and leave it to the customer to decide which version is best. In this case, the "Home" user is going to be confused. Even if Dell explains all of the versions, "Home" users don't know if they need BitLocker. They don't know what half of these features are, so they feel compelled to spend more money than they need to for a SKU they don't need.

    So, allowing OEM partners to sell all of the SKU's brings us back to where we are with the Vista SKU's. That's a problem. How is Microsoft going to address this issue?

    NEXT: Why offer 32-bit Operating Systems for Windows 7? Are that many companies that far behind on their processors that they don't have 64-bit capabilities? Microsoft needs to push things forward and just release 64-bit editions. We've been doing 32-bit for far too long and it's holding many applications back as software developers either code for both platforms are just 32-bit.

    If a consumer wants a 32-bit Operating System they can go with XP, Vista or a Linux distribution. 64-bit is now and needs to be the future. If Windows 7 is the OS for the next 10 years, then it needs to be future-proofed. I know Microsoft wants to make it available to everybody they possibly can, but this goes back to my original point: Most people upgrade Windows when they buy a new PC, not when a new OS comes out. And if they want to upgrade and can only do 32-bit, then that's their problem and they still have options (XP, Vista).

    LASTLY: Many netbooks are starting to come out at a very low price and with Linux installed. Microsoft should release Windows Netbook. A free modified version of Windows for netbooks. Maybe this should be the Starter package? I don't know, but most people won't buy this and Microsoft should compete with the free Linux market in some way.

  • Imani
    12 Posts

    It boggles my mind as to why the SKU scheme is so hard to get. Many users will only see 2 versions of Windows 7, Home Premium and Professional. That's it, you go to the store you will be given a choice of those 2 ,on the shelf or on a PC.

    Starter is for sub-notebooks with limited or simply low resources, this will be with the OEM not in stores.

    Home Basic is for emerging markets, will not be store sold.

    Enterprise will never be seen unless you manage your companies IT status or have a link to it.

    Ultimate will be for special promotions and for a few high end machines. You may never see it, it's for tech enthusiasts who want enterprise power without the license etc, or businesses that don't want to be caught in the license blah blah. You just may not see it.

    So that's it 2 versions will be pushed. If even after that you still believe 1 is enough then you are a sad individual. Microsoft caters to over 1 billion customers, try making a sandwich that each customer can eat, the vegans, etc. It won't work. This is Windows, not that other OS. More people need more choice, and the majority have 2. It's that simple. Home Premium - Family, home users, entertainment, gamers, average Joe and Professional, office/business users, single IT people etc. Miss anyone?

  • hey umm i have a question for anyone who sees this, do you know how to run dual monitors using the windows 7 beta build 7000??? cause im running windows 7 on my laptop, its a dell latitude d600 with 2gb of ram, and a 120gb hard drive, but i cant figure out how to run the dual monitor setup, ive installed the drivers for my ATI radeon 6000 video card, i had no problems running the dual onitors on windows xp, but i cant seam to get the dual setup to run on windows 7, any help would be greatly appreciated

  • Could you please elaborate on why OEMs wanted the Starter Edition?

    A lot of people think this is Microsoft's Netbook OS and I haven't seen anything official to either confirm or deny this.

  • Well it would be easier and everyone knows that a 32bits system doesnt even take advantage of the 64bit procs out there.. it slows them down and so does the Pc the are using.. 64bit is faster more reliable and more secure... I've noticed a big jump in performance when it  comes to 32-64 since i've ran them both on the same machine to see the differences..

    As for the Forcing to change and the people getting mad about the different version that MS is shipping... it gets rid of 6-7 version that dont need to be there... so yeah it kind of makes it easier.. and lets face it if you dont have pc that do 64bit computing then its time for an upgrade..

    I just think MS should just make the leap.. I mean they are doing excellent in everything thine else they do other than windows vista.. which isnt bad but its not the best... i call it the other ME..

    Im just stating whats obviously going to happen why not just make it happen so they can finally not be excused of being a copycat.. like everyone clams them to be..

    I love MS.. and I wont ever let it go.. as long as they keep changing things and making it better... as for the SKUS good lee... lol.. keep it simple like the XP beginner day... Home n Pro 64.. lol..

  • There's still one more SKU I require for Windows 7: a SKU without Vista Content Protection. That would make Windows 7 run better on pretty much everything. Think of it as another specialized need. Don't worry; I'm willing to wait for this SKU. Indefinitely.

  • Photo1921a, it's great to see you still reading and comments! I enjoy your comments :-) Thanks for checking in on me though. Hope all is well.

    Thank you everyone on your feedback regarding the SKUs BTW.

  • chris212
    17 Posts

    Microsoft should only have 3 editions of 7 other than 6 one for home users ,professional for buisness , and ultamate for both worlds

    Apple does not have just one version they also have two one for normal use and one for servers.

  • chris212
    17 Posts

    Can windows 7 have a theme song like XP?

  • One more comment. Brandon glad to see you around, I know Microsoft had some a "changes" wouldn't be the same with out you here.

  • djb6
    22 Posts

    Robbie, my question is this then?  If people keep getting upset at Microsoft for forcing them into certain windows versions, why would you want to encourage them to get rid of 32 bit?  First of all, I have a 32 bit version and except for the fact that 64 bit can recognize more RAM, there are absolutely NO benefit for me to switch to 64 bit since all I do is internet browse, and type.  I honestly see no reason to get rid of 32 bit.

    Now for those of you that game, then yes, 64 bit is the way to go.  But for the rest of us, there is absolutely no reason to switch to 64 bit.

  • Lets see, a lot depends on price/performance. I don't particularly agree with all the sku's but the real question is price. the features between Vista home premium and Vista ultimate is so negligible for me that I can't justify the price difference. I am an enthusiast, but the beta of Windows 7 Ultimate just like Vista Ultimate it fails miserable when it comes to options and control. I will anthologize Windows 7, to Windows XP. Windows 7 is just for the most part is Vista made pretty, Where as Windows XP is just Windows 2000 made pretty. It's not a straight line analogy, Windows 7 has definite advantages, over Vista more so than XP had over 2000 in the same time frame.   But the economy is going to play a strong issue with Windows 7, not Microsoft's fault it's just bad timing for Windows 7.   Now would I pay a premium price for Windows 7 ultimate, absolutely, if and only if Microsoft relinquishes control over to me and allows me to choose what I want and stops choosing for me. Un-lock the UI, Allow me to be a true administrator, give me the control I had with Windows XP and I'll pay a premium price to have it "my way" so to speak.  Continue on this trend in believing that only Microsoft is omnipotent and that they know better than I do on what I want and my money will stay in my pocket or possibly go elsewhere.      The balls really in Microsoft court, Either make it really economical, low cost solution, or give me the true incentive to be Ultimate and give me ultimate control, either way it makes no difference to me. I'd love to pay $$$ for full control, again Microsoft wants to be Omnipotent,   when that finely stops that's when, I'll pay the ultimate price until then it's just  like Baskin-Robbins 32 different flavors all vanilla...

  • I honestly think you should get rid of all the 32bit OS's... I mean don't you think it's about time to start revolutionizing the PC's again. I look at it this way. When i was growing up I saw all kinds of innovations from this company and now I think that its time to make that step... Kill off all the 32bit OS's and just stick with the 64bit.. Force people to change the way they program and do things like you did with Windows at first.. If anything i see that this company hasn't done much to prove they have what it takes to stay around.. Even though WIndows 7 is a godsend.. compared to Vista and XP.. I still think it should just be 64bit.. because the standard for a PC today is 2GB RAM... we all know thats going to change in the next yr.. also .. its basically higher than that now for most gamers and application users.. I just say kill it and make it what it should be .. THE BEST DAMN OS AVAILABLE but only in 64bit ... The future is that of the 64bit era... Anyway im done ranting.. Nice job on the New OS i cant wait to get the 64bit version in which im using now as my OS.. of windows 7.... laterz..

  • djb6
    22 Posts

    I think everyone is blowing this starter edition out of proportion.  I doubt that companies like Dell will even offer to sell a laptop or desktop with this version on it.  I think it's a great idea for those that have netbooks right now and don't need to run all that much on it.  It keeps the cost down for those, and also the resources used by the OS.  

  • Khoji
    1 Posts

    Not again!  Don't you guys ever learn? This is the kind of thing that makes Microsoft a laughing stock and gives Apple all the fuel they need for their next round of ads. Windows 7 is the best version of Windows ever, the great programmers responsible for it don't deserve to have their work trashed by this kind of greedy and stupid marketing. Microsoft shoots itself in the foot. Again.  

  • If I sell a PC with Windows 7 Starter on it I would not be selling a PC that the client wants, having come from an XP experience. This sound like an excuse to force Starter onto pre-loaded PCs and force the client to upgrade at a cost.

  • So to recap the versions, we have:

    Starter (OEM)

    Home Basic (OEM)

    Home Premium (Retail)

    Profressional (Retail)

    Enterprise (Volume Lic.)

    Correct?

  • Personally I Agree with your comments opinions and description so the SKU's.

    A number of other webSites keep going on about making Win 7 SKU' like WinXP.

    That is just nuts, Win 7 has greater advancements and capabilities, but, there are a lot of "New" PC's out there that are a lot less advanced.

    I am currently testing Win 7 on 2 Laptops and one Desktop, my laptops are Lenovo 3000 n100, which is working fairly well, so far (about a month), only a few minor bugs (but it is still BETS mode), the other laptop is my wife's mini toy, Acer AspireONE, (about 2 weeks), quite a few more bugs, but mostly all of the were related to internal hardware, got most all of the figured out and fixed. I think the Starter/Home Basic version would be better for this one. (My Wife is not a Geek, like me)

    The Last is my BIG Desktop, Gigabyte-(self built) x64, I am about to install Win 7 x64 and run a lot of extensive Programs for testing and functionality, I am an Engineer (Mechanical, Electronic) and run AutoCAD and a few Electronic CAD/PCB software as well as CST (Computer Simulation Technology) software that take extensive resources of my system. This should tell me if it can handle it. (Vista FAILED, constantly) Currently I use Windows XP x64, and it does extremely well.

  • lollht
    44 Posts

    "3. Customers did not like losing features when upgrading to a different SKU. "

    Microsoft had to learn this through feedback?

  • lollht
    44 Posts

    "So which edition of Windows 7 fits your needs?"

    I don't have a clue.  I'm just going to spin the Vista wheel like

    PC did in that Mac commercial.

  • Let me start of by saying I'm loving win7 beta. (The media center updates are amazing, especially for HD tuner owners like myself)  I even liked vista when it was first in beta, so I'm not a MS hater or a mac cool aid drinker :-)

    However... I'm agreeing with 7flavor (page2)... except for the superset, I don't see how this line up is any different than vista.   How can MS say they've learned and are addressing too many versions when nothing has really changed?

    I currently have Vista Home Premium and I'm really annoyed that Remote Desktop and a decent backup tool are not in that sku.  The Backup utility in XP was significantly better.  I don't want bitlocker, I just want a decent tool.  You're telling me home users don't want full image backups?  Is MS going to make me pay the obnoxious price for ultimate?  Common!

    IF THE FULL IMAGE BACKUP ISN'T INCLUDED IN WIN7 HOME PREMIUM, I'M GOING TO BE A VERY UPSET CUSTOMER.

    So the supserset issue... is Home Premium or Professional a higher version?  Is professional going to have media center?

  • 'Six flavours of Windows 7'? 'One size does not fit all'?

    It's good but it's not pornography.

  • Rob
    2 Posts

    Would it hurt to have a version of Windows specifically for development?  What is wrong with Windows Developer Edition?  

    I'm kind of sick of having to choose between using a Server SKU (I am using Server 2008 at the moment) for my development machine due to various restrictions placed on the non-Server versions (e.g. Professional).

  • drozzy
    1 Posts

    So let me get this straight, there are 2 versions I can choose from, but if I want Ultimate, there are 3 versions, BUT there are also 3 more version for some other stuff, and in the end there are 6??? Maybe you should make up another version to make it correspond to it's name!

    Windows 7 Starter

    Windows 7 Home Basic

    Windows 7 Enterprise

    Windows 7 Home Premium

    Windows 7 Professional

    Windows 7 Ultimate

  • So basically there are the same number of SKUs covering the same market segments as the Vista ones. The only changes are that you'll only be marketing 2 of them and the small-business SKU now has media centre features.

    That seems to sum it up pretty well.

    I suppose the main improvement here is that the more advanced home users (or "enthusiasts") won't be forced to shell-out for Ultimate when all they need is an OS with both media and decent management features. That certainly is a step forward.

  • markm66
    55 Posts

    This may slightly off topic but will I be able to use an "upgrade" version to do a clean install without jumping thru the hoops that Vista introduced in this area where you basically had to install Vista 2x to do a clean install. ? This is taking into account the fact that I have a fully legal copy of the previous OS.

  • ajy0903
    3 Posts

    Ultimate for me!!!!!!!!!

    I want all the features available!!!!!!!!!

    So, there will be Ultimate for retail market, right?

  • I expect it will be either Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 7 Professional. For me, depending on the price. I am testing Windows 7b now and have seen nothing that would keep me from upgrading. I presently use XP Home.

  • vot
    1 Posts

    Hi,

    I'd like to see some sort of table/chart comparing all the SKUs - what features are in one version and are not in another and so; that would make me better understand all of them and choose the right one for me.

    The second thing is the Starter Edition. Why do you want to release it? It's more like a broken or unfinished product than an edition you should charge for. I can understand it is supposed to run on low-end computers with limited hardware capabilities but... hey, my dear Microsoft - limiting i.e. the number of applications run at once is not the way! It'd seem to be broken for me than limited.

    I'm looking forward to Windows 7 final but I'm asking you again for the comparision table - it would clear many things for me (and for others, too, I think). It could be even the 'planned' SKUs division of features which can differ in the final release but I'd love to see it.

    Best wishes

    Vot

  • Ultimate for me, I want it all!

    Altho, depending on the pricing and specifics of what is and is not included in the other versions, I might have to go to a lower one.

    :)

  • Bitzie
    12 Posts

    "Windows 7 Enterprise: An offering asked for by our best and largest enterprise customers which has all the advanced security and manageability capabilities which also includes BitLocker data protection. This is something available only through Volume License agreements. "

    "Windows 7 Professional: Recommended Choice for Enthusiasts and Small Business Customers "

    ----

    Be careful on the language used here.  Using the word of "best customer" implies that the only customer you care about is your Software assurance and largest enterprise customers.  I have software assurance on about 5 Windows licenses.  But I'm not large.  So I'm not a best customer?

    Next why does Microsoft assume that some small businesses won't want bitlocker?  Direct Access?  Branch cache?  Why are these only limited to your "best and largest customers"?  

    Remember that small firms grow into larger ones too.

    Microsoft did.  If Microsoft was starting out today, would you want that firm to be given the impression that it was worthy of Microsoft's best effort as a software company?

    Just be careful in the wording of these sku messages is all.

  • Zapstar
    1 Posts

    Registered to say One Very Important thing that I Absolutely think is Vital for all to know.

    Windows 7 Starter? LOLFAIL. Thank you Microsoft.

    I Look forward to your new Chains on several of my future Clients, asking "Why cant I run more?!" Oh..Your going to make me Filthy Rich.

    In the meantime, Lets all just Laugh at your Pathetic and Ill Disguised paths to Boost the Economy with a Sickeningly basic OS that I'd consider nothing more then Malware.

    Good job on the Ultimate Edition though.

    Best Regards,

    Soon to be next Rich IT.

  • eddie_dane - please read the blog post. Windows 7 Starter, which is the edition that only runs 3 apps at a time, is OEM only. Consumers most likely will not see this edition on store shelves. As stated above - most consumers going out to buy a copy of Windows 7 will see Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional.

  • scronide
    21 Posts

    So, at the very least there's Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Ultimate editions. How many boxed upgrade editions will there be? Which versions of Windows 7 will be available in 64-bit?

    Doesn't anyone at Microsoft recognise the absurdity in all this?

    The excuse of satisying OEM needs is a red herring: it's a fair assumption that OEM partners and international markets want cheaper versions of Windows 7, not crippled versions. Restricting features on a single image doesn't reduce costs.

    > And, for those who want everything we have Windows 7 Ultimate.

    What's the functional difference between Enterprise and Ultimate?

    Like Vista, are customers going to be buying big-brand OEM machines bundled with a version of Windows 7 that doesn't look or work like the marketing? I'm thinking of the distinction between Home Basic and Home Premium here.

  • I like the breakdown of SKUs... I still don't think Home Basic needs to exist, though.

    I'll likely be going with copies of Professional, although the gamer in me might go for Ultimate on my Gaming PC, heh.

    I'll likely also go with Home Premium for my UMPC and my Girlfriend's computer.

  • I agree, allowing HTML in comments IS a risky proposition.  Let's try that again, shall we?

    ---

    "And, for those who want **to give us more money for the empty promise of Ultimate Extras**, we have Windows 7 Ultimate.  **Thanks for learning nothing from Vista Ultimate, Enthusiast Community!**"

    There, fixed that for ya.

  • "And, for those who want <b>to give us more money for the empty promise of Ultimate Extras</b>, we have Windows 7 Ultimate.  <b>Thanks for learning nothing from Vista Ultimate, Enthusiast Community!</b>"

    There, fixed that for ya.

  • 7flavor
    352 Posts

    It's exactly the same like Vista, except Starter and Home Basic have reversed their roles as far as availability is concerned and for SKU features, the higher priced SKUs will now be supersets of lower priced ones (though I'm doubtful if Enterprise edition for example will include Media Center and DVD Maker). No lessons learnt for feature distributions across SKUs as well, still there's no Bitlocker in Professional, no Fax and full backup feature-set (Imaging and Shadow Copy) in Home Premium. A feature like EFS that has been around since Windows 2000 Professional is missing from the Home SKUs. RDP Server/Host requires Professional, WTF!

    What's missing (my guess is) from lower editions will be mostly the same as Vista: (Until that nice comparison matrix comes along *which MS should have made available* right now to eliminate all this confusion.)

    Missing from Professional:

    Bitlocker, Services for Unix, Multiple Languages (MUI)

    Missing from Home Premium:

    Shadow Copy, Previous Versions, EFS, Complete PC Backup, Deployment tools, QoS, NAP Client, Credential Providers, Smart cards, RMS Client, Bitlocker, SFU, MUI, Small Business Resources, Fax & Scan, Wireless network provisioning, Windows Mobility Center?, RDP Server (Host), Domain Join, Group Policy, Offline Files, Client-side caching (Cached Credentials), Credentials Manager, Roaming user profiles, Folder Redirection, IIS7

    Missing from Home Basic: All that's missing from Home Premium plus incremental backup, scheduled backup, network backup, Aero *animations*, Tablet features, InkBall, Mahjong Titans, Chess Titans, Fax & Scan

    Missing from Ultimate: Nice Ultimate Extras like DreamScene and games. Is there any commitment to make existing extras available for Windows 7? What incentive will users have for upgrading if they lose DreamScene?

  • dovella
    303 Posts

    SIrus

    scegli tra 2 versioni

    Home Premium e Ultimate , lascia perdere quelle che sono disponibili per i mercati emergenti o settori specifici.

  • jegel
    2 Posts

    this sounds nice...

    what about Vista user? is there an upgrade option available for us?

  • adcworks
    17 Posts

    Thing is, even if the marketing effort focuses on those two, as soon as Joe Bloggs see that "Premium" suffix on Windows 7 Home, he wonders, "ok, this is home *premium* which suggests it is the "best" version of home, but maybe I think that's too expensive and I'd rather the cheaper version and so I start looking but turns out I find it hard to get the Home Starter. I mean, that single word "Premium" confuses the whole thing. You'd be better off calling them clearly Windows 7 Home (if you absolutely must use a suffix) and Windows 7 Business. Home and Business are two words understood by the vast majority of the world. "Premium"? "Pro"? What have these ever meant?

  • Following on from earlier comments, don't understand why the multi-language features is not in home, this is not a feature I'd consider as an "extra" in todays world.  

    Also would be interested to know what versions support full backup, this is a great feature.

  • "Not every customer has the same needs. ... So we are accommodating specialized needs for customers in specific markets. You could also think of these as niche offerings. A small percentage “niche” (like 2%) of the overall customer base is still many millions. That feels pretty big to me and we wanted to make sure we had the right solutions for them. We think it is important to respond to the needs, so we have:"

    Is that what made XP the success that it is?

  • sirus
    3 Posts

    I can't understand the reason Microsoft doesn't want to release a single SKU, Windows 7. With a single SKU people can choose only functionalities they really want (I'd like MUI support, full image backup support and BitLocker support while I don't need Media Center).

    I didn't like Windows XP versioning, I don't like Windows Vista versioning and I won't like Windows 7 versioning.

  • The previous Marekting efforts resulted in millions being spent outside of the company that did nothing, so I hope new people are in  charge this time.  How'd you like to have been layed off after seeing Seinfeld's millions?

    Dear Microsoft,

    I didn't write this.  Kind of harsh but I can find some agreement.

    There are a lot of large American companies in deep trouble in this troubled economy. Some are on the verge of collapse. Others are spending billions in bailout money on expensive junkets and parties. Most, including you are laying off.

    A lot of this is unavoidable in such a terrible economy. But some of it is deserved, which brings me to your case. SIX FLAVORS OF WINDOWS SEVEN? Are you out of your fricking mind? Do you really think people want to pay EXTRA to run more than 3 apps at a time when they can get a Linux CD free in a magazine that only costs $4? Are you nuts? Six flavors?

    Meanwhile, that little kid down the block. You know. That upstart little kid down in Cupertino who buried your Zune without lifting a finger? That kid. Well that kid has figured out how to make ONE flavor of OS do everything from a handheld to a phone to a server and you are trying to palm off 7 flavors of one OS? Take this flashlight, install the heaviest batteries you can find and GO BEAT THE IDIOT OVER THE HEAD WHO DECIDED YOU NEED SIX FLAVORS OF WINDOWS SEVEN.

    Sincerely,

    Your Customer.

  • ux1
    1 Posts

    What hitmouse said: I really don't understand why you want to put such a high price on the MUI feature.

    Personally I much prefer the english version of Windows, because I work with it every day, but that is not the case for my family. Why not allow one extra MUI language pack for Home Premium?

  • yert
    39 Posts

    What a difference a name makes. I'm still not completely happy (I would much prefer if Home Premium was just called Home and if Home Basic was just called Basic, as that is what I will refer to them by for this comment) over some of the naming, and furthermore, I'm not sure what to think about Starter being available in the States, but my kneejerk reaction is bad.

    Enterprise is ignorable due to its target, and unlike certain logic troubled "tech" journalists I won't count 64 bit versions as a different SKU. Furthermore the superset decision really hits home with me. For the most part there are only two versions of Windows 7 now, and that's great, and for the really hardcore, there is Ultimate too. I'm fairly happy with the choice Microsoft made here, and my only complaints are the naming of the Home versions (still) and the new decision to take Starter to this market.

    This combined with a good pricing structure (I've got an idea or two on my blog, but I doubt Microsoft would use those) which Microsoft should be able to put together, will really fix the versions problem that faced Vista. Taking it down to just one home version was a step back in the right direction, and going back to supersets is really, really nice.

  • The most important thing for me despite being only a Home user is which SKU will be able to do the full image backup? As we are all testing the Ultimate version now which contains the Image backup, is there going to be a repeat of this feature only being avaiable in the Ultimate version or will the Home version also have this feature.

    I ended up having to upgrade to Ultimate with Vista just simply to gain being able to do a full image backup to my external drive.

    I am keeping my fingers crossed Brandon that this feature will be enabled in the Home version of Windows 7 as well.

  • Indrek
    3 Posts

    So, does this really mean that Professional is a superset of Home Premium? This is different from Vista, where Business and Home Premium where parallel SKUs, each containing features the other didn't, and reversed from XP where MCE (the equivalent of Home Premium) was essentially a superset of Professional.

    Also, if Professional already contains both business- and entertainment-oriented features, what exactly does Ultimate bring to the table that Pro already doesn't have, and that justifies an entire new SKU?

    As for me, I'll probably go with either Professional or Ultimate, depending on what the actual difference between the two is.

  • hitmouse
    96 Posts

    Two observations about the SKU divisions

    1. Language packs require a premium SKU, despite the fact that a huge number of customers are bilingual in their work and personal lives. In emerging markets this is possibly even MORE true than in some developed markets.

    2. It's quite common for MS KB articles to address problems by providing cures or work-arounds listing steps that require Windows functions from a higher SKU (e.g. the policy editor). MS needs some joined up thinking on these matters.

  • I think MS has rationalised the choice of W7 SKUs ell. While some wanted just 2-3 versions, one has to understand MS compulsions and different customers varying needs.

    Just curious about one thing: Will there be Ultimate Extra's in W7 Ultimate edition, or has that concept been dropped? Does MS plan to focus on them or would they go the Vista Ultimate Extra way ? ;)