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Microsoft At Sixes With Windows 7s

Gordon Kelly


Microsoft At Sixes With Windows 7s

Oh Microsoft, you were doing so well - how could you...?

To prove it still hasn't learnt from all the mistakes it made with Vista, Microsoft has officially confirmed the Windows 7 SKUs - all six of them. Yes my chums, sadly pcbeta.com was right last month (though it only detected five - as pictured below) and here's the damage:

Windows 7 Starter

Super budget edition which limits users to using three simultaneous applications (why oh why?!) and lacks the snazzy Aero UI

Windows 7 Home Basic

Shipping only to emerging markets (also lacking Aero UI)

Windows 7 Home Premium

The one you're most likely to end up with: mass availability, unlimited simultaneous applications, Aero UI, multi-touch functionality, Media Center integration and disc burning with home networking

Windows 7 Professional

OEM only edition which builds on Premium by offering more advanced networking including domain support and offline folders as well as Mobility Center and a Presentation Mode

Windows 7 Enterprise

Sold with volume licences (so often the edition to get hacked and passed around the torrents), it adds Branch Cache, Direct Access and BitLocker to the Professional feature list.

Windows 7 Ultimate

The edition we never thought we'd see again after the horrendously overpriced and neglected Vista version. It will be produced in limited numbers and combines the feature set of Enterprise with special Microsoft made 'bonus' content. Hopefully this time that will be more than a few incidental games and destroy-your-battery-life video wallpapers .

Pricing on the sextet has yet to be revealed but expect them to stick close to the current Vista breakdowns and hey, at least Microsoft now has one black and white flaw to work on for Windows 8...


via Geekzone NZ

The Mighty Ben

February 4, 2009, 5:32 am

Can you imagine if Mac OS was like this? I don't see why you can't just opt in and out of certain features during the install process. One disc, one OS, but tailor it to suit your needs and hardware specifications.


February 4, 2009, 5:41 am

I am VERY disappointed at TrustedReviews. :(

Please, do your reserach.

Starter edition is NOT NEW, it existed with Vista as it existed with XP. YES, XP!

SEE: http://www.microsoft.com/press...

It is for emerging markets only.

The layout is the same as Vista, but they removed Home basic and put it for emerging markets only. So we actually have 3 editions:

- Home Premium

- Professional

- Ultimate.

Unlike Windows Vista between Business and Home Premium, based on what I read on other websites, the professional edition wont' have anything less over Home Premium. That means in reality we have 2 edition to select:

- Home Premium (Windows XP Media Center + Tablet PC)

- Professional (Windows XP Pro + Media Center + Tablet PC)


February 4, 2009, 6:31 am

@Bytes - sorry, I think you misread my article. I understand your points but this is NOT about whether all these editions are new or not, it is about the fact Microsoft KEEPS ON overly complicating its Windows releases.

And while I see your logic here about similarity of features, the fact is we have SIX SKUs. In fact given that you manage to boil down all six SKUs to just two products makes my argument for me. Too much overlap, too messy.


February 4, 2009, 7:51 am

Man this is getting boring, people make it sound like the world is coming to an end! ~_~

99% of people will only see TWO SKUs, Home Premium and Pro. It is not like the average consumer will be baffled with these two, especially when manufacturers will just give them Home Premium.

-Starter/Home Basic for cheap netbooks and OLPCs so they can (finally) kill off XP

-Home Premium for your average Joe, coming pre-installed on virtually all new PCs

-Pro for the more tech savvy

-Enterprise for businesses

-Ultimate for people who want "special editions" and like to waste money >.>

Not at all complicated. They just want to maximise profit in all possible markets.


February 4, 2009, 8:38 am

@Nomad - 4 years on the average consumer doesn't yet understand HD. Trust me, simplicity is the answer ;)


February 4, 2009, 11:27 am

i miss the windows plus packs. bittlocker is very useful to me, and is the only reason i bought it when my uni offered it for &#16340.

Scott Williamson

February 4, 2009, 12:03 pm


I am VERY dissappointed at the number of "Trusted reviews do your reserach (sic)" comments we seem to get all the time, nit picking over small details on every review.

Cut the guys some slack, its an excellent site, they are very accurate and if they want to keep on top of news, they have to work fast. If it bothers you that much, don't use it.

On topic, why can't MS just keep it simple, the old XP model of home and professional worked well and was nice and simple, it could have been worse though.

No doubt it's too much to hope for for a reasonably priced upgrade seeing as its really VistaR2, fingers crossed though.


February 4, 2009, 12:58 pm

Don't worry Gordon most of us are with you on this!

Just wondering wouldn't you have "Upgrade only" editions making two lots of everything?!

It's a shame as Win7 is looking very promising indeed...

I'm running the beta on an old ULV 1.2GHz processor with 1GB of RAM and the system seems snappier than when I had XP installed, now that's progress!

Hamish Campbell

February 4, 2009, 1:37 pm

hehee reasonably priced upgrade, thats a good one Scott.


February 4, 2009, 2:52 pm

Is this really such an issue? Come on, compared to the complexity of buying a new PC (CPU's Memory, Graphics, Media (DVD vs CD vs BluRay vs Read-only vs Write)), picking the OS is surely trivial in comparison. I expect most people will only get a new Windows when they buy a new PC - in which case they get which other version comes with the PC anyway.

Gavin Hamer

February 4, 2009, 3:43 pm



February 4, 2009, 4:27 pm

TR, sadly when you are normally so good, as admittedly just about every other tech site out there have this backwards. I find it strange that Win7 is getting praise nearly everywhere over it's features, but when it comes to the SKUs everybody is up in arms; and up in arms over nothing. Bytes and Nomad were right on the ball, there will be two versions on the shelves for people to choose; Premium (home users) & Professional (business users). So it's not a choice at all, it's obvious which one to get - I really don't think MS could have made this any simpler. Sure they could have one version, but who wants to pay for business features they don't need?

They've also fixed the issues Vista had by having different features in different versions, which truly did make it hard to choose. Each edition includes everything from the version below, but just adds more features on top.

Why is nobody reporting this story fairly? MS are finally listening and seem to be doing just about everything right with Win7. They've seen OS X taking market share, they've seen the rise of Linux, they've seen people clinging to XP - and in every way possible they're addressing the reasons for that and working to address it; I am truly surprised and impressed by their efforts.


February 4, 2009, 4:38 pm

Ok, so he's pretty much an MS shill, but I think his coverage is actually fair on this.



February 4, 2009, 4:40 pm

It's as though someone at MS wants Linux / Mac to eat in to their market share.


> Not at all complicated.

So what exactly is the difference between all of them? How do I know which one is right for me? How do I know what I might want to do with my PC in 6 months time?

Uncertainty and doubt leads to fear. People don't like that.

And it's all a transparent marketing ploy to extract as much money out of people as possible. Again, people don't like that.

Furthermore, it adds a layer of complexity for Microsoft to deal with - time better spent developing good software.


February 4, 2009, 4:55 pm

Presumably there will be 32bit / 64bit versions to further complicate things?


February 4, 2009, 5:12 pm

Yes David it's really not that complicated; buy Home Premium.

Read the article on winsupersite I posted above to see the difference between them. I'd imagine when you go into PC World or wherever and look at the boxes to choose between Home & Pro it'll be clearly labelled what the differences are.

If in 6 months you find you need one of the business features of Professional like Remote Desktop hit the "upgrade" button, pay whatever MS charge (hopefully it will be reasonable, pricing has yet to be announced) and your machine will automatically be upgraded online (no disks, no mess).

Personally I think they're doing everything right to slow and even reverse the rise of Linux / Mac.


February 4, 2009, 5:13 pm

@ HK

Although I personally agree with the majority of your point, there's one thing I would like to add. Saying 'Sure they could have one version, but who wants to pay for business features they don't need?' is all well and good except Microsoft still charge over the odds for the 'cut-down' versions. When upgrading your OS adds little in the way of true extra usability beyond some eye candy and other UI tweaks, it's difficult to justify paying &#163150 for a proper license.

Personally I think around &#163100 for a full single-computer home premium license is about right and Microsoft should offer family packs with three licenses for &#163200.


February 4, 2009, 6:16 pm

Good god this is a topic that doesn't get old and, as usual, intentional misinformation spread by hit-hungry bloggers.

XP - Home, Tablet and Media Centre editions sold off the shelves

Vista - Home Prem and Ultimate editions are sold off the shelves.

Win7 - Home Prem and Ulitmate editions are sold off the shelves.

***So where's the confusion for the regular user? They will only see TWO editions!***


February 4, 2009, 6:22 pm

I'm glad someone at TR agrees :-)

Well, pricing hasn't been announced, so we can't bash them on that yet!

I reckon the 'cut down' version (bundled with Netbooks) will be priced competitively as they know they have to compete with Linux. Personally I'd be happy to pay an extra (say) &#16350 over Linux for the extra features and the fact as the fruit would say "it just works". Which incidently shows the problem with their "one price only" pricing model.

I think your &#163100 price level is about right (in the current economic climate, etc, etc) though if it came out at &#163150 I think that'd still be fair.

Hopefully a cheaper upgrade path from Vista-Win7 than Xp-Win7 as well to appease people who (mostly rightly) feel the change from Vista is far less than the change from XP.


February 4, 2009, 6:53 pm

I still feel they should get rid of the Ultimate version. That's just blatant money grabbing by Microsoft if you ask me; calling it a 'limited edition' is just an excuse for putting a massive price tag on something people don't even want or need. I guarantee they won't put anything in it that the average person will need, as that would have made it into the Home Premium version. Let me put it this way - if someone is looking at a box of Home Premium next to a box of Ultimate on the shelf, even the name 'Ultimate' would make one think that it is intrinsically better than Home Premium, so people (especially those that feel they need to have the best/most expensive of everything) would go for that, and even though there is nothing in it they need, it will be about double the price, but they won't mind, and neither will Microsoft.

As has been pointed out already they *could* have just boiled it down to two versions - Home Premium and Business (and maybe a light version for netbooks considering that's the current fad). But then the people that would have bought Ultimate would buy Home Premium instead, as has been pointed out those will be the only choices for home users, and therefore Microsoft would lose money.

As for 32-bit/64-bit, everyone should be buying 64-bit now if you ask me unless they have specific software requirements which only run in a 32-bit environment.


February 4, 2009, 8:41 pm


One OS version. Options are for single, family or business user licences. Extra features are optional downloadable extras available to anyone. END OF STORY.


February 4, 2009, 9:58 pm

I switched to Ubuntu (free) rather than fork out for Vista. Installation is a piece of cake, Compiz Fusion makes Aero look the pathetic effort it really is and I never have to boot in Windows for anything nowadays.

The thought of paying &#163100 - &#163150 for Windows 7 is just hilarious.


February 4, 2009, 10:07 pm

@ basicasic - Not if you like your games ;)


February 4, 2009, 10:26 pm

@smc8788: Very good point, and apart from all the other software (and, let's be honest, some hardware too) that's exclusive to or cheaper 'on Windows', gaming alone would be reason enough for me to stick with it.


February 4, 2009, 11:04 pm

@smc8788 - very true. If you're serious about playing games on your PC then Windows it is. I did buy an Xbox when I switched to Ubuntu.

@Ardjuna - Honestly I havent come across anything I could do in Windows that I can't do in Linux. Audio+video editing and conversion, photo stuff, officey stuff - you name it there's a program that will do it. And all the software is FREE. Its like Christmas come early :) Never had a hardware problem either. All my stuff just worked out of the box.

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