Microsoft Announces Only 4 Editions of Windows 8

On Monday, April 16, 2012, Microsoft gave the announcement that we have all been waiting for. As you well know, Windows has been shipping in many different confusing editions every time a version of Windows is released.

For example, how are you supposed to choose between Windows Vista Starter, Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Business (which has less features than Home Premium), Windows Vista Enterprise, and Windows Vista Ultimate? There was no specific order of those editions, because Business had some features that Home Premium didn’t have, and Home Premium had some features that Business didn’t have.

In Windows 7, they cleaned up the product lineup by making the editions clear supersets of other editions. It clearly went Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, and Windows 7 Ultimate/Enterprise, adding features as you go down the list. But its branding for its “home” editions was really confusing. In Windows Vista, Home Basic and Home Premium were for the general market, with Starter being only aimed for third-world markets. In Windows 7, Home Basic and Starter were switched. And I never understood why they needed to split the Home editions into two: Basic and Premium. It just confuses a lot of people.

Well, on Monday, Microsoft gave the big reveal. Windows 8 will only come in 4 editions: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise, and Windows 8 RT. Windows 8 is definitely going to be used by the vast majority of users. Pro will be aimed towards business, and Enterprise is aimed at large-size businesses. RT is the new name for what used to be called Windows on ARM (WOA) – that is, the Windows 8 tablet edition.

This time around, Microsoft finally got it right. For the general PC market, this hasn’t been easier than the original release of Windows XP 11 years ago. As many of you remember, way back then the branding was Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional. That was it.

And I think that this time around, Microsoft has eliminated much of the edition name confusion, with most users only having to face a two-way choice: Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro. And Pro doesn’t add that many features that most users need. So Microsoft has effectively made a ‘default’ edition – Windows 8.

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One thought on “Microsoft Announces Only 4 Editions of Windows 8

  1. I still wish there was an Ultimate edition. It would consist of almost every feature besides the big features for enterprise. Ah well, I’ll just get Pro for that matter. I still find it pretty pointless to make Windows 8 for tablets when you have Windows Phone 7 right there.

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