How many versions of Windows 7 will Microsoft release?

Windows 7 Beta

According to the Windows 7 Beta, there will be more than one version of the next Windows OS.  I had been hoping that Microsoft would get a little smarter, and release a single version of their operating system, like Apple does with OS X.  I suppose we have to wait for Windows 8, or a revolt, for that.

I am sure that the variations of the OS is set up to appease the many that have purchased a certain edition in the past, but the problem with releasing so many versions of the operating system is that there no clear difference between the capabilities of each version of Windows.

XP Home vs. XP Pro was bad enough.  Vista Home Basic, Vista Home Premium, Vista Business and Vista Ultimate is ridiculous.  The Windows 7 Beta says “Windows 7 Ultimate” which makes me pretty upset.  Does this mean we’ll have four different variations of Windows 7?  Can anyone tell me why it is necessary for Microsoft to do this?

This is also verified when reading the blog of a Microsoft employee about Windows 7:

In Windows 7 we moved the license key to the Windows Welcome page, so you can enter it after the install. This makes it easier for people to evaluate and get started with Windows. We also provide a better experience when upgrading editions (i.e., from Home Premium to Ultimate) by enabling specific, licensed components, not reimaging the system.

I’m not sure I see what makes this a positive for Windows users.  Just give us all the same experience from the start, Microsoft.  We don’t want limitations.  In this economy, if you want to sell more, pair it down to the single release you used to do.

My guess for the releases we’ll see?

  • Windows 7 Home Basic
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Business
  • Windows 7 Ultimate

And the worst part of it is customers will continue to be confused as to which version they need.  Can’t we go back to the sales format of Windows 95?  You went to the store, picked up a box that said “Windows 95” on it, and you knew that you were getting all of Windows 95.  There were no disabled features, there were no “added value features” costing you an extra $100 to unlock.

I know that it’s all about the bottom line, but the sales of Vista should tell you something.  People weren’t adopting it, not because it’s an inferior operating system; the latest SP1 edition is the release that Vista should have been.  People weren’t adopting for many reasons, but I submit that a major issue with the upgrade was the variations of Windows Vista.  Nobody knew what they needed or would use in the future, and nobody could tell which version did what they wanted.  Because of this, people stayed away… far away.

It looked like Microsoft might change this with Windows 7.  But they haven’t made the switch, and I don’t think they will…. but I hope that they come to their senses and get intelligent about it.  They’re making the best Windows since XP with Windows 7, the might as well make the best release ever with a single unified version.


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