Windows Vista to come in seven flavors
has the scoop on the seven separate flavors of Windows
Vista we'll all be able to choose from, though no price points have been
mentioned yet. The OS versions run the gamut from a crippled,
half-functional "Starter Edition", two versions of Vista Home (Basic and
Premium), three versions of Vista Professional (Professional, Small
Business, and Enterprise Edition), and finally, for the user that wants
it all: Windows Vista Ultimate Edition
(cue oohing and ahhing).
Ars has some details on the differences between the versions; the upshot
is that the Vista Home segment will contain more multimedia and
(DRM-protected) content features, while Vista Professional series dumps
the multimedia stuff to concentrate on business-oriented uses. Ultimate
Edition will contain all the features found in Vista Home Premium and
Vista Enterprise Edition, and then add a further superset of features.
Microsoft could conceivably do some interesting things with price points
here; a $49-69 pricetag on Windows Vista Basic might help Redmond
compete against the low-end Linux boxes that've popped up on the market,
and would be welcomed by system builders as a product "good enough" for
users who truly need only basic functionality. On the other hand, PC makers often aggressively upsell an OS, either by selecting a
higher-end version by default, or with statements like the prominent one
on HP's website: "HP Recommends Windows XP Professional."
Windows Vista Home versions and Windows Version Ultimate won't support
corporate or volume licensing, by the way—only business versions will
be available in flavors that don't require product activation.