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September 12, 2005

Microsoft Vista May Come In Seven Versions

Courtesy of TechWeb News

Microsoft's next desktop operating system will come in a record-breaking seven flavors, a Windows enthusiast Web site said Monday.

Paul Thurrott, who has a solid track record in getting inside info on Microsoft's plans, said that Windows Vista, the successor to Windows XP which isn't to go final until end-of-year 2006, will be sold in seven different SKUs (Stock Keeping Unit).

Vista's versions will be divided into two broad categories -- Home and Business -- which essentially correspond to the "Home" and "Pro" divisions within Windows XP.

The Home side will include Vista Starter Edition, Vista Home Basic Edition, and Vista Home Premium Edition. The Business branch, meanwhile, will contain Vista Professional Edition, Vista Small Business Edition, Vista Enterprise Edition, and Vista Ultimate Edition.

According to Thurrott, Enterprise Edition will be a superset of Professional, with additional features, such as Virtual PC and the Secure Startup/full volume encryption security technologies (dubbed "Cornerstone" by Microsoft).

Some of the Vista SKUs are new to Microsoft, and have no comparable edition in Windows XP. The latter, for instance, lacks anything close to Small Business, Enterprise, or Ultimate.

Other current SKUs in Windows XP -- including Media Center and Tablet PC -- will be rolled into one or more of the upcoming Vista editions, said Thurrott. Vista Home Premium, for example, will feature the functionality of XP's Media Center, while Vista Professional is set to include Tablet PC features.

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