Microsoft Announces Windows 8 Editions - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
4/17/2012
10:48 AM
Chris Spera
Chris Spera
Commentary
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
Ransomware: Latest Developments & How to Defend Against Them
Nov 01, 2017
Ransomware is one of the fastest growing types of malware, and new breeds that escalate quickly ar ...Read More>>

Microsoft Announces Windows 8 Editions

Microsoft has announced that Windows 8 will come in three flavors, two of which should be right for most.

Microsoft has always been, um, "creative" when it comes to its decisions to break up and market the different versions of Windows. Windows XP was pretty straightforward. Except for special editions of Windows that were released as a result of litigation or court proceedings--such as Windows XP Starter Edition for developing markets, and Windows XP Edition N released in Europe (the "N" was for "Not with Media Player"), Microsoft made it easy for most of us with just two versions: Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional.

Windows Vista editions weren't as clear cut. Vista was released in five different editions: Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate, Business, and Enterprise. Coming off the simplicity of Windows XP editions, no one could keep them straight. Windows 7 also came in five versions: Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. The Starter and Home Basic versions were stripped down and often installed on value-based hardware. These stripped-down editions didn't fulfill their missions very well as that hardware could run the higher end editions, and could (mostly) do so without a performance hit. Some features, such as Windows 7 Ultimate's Media Center, were the exception.

Microsoft is taking a straightforward Windows XP approach with Windows 8. For Intel and compatible 32-bit and 64-bit hardware, there will be two versions: Windows 8 and Windows 8 Professional. Windows 8 is the edition that most everyone will use. It replaces Windows 7 Home Premium and includes the ability to switch languages on the fly, which was previously only available in Windows 7 Enterprise or Ultimate.

Windows 8 Pro adds BitLocker and Encrypting File System support. It also has client Hyper-V virtualization and the ability to boot from a virtual hard drive (VHD). Windows 8 Pro is also the edition you're most likely to see in the enterprise, as it also allows you to join a Windows domain, and contains support for group policies and Remote Desktop host. Currently, these features are only available in Windows 7 Ultimate or Enterprise.

Both Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro will be installed at the factory, and will be available at retail locations. They will be the only editions available at retail. There will be some specialized versions available via corporate sales channels. For example, Windows 8 Enterprise will only be available to corporate customers with Software Assurance agreements.

Windows on ARM, or WOA, will be branded as Windows RT. It won't carry the Windows 8 brand, even though it has most of the same features and is built on the Windows 8 code base. It will only be made available on ARM-based computing devices and only via factory install. It will not be available for direct purchase.

Pricing for all Windows 8 editions has yet to be announced.

Although Microsoft might have a better handle on marketing its latest OS editions, we'll have to see how the unfinished OS finally turns out. In my review of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, I found that the tablet-based experience was wonderful. My examination of the Metro UI showed that it works very well on tablets and mobile devices. The new Metro Apps were interesting, and should also work well on the same hardware. I have my doubts, however, about the desktop experience.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll