Microsoft Windows 7 beta which was released last month was well accepted and there has been pretty good impression across the web. There is no clear information on when Windows 7 would be available for consumers. Another point of discussion was whether Microsoft would be retaining the product versions on Vista. Today Microsoft has announced the Windows 7 SKUs. The SKUs are targeted for customers with specialized needs: for price-sensitive customers with small notebook PCs, some OEMs will offer Windows 7 Starter. For customers in emerging markets, there will be Windows 7 Home Basic available. Businesses will have two recommended choices: Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise. Windows 7 Professional is recommended for small businesses and Windows 7 Enterprise is recommended for mid- and large-sized businesses that have a Software Assurance Agreement with Microsoft.
Here are the detailed information on Windows 7 SKUs;
1. Windows 7 Starter: This will be available for price-sensitive customers with small notebook PCs, some OEMs will offer Windows 7 Starter.
- Broad app and device compatibility with up to 3 concurrent applications
- Safe, reliable, and supported
- Ability to join a Home Group
- Improved taskbar and JumpLists
This version will not be having the Aero glass and desktop enhancements.
2. Windows 7 Home Basic: This version will be made available in emerging markets.
- Live Thumbnail Previews & enhanced visual experience
- Advanced networking support (ad-hoc wireless networks and internet connection sharing)
- Mobility Center
This version will also be missing the Aero Glass, many Aero desktop enhancements.
3. Windows 7 Home Premium: This version will be available to all consumers and intended for small business customers.
- Aero Glass & advanced windows navigation
- Easy networking & sharing across all your PCs & devices
- Improved media format support, enhancements to Windows Media Center and media streaming, including Play To
- Multi-touch and improved handwriting recognition
4. Windows 7 Professional: This version will be available for mainstream retail market and intended for business customers.
- Ability to join a managed network with Domain Join
- Protect data with advanced network backup and Encrypting File System
- Print to the right printer at home or work with Location Aware Printing
Windows 7 Professional will be built on top of Home premium and will have added features like group policy.
5. Windows 7 Enterprise: This version is recommended for mid- and large-sized businesses that have a Software Assurance Agreement with Microsoft. Enterprise edition will be available only through Microsoft Volume Licensing.
- BitLocker data protection on internal and external drives
- DirectAccess provides seamless connectivity to your corporate network. (requires Windows Server 2008 R2)
- Decrease time branch office workers wait to open file across the network with BranchCache. (requires Windows Server 2008 R2)
- Prevent unauthorized software from running with AppLocker
6. Windows 7 Ultimate: Ultimate includes all Enterprise and all Home Premium features, including multi-language packs. Ultimate is the edition which consumers can buy with all the Windows 7 features loaded.
Each SKU mentioned here is a superset of the previous SKU. This means that each higher edition SKU will have every feature lower edition SKUs have. Microsoft has also mentioned that they would be focusing on two primary editions of Windows 7: Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional. This is similar to Windows XP Home and Professional.