Offbeat

Windows 8, Coming in Four Versions

Image via Windows 8

After confusing their consumers with six versions of Windows 7, Microsoft decided to cut down the versions of its upcoming operating system to four. The Windows 8 will have the Home Edition, Business or Pro version, one for devices running ARM chips and the Enterprise Edition.

If you’ll purchase the next OS for your desktop or laptop, the Windows 8 Home Edition makes the cut. For business owners, the Windows 8 Pro features file system encryption, virtualization and domain management. The Windows RT, on the other hand, is the new name of Windows for ARM. It’ll come as a built-in OS for PCs and tablets that have the ARM processors.

It will run touch-oriented apps, touch-based Metro interface and touchscreen versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote in line with Microsoft’s programming model for mobile applications—Windows Runtime or WinRT. To learn more about the various versions of Windows 8, Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc shared a key feature breakdown of the new OS.

Windows 8 Pricing and Availability

As for its pricing and availability, LeBlanc didn’t disclose how much each version would cost or when they would be available. Nevertheless, the announcement confirmed that the new OS is indeed Windows 8. The Enterprise Edition, on the other hand, will not be available for most customers. As LeBlanc pointed out:

“As with previous versions of Windows, we will also have an edition of Windows 8 specifically for those enterprise customers with Software Assurance agreements. Windows 8 Enterprise includes all features of Windows 8 Pro plus features for IT organization that enable PC management and deployment, advanced security, virtualization, new mobility scenarios, and much more.”

Microsoft’s Considerable Restraint

For Microsoft, reducing the version of their OS to four is an admirable constraint. It should be recalled that the Windows 7 came in with six versions: Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate.

Although the Starter version is available for developing countries and the Enterprise is designed for large corporations, buyers are still torn with a handful of options. Thus, the four versions of Windows 8 provide clearer choice for users.

However, LeBlanc made it clear that they will be sharing more details about the upcoming OS in the next months. This will include information on the price, limited-time programs and promotions that Microsoft will offer for its customers. If you want to learn more about the new OS, check out Microsoft’s Window 8 preview.

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