Brandon LeBlanc from the Windows Blog has posted up a new blog post today that takes a closer look at the upcoming Windows 7 SKUs.
He explains at launch, Microsoft will put the most emphasis on Windows 7 Home Premium (Recommended Choice for Consumers) and Windows 7 Professional (Recommended Choice for Enthusiasts and Small Business Customers).
These will be the box copies that you will be able to choose from on store shelves. They will also be the W7 versions that Microsoft puts its marketing efforts into the most.
Additionally Microsoft will also have four other SKUs, but they are for OEM customers and they will decide which operating system is best suited for their computers.
Not every customer has the same needs. In general, we discovered that most think we should have about 2 or 3 SKUs but there isn't much agreement what "the right" SKUs should be. So we are accommodating specialized needs for customers in specific markets. You could also think of these as niche offerings. A small percentage "niche" (like 2%) of the overall customer base is still many millions. That feels pretty big to me and we wanted to make sure we had the right solutions for them. We think it is important to respond to the needs, so we have:
Windows 7 Starter: Something that our OEM partners asked for is to have an offering for folks that will do very limited things with their PCs and for PCs with limited hardware capabilities. Windows 7 Starter only allows up to 3 applications to run at once. This is something that will be offered only through OEM partners.
Windows 7 Home Basic: Another offering that our OEMs asked for was a basic offering on Value PCs in emerging markets. This is something that will also only be available through OEM partners.
Windows 7 Enterprise: An offering asked for by our best and largest enterprise customers which has all the advanced security and manageability capabilities which also includes BitLocker data protection. This is something available only through Volume License agreements.
And, for those who want everything we have Windows 7 Ultimate.
Read the blog post here for all the details.