We’ve announced what the “SKUs” will be for Windows 7 – I hate this term “Stock Keeping Unit” means anything with with a part number… But first a first a history lesson:
XP had 5 SKUs
- Media Center
- 64 bit
Bad luck if you want a 64 bit Tablet or a laptop which is Domain joined for the office and with Media functions for the road.
Vista stuck with 5 SKUs but arranged them more sensibly (at least to me)
- Home Basic
- Home Premium
For each of these there was a 32 bit build and a 64 bit build, and the licence covered either. (Even if people had problems getting the installation media). Tablet and media functionality went across SKUs There was a 6th SKU – starter edition – which wasn’t available in much of the world . And of course each of these was doubled up with the “No-media-by-order-of-the-EU-Office-for-Competitors” edition, normally shortened to “N”
It seems these are to stay with 7, with the changes being that Starter will be available world wide, and business will become “professional”. Small businesses have complained long and loud about the lack of bit-locker in Vista business, and they will now complain about the lack of bit locker in Window 7 “professional”. That is the about the only thing I wish we’d change in the SKUs. People can argue about whether there should be a SKU for organizations on volume licences. Since “Volume” begins at 5 there are very few organizations who can’t have the enterprise edition if they want it. There are many small business who don’t know that (which is our fault, and I hope we’ll do something about it).
I think there is clear case for separate home and business SKUs – and for an all in one SKU (ultimate). I’m hoping that we make it clear that “Home Basic” is a poor filleted thing “Windows for a cheap PC” if you like. The feed back from netbook users has been that the beta of 7 (which is the “Ultimate” SKU) works great, so I hope never to walk into a store an see starter on a computer.