Feeds

HP caught with SIX Windows 8 PC packages up its sleeve

Home, Ultimate and Starter revamped?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Windows 8 is being re-packaged into six versions in a move that looks like it might kill off four editions of the desktop client currently sold.

Documents posted on PC-partner Hewlett-Packard’s website here and picked up here say Windows 8 will come as a Windows 8 32- and 64-bit Edition, and an Enterprise and Professional Edition – both in 32-and 64-bit flavors.

It’s not clear, based on these documents, whether these are all the SKUs Microsoft has planned for the forthcoming Windows 8 or whether these are just the versions of Windows 8 that will be available on machines sold by HP.

If this is everything, then it’s almost certainly the end of Windows 7 Ultimate at the high end and also of Windows 7 Home Premium and Home Basic.

It would also suggest the death of Windows 7 Starter, which came on low-end machines and netbooks via the OEM and missed things like the Aero interface.

It'll mean consumers and those not on an enterprise agreement will have four versions of Windows to pick from: 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows 8 Edition and Professional Edition. Based on past experience, Enterprise Edition will remain something you can only buy under a Microsoft volume license or Software Assurance programme.

If HP’s documents prove to be the complete picture, then this means a significant change in the way Microsoft packages and sells different versions of Windows.

Being a software company, Microsoft’s goal is to up-sell you to more expensive versions of its products. On that basis, it has traditionally segmented Windows and offered more tantalising features for either the business or consumer user at a higher price.

For example, Windows Home Premium ($182.07) contained Media Center, which was missing in Home Basic ($99.99), while Enterprise had BitLocker drive encryption but was sold only under an Enterprise licence – meaning individuals who wanted the Enterprise features had to buy Ultimate ($239.88).

In realty, the SKUs have been largely cosmetic exercises designed to support and justify the practice of upselling: holding back Media Center from Home Basic knowing that’s what most consumers would really desire or packing some hard-core enterprise bits into Ultimate along with Media Center found in Home Premium.

The Reg had written about Microsoft’s SKU obsession around the launch of Windows 7 and also called for simplification. We’ve also covered how it has bred a kind of pricing and discounting madness in Microsoft around launch time.

Tellingly, Windows chief Steven Sinofsky wrote on the Windows 8 blog here in September 2011 on the subject of SKUs: “Interestingly, the feedback about Media Center was predominantly 'we will pay extra, just include it' based on the input directly to me. Today Media Center is part of 'premium' SKUs for Windows, which means that is the case today."

Sinofsky has not yet detailed the Windows 8 SKUs and Microsoft did not comment on the Windows 8 SKUs at the time of writing.

Fewer, more clearly designed SKUs would at least let shoppers feel less like they are being bilked and would help PC makers sell machines with clearly defined features – rather than runts stuck with truncated versions of an operating system. It might also mean, based on Sinofsky’s comments, that we see slightly higher prices for Windows 8 to accommodate the package rationalisation.

All this would mean, dare we say, that Microsoft is becoming even more like Apple, which sells just a single edition of its desktop operating system, minus the SKUs.

Bootnote

Microsoft has begun talking about forthcoming features in the next edition of Visual Studio, Visual Studio 2011. The Windows developer tools suite will add support for Windows 8 and include .Net 4.5, support for asynchronous programming in C# and Visual Basic. More HTML5 and CSS 3 tooling for ASP.Net are also planned. You can read more here. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD TO DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get parts for HDD models
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Microsoft fitness bands slapped on wrists: All YOUR HEALTH DATA are BELONG TO US
Wearable will deliver 'actionable insights for healthier living'
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.