Monday, April 16, 2012

Microsoft Announces Windows 8 Product Lineup

Microsoft has announced the new product SKU's and lineup for the latest addition of the Windows operating system.

For consumers Windows 8 will feature three different version: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT for for ARM based processors. As with previous versions customers will have the option of either 32 bit or 64 bit, although we suspect most user will want the 64 bit version.

Additionally Microsoft will release an enterprise edition, Windows 8 Enterprise (of course), for volume license customers; and finally, some number of local-language-only versions for China and other selected emerging markets.

In his blog post containing the announcement Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc explains the major differences between the three main consumer editions:
  • Windows 8 is positioned as the replacement for Windows 7 Basic and Home Premium. 
  • Windows 8 Pro is viewed as the replacement for Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate. 
  • Windows RT will be exclusively available as a pre-install on ARM hardware, with no direct retail availability.

Windows 8 will be the mainstream consumer edition meant for the everyday user. The Pro version will add a number of features that most consumers don’t necessarily need however some of us power users might like. These include encryption, virtualization, PC management and domain connectivity. Either version will upgrade from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic or Home Premium however to upgrade to the pro version you'll need have previously installed Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate.
You can find a full feature comparison on the Windows blog.

Microsoft has not yet shared any details about a possible release date or the pricing of these editions.

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