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Microsoft Confirms 6 Versions of Vista 524

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the this-is-getting-complicated-fast dept.
Darthmalt writes "The BBC has a story confirming that there will be 6 versions of Vista. They are Vista Business, Vista Enterprise, Vista Home Basic, Vista Home Premium, Vista Ultimate, Vista Starter. Also included are some of the differences between each version."
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Microsoft Confirms 6 Versions of Vista

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  • One thing that I'm not clear on in this article is if they have plans for the server version (similar to XP vs. Windows Server 2003). Tied to that, of course, is if/when there will be "Windows Server 2007 Data Center Edition," for 32-way type systems.
    • It'll probably be just like the case of XP and Win2k3, which came several years apart. Presumably to have the first thousand critical bugs sorted out...
    • They do, but they havn't named it yet - at the moment it's just called Longhorn Server.
    • Re:Server Platform (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pieroxy (222434)
      These guys are just plain insane. Just one more example of how being a monopoly (or overly dominant) can just blind you.

      Reminds me of Apple's position before Jobs got back in there. Their catalog was HUGE, with tens of different versions.

      Jobs got there and cut it down in three: iMac, Laptop and Server. Down from dozens to three, very clearly potitionned. In no time, they got back in the market.

      Of course, that was not the only factor. By far, but still...

      Anyways, it won't recognize my RPC-1 drive... So I gue
  • There is a thing called a "re-gifter". I think it was coined on Seinfeld, but the concept has been around forever. At least since the invention of the fruitcake.

    Why get your news from the BBC when Microsoft released this information yesterday [microsoft.com]?
    • Why get your news from the BBC when Microsoft released this information yesterday?

      Probably for the same reason that I get most of my news about the White House from sources other than whitehouse.gov and Scott McClellan. From the first paragraph of the MS press release:

      Microsoft Corp. today announced the product lineup of its upcoming Windows Vista(TM) operating system. Scheduled for release later this year, the Microsoft® Windows Vista product lineup will bring clarity to customers' digital world by h
  • by hattig (47930) on Monday February 27, 2006 @10:25AM (#14807900) Journal
    Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

    Um, that's not what a vista is :)

    I've still got to be sold on Vista. It seems to offer less new stuff than XP, and at least most people got a benefit from going from 9x to XP, in that it was a far better OS underneath.
    • Same to me. What really relevant new feature does Vista have to offer? How will my life be better if I abandon the current Windows XP for this Vista stuff? I doubt there is any compelling reason.
      • not the point (Score:3, Interesting)

        by RMH101 (636144)
        the number of retail copies of XP sold, compared to the number shipped preinstalled on systems is pretty inconsequential. MS don't *have* to offer much beyond continued support and patches, some eye candy and an iron-clad OEM agreement with the PC manufacturers and it'll end up on millions of desktops by default.
        the real question is how much leverage will it put on new markets for them: mobile devices (activesync as core component, "plays for sure" tie-ins to MP3 players, windows mobile messaging integr
  • by ewg (158266) on Monday February 27, 2006 @10:25AM (#14807902)
    I'm getting Vista Home Basic just for the the Basic interpreter.
  • Translation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ckwop (707653) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Monday February 27, 2006 @10:26AM (#14807903) Homepage

    "We don't want customers to be forced into buying something that isn't going to meet all their needs," said Barry Goffe, Microsoft's director of Windows client product management.

    Translation: We understand from psychology that people can only make effective, informed decisions when the number of choices is low [columbia.edu], typically around six. We understand that one of the principles of building is a successful company is to segment your market [joelonsoftware.com] according to their willingness to pay. Hence, I propose we offer six versions of Vista, each priced differently, each with a clear difference in feature set so that we can effectively capture our consumer surplus without our customers being constrained by the tyranny of choice.

    Simon.

    • We don't want customers to be forced into buying something that isn't going to meet all their needs," said Barry Goffe, Microsoft's director of Windows client product management

      So just give them something that has everything and don't put stupid limitations in that don't need to be there. Don't put theses stupid limitations like Maximum memory, maximum processors, maximum connections to IIS. If the computer has 2 processors, then use them. If the computer has 8 GB of memory then use it. Just provide
      • Re:Translation (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jimicus (737525)
        So just give them something that has everything and don't put stupid limitations in that don't need to be there. Don't put theses stupid limitations like Maximum memory, maximum processors, maximum connections to IIS.

        The kind of person who needs to go out and buy an 8-way box with 16 GB of RAM is probably happy to spend more money on the OS than the kind of person who goes out to buy a single-processor box with 512M of RAM. Thus, you do your bit as a socially-conscious company and help the person who is h
    • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Monday February 27, 2006 @11:14AM (#14808297)
      Except it's likely to be like XP, where the only useful version for anyone to have (outside of servers) will be the XP Pro corporate version. Of course, everyone will get starter or basic with their new PCs so they'll have to buy (or pirate) the good one.
      • Re:Translation (Score:3, Insightful)

        by The_Sock (17010)
        The only useful version is XP Pro Corp. Edition? No, not really. XP Home was fine for home users (I know, crazy, huh?). Really, XP Home couldn't join a domain, couldn't use more then one processor (but it could use HyperThreading if available on the processor), didn't have IIS, didn't have Dynamic Disk support, and ASR (Which is about the only feature that would have been nice, but really, most people would just say "huh?"). XP Home worked well, and saved the customer a bit of cash over XP Pro. If it allowe
    • "We don't want customers to be forced into buying something that isn't going to meet all their needs," said Barry Goffe, Microsoft's director of Windows client product management.

      If you do not want to force comsumers into buying something that is not going to meet all their needs, then why force every consumer who buys a computer (DELL, Laptop, etc...not barebones) to also buy a license to your DRM encrusted, monopoly prolonging, memory leaking, privacy infringing, virus ridden software.

      And I use the te
    • Re:Translation (Score:4, Informative)

      by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Monday February 27, 2006 @11:35AM (#14808509)
      We understand from psychology that people can only make effective, informed decisions when the number of choices is low, typically around six.

      Smart. If the consumer can only handle "around six" choices, and if Microsoft already offered six choices, they've effectively crowded out the competitor's. Hey, if it's already difficult enough to chose between Windows Vista 1, Windows Vista 2, Windows Vista 3, Windows Vista 4, Windows Vista 5 and Windows Vista 6, who will be able to handle the additional choices of FreeBSD, Linux and MacOSX. "It's getting complicated".

      Laundry-powder producers have been doing this for ages. Each producer has a zillion of "different" brands on its own, just to occupy shelf space, and increase the probability that one of its products will be chosen by the consumer...

      • by NoData (9132) <_NoData_@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Monday February 27, 2006 @12:44PM (#14809199)
        Actually this could backfire. Having multiple choices that are difficult to choose among drives people to alternatives. People are systematically irrational in this way. If somebody prefers A over B, then they should continue to prefer A over B even if choice C suddenly becomes available, right? Wrong. Often they will go to *B* is it's too hard to choose between A and C, and all three choices are close in value. A famous study illustrating this had people choose their compensation for participating in a quick study. They could choose between this fancy pen (told it was worth around, say, $5) and like $3 cash. People almost invariably took the pen. However, when other people were given their choice between two different but comparable pens, each worth around $5, and $3 cash, they just took the cash. They didn't have a good reason to pick one pen over the other (says one theory), or the cost of debating the choice was higher than their preference over the third alternative (says another theory), so they go for the neutral, third alternative. There have been many, many similar experimental examples.

        So, if people are stressed or stymied by having to choose among even two copies of Windows, much less six, and they have been at all flirting with an alternative option (i.e., another OS, or just don't bother upgrading at all), this could easily put them over the edge.

        (This comes for the reason-based choice [nih.gov] work of Eldar Shafir and others)
  • Microsoft spends money to develop Vista. In a free market, Microsoft could then sell Vista at a market-set price, generally close to the marginal cost of production.

    Microsoft then spends more money making crippled versions of Vista. IE, "Home" and "Starter" cost them more to produce than "Business" did (if we assume "Business" is the full operating system without the Enterpirse add-ons, which seems likely given 2000 and XP).

    Despite costing Microsoft more money to produce, they sell it for less. This is an

    • "Microsoft spends money to develop Vista. In a free market, Microsoft could then sell Vista at a market-set price, generally close to the marginal cost of production."

      The market is a homogenous market, meaning that individual consumers have certain preferences towards certain products. In this case they favor Microsofts, because the dont like the other ones (Apple, Linux etc.). If Microsoft were making SOOO much money as is generally assumed it could be no problem for a competitor to arise and make a better
  • If this doesn't keep the software bundling lawsuits away I don't know what will.

    Although it will make it a bit harder to get through the wire...

    Cheers,
    Adolfo
  • there will be 6 versions of Vista.
    This has the potential to create quite a bit of consumer anxiety.
    • There are 6 versions of Windows XP already dude.
      • FTFA:Microsoft pointed out that the current version of Windows, XP, is available in six different versions though most of these are tuned for the different types of hardware, such as a Tablet PC, people are using.

        apparantly these six are all aimed at the same hardware.

    • Oh trust me, this level of consumer anxiety is *absolutely nothing* compared to a consumer who decided he wanted to switch to linux.
    • If the differences are sufficient to require separate platform testing then this is going to be a nightmare for 3rd party Windows software companies.
    • There isn't much market confusion here.

      Two are for home users (like XP Home and XP Pro where), two are for EU members which have things removed.

      The other two are the business editions. That's less than the multitude of 2003 Server choices.
  • by thewiz (24994) *
    And people complain about how many Linux distrobutions there are!
  • This is called "market segmentation" - anyone who's studied marketing will be familiar with it.

    What I find difficult to believe is this:

    Vista Home Premium includes everything in the Basic version and adds the new graphical interface called Aero.

    So they're going to be selling a version which has a deliberately crappier interface (Home Basic)? Is that sensible from a business perspective?

    One useful mental exercise I often apply to my own work is "What would Steve Jobs say about this?" I think Microsoft should
    • Is that sensible from a business perspective?

      Yes, because there will be some graphical hardware requirements for the Aero interface that not everybody can or cares to meet. This gives them the opportunity to not have to pay for a graphical interface they can't or don't want to use.

      • This gives them the opportunity to not have to pay for a graphical interface they can't or don't want to use.

        Do you work for Microsoft by any chance? You seemed to have swallowed their line on this... You must relise that there is no actual cost difference to Microsoft, it's just about value perception.
        • You must relise that there is no actual cost difference to Microsoft, it's just about value perception.

          Well, that's true insomuch as the costs are already sunk. But giving customers the ability to opt out of paying back on those sunk costs is real and legitimate value to the customer.

        • No cost to them, unless the cost is payment to the EU for having a included a media player in their OS.
    • "What would Steve Jobs say about this?"

      I'm guessing something like: "If they want to use Vista, then they'll just have to upgrade all thier hardware. If they don't want to do that, they they don't get Vista."

      Steve is a very "you either play by my rules or I'll take my ball and go home" type remember.

    • I came here to make exactly the same point. Stripping out the potential to run the fabulous new eye-candy seems a really bizarre idea. It took me all the way back to the early days of OS/2 when you could buy a version with presentation manager (the windowed GUI) or with a lovely character-based interface.

      EXCEPT, thinking about it - if you strip out Aero there's not much to differentiate Vista home edition from XP. I suppose this could be a simple way of continuing to sell something to people who don't want
    • Vista Home Premium includes everything in the Basic version and adds the new graphical interface called Aero.

      Either they misunderstood and misquoted their source, or Microsoft has finally gone off the deep end.
  • by Dareth (47614) on Monday February 27, 2006 @10:33AM (#14807961)
    "We don't want customers to be forced into buying something that isn't going to meet all their needs," said Barry Goffe, Microsoft's director of Windows client product management.

    Most customers get what is bundled with their computer. Most do not know if they have Windows 98, ME, or XP. Customers will be forced to buy what is the most economical for the OEM's to include with their machines.

    Computers were supposed to be "multi-purpose" machines. Now that hardware is leveling, the differences are all in the software. The purpose of these levels is marketing and price control. Do not believe for a minute that this is about providing "choice" to the consumer.
    • Not sure it's about providing "choice" to the consumer, nor do i believe that it's about marketing and price control; I believe it's probably more along the lines of what the EU forced them to do. Instead of giving one rolled up package with all the bells and whistles, they've now got to separate all the bells & whistles out into different purchasable products.
  • "Vista Home Premium includes everything in the Basic version and adds the new graphical interface called Aero."

    So what the hell is the advantage of "Starter" and "Home Basic" over XP Home Edition with SP2? Security?
    MSH not bundled, will likely be runnable on all upon downloading. IE7 available for XP. .NET everywhere already. New Media Player, XP. So what's new for home users?
    • So what the hell is the advantage of "Starter" and "Home Basic" over XP Home Edition with SP2? Security? MSH not bundled, will likely be runnable on all upon downloading. IE7 available for XP. .NET everywhere already. New Media Player, XP. So what's new for home users?
      Stop asking questions like that. They are getting new OS called Vista which took long long time to develop.
    • So what the hell is the advantage of "Starter" and "Home Basic" over XP Home Edition with SP2?

      Vista Home Basic comes preloaded on their new computer. Windows XP does not.

  • This would be a great time for Steve Jobs to step forward and remind everybody that there is only one version of MacOS, you don't have to cross reference your need chart to the features matrix of like you do with Vista.
    • Re:Marketing coup (Score:3, Insightful)

      by generic-man (33649)
      I count 3, maybe 4: Mac OS X PowerPC, Mac OS X Intel, Mac OS X Server PowerPC, and probably Mac OS X Server Intel once they release new Xserves. Under the hood they're quite similar, but you can say the same about Windows Vista too. If you want to deliver a solid, fast application it's got to be a universal binary; if you're going after the Mac OS X data center market you need to make sure your product works on the server versions as well.
  • My main concern is consumer confusion, yes. Imagine going to buy an OS, or going to buy a new PC, and being confronted with pricing "ladders" based on Vista version. Most folks just want the stuff to work... most don't really understand the complicated logic behind the release of many sub-versions of Vista.

    Another concern I have is the total cost of ownership for businesses (large and small businesses). Will companies' IT departments have to support a myriad of Vista versions (on top of the typical legacy
    • It doesn't really matter. Mom and Pop will go over to Best Buy, and the salesteenager will say "And this one comes with Microsoft Vista Foo-7..." and the folks will say "That's good, huh?", and then they'll buy it and take it home.

      In other words, the manufacturers/integrators are the ones who will be making the "which version" decision. Only people like us who build our own machines are going to care.

    • If you buy a home PC from Dell/HP it will either have the basic version of Vista or some of the upgraded versions if it's a "HTPC". No confusion.
    • I actually think it will result in less confusion. Currently, consumers are give a choice of Home, Professional, and Media Center. This division is not exactly intuitive, especially given that many home users want Professional. This new structure seems designed to split the home and business market, and provide two main choices for each.

      Under the new arrangement, you will choose from Home Basic and Home Premium if you are a home user. And if you are a nerd and want to run a domain in your house, you g

    • Consumer confusion will be nothing compared to external support confusion.

      Just wait until users call up a techie asking for help and not knowing wtf version they're running and not knowing how to tell.
      Imagine a huge corporate workforce that bought laptops from a couple of different vendors a year or 3 apart and have different versions, with different issues, different patching schemes, yada yada.

      It could wind up a support nightmare.

    • No, there isn't going to be any consumer confusion. Consumers just buy a PC with Windows.

      The confusion is going to be in the IT departments and repair shops, to try and figure out why domain logons don't work on some particular version, or on the hell desks who need to figure out why the menus are all different and the user can't find some widget that was there yesterday (on another computer)...
  • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrotherNO@SPAMoptonline.net> on Monday February 27, 2006 @10:36AM (#14807978) Journal
    Three versions of the software, called Vista, will be for home users, two will be for businesses and one will be for emerging markets.

    Namely the emerging market of people frustrated with the other five versions...

  • Six too many, to be exact.
  • by Phillip2 (203612) on Monday February 27, 2006 @10:37AM (#14807992)
    I've always argued that windows is far better than linux, because it's not
    going to fragment in the way linux does. It's a huge problem. You write an
    app for linux and you can never tell what their system is going to be like.
    They could be on redhat, or ubuntu, or any of the popular distros.

    With windows, it's nice and clear. Either they are in 2000. Or XP (Home or
    Business). Or Vista. That is Vista home. Or home premium. Or business.
    Or richer business edition.

    Think I'm going to buy a mac.

    Phil
  • ...all those versions actually make sense.

    # Vista Business - XP Pro
    # Vista Enterprise - XP Pro with enterprise utilities that people have been wanting
    # Vista Home Basic - for grandma's aging PC that won't run the latest, greatest stuff
    # Vista Home Premium - Essentially the replacement for XP MCE.
    # Vista Ultimate - XP Pro for home users
    # Vista Starter - for when even Basic won't run on your PC.
  • Has anyone heard what will follow XP Embedded? I'm expecting something from the Vista "line" eventually, but have heard nothing yet.
  • Seven's the magic number. Lucky Seven. Marketers usually have either three price points or seven. They must have planned for seven and then been forced to drop one. I wonder what the missing one was?
  • Tech Support (Score:3, Interesting)

    by m1a1 (622864) on Monday February 27, 2006 @10:53AM (#14808118)
    I used to do tech support. The "what operating system do you use" was already the question that created the most ridiculous answers. Sounds like that question just got a whole lot more fun.
  • I think Microsoft is subscribing to the "Pokemon" school of marketing - they are banking on developers feeling they "gotta catch'em all".

    Consider: you develop for Windows. You now have to test your app against between 1 to 6 versions of Vista (depending upon your target market). If you are targeting ALL Vista users, you now have to check against 6 version of Vista - and thus have to BUY six versions.

    Consider: You support Windows (e.g. ISP, IT department, hardware vendor). You have to test against 6 versions
  • This from a company that ranted against an OS that comes in many mutations [man.ac.uk]...

    Now do we have to add "didn't want to bet my job on deciding which variant of Windows would best fit our needs" to the top of our list of reasons for migrating to Linux altogether? ;-)

  • "We don't want customers to be forced into buying something that isn't going to meet all their needs," said Barry Goffe, Microsoft's director of Windows client product management.

    So nice of him!
    Muahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I need a version of Windows without the HTML control so I don't have to worry about some third party app bringing Internet Explorer back to life.

      Can you do that?

      "Sure, Bob, that's the Windows Vista Crippled Edition."
  • by stlhawkeye (868951) on Monday February 27, 2006 @11:06AM (#14808221) Homepage Journal
    Among my roles at work is web development. I keep a whiteboard here that says, "COMMIT TO STABLE SOFTWARE!" and it has two sections: "DAYS SINCE AN IE CRASH" and "LIFETIME RECORD." Sort of like those signs at factories that say, "198 days without an accident." Anyway, the "DAYS SINCE AN IE CRASH" is currently 1. The lifetime record is 2.
  • Now Windows is only 600,000 versions less than Linux.
  • i am building a computer for my grandmother. it's a compaq, and the first thing i did was format the hard drive. then i install from my copy of windows XP Home. it turns out that Compaq CD keys don't work for a regular version of XP Home or XP Corporate. i can't find the cd that came with the computer. so now i own a license for windows XP Home but am unable to install it. it's really a royal pain in the ass, especially when i have access to other versions of XP but cannot use my cd key with them.
  • ...as in beer. I mean, what else could they mean by the following quote from the bottom of TFA:

    "We don't want customers to be forced into buying something that isn't going to meet all their needs," said Barry Goffe, Microsoft's director of Windows client product management.
  • Well, with 6 different variants we have a very good battle field the theories.
    Personally I don't think that the "Intelligent design" [wikipedia.org] theory can lead to anything: it's Microsoft, dudes!
    On the opposite side, the "Evolution" [wikipedia.org]should instead prove itself in this very case. Starvation should select the best one among all: DOS [wikipedia.org].
    Let's sit down and wait.
  • Vista Super Edition Plus (only available in a CD binder with 64 other titles)
    You can get \/|s+/\ here!!!! (via email from Whitlette Rosalia)
    Vista BitTorrent Edition

  • The six are really:

    Vista MoneyVacuum edition for BigCo and DumbGov accounts

    Vista CopyApple edition for people who get work done at home

    Vista CashSucker edition for BestBag,CompUSuck shelves and CDW

    Vista MentalInsult with lots of help on how to use the help

    Vista SuperHaloGamerExpoTasticGentooRicerXBOX375+++ for gamers

    Vista ScrewLinuxPremium for everyone

  • by grumling (94709) on Monday February 27, 2006 @12:16PM (#14808902) Homepage
    Most people who have a choice will buy the cheapest option when it comes to electronics (I-POD being an exception, but it is a fashion accessory). This is because of the WallMart effect and commodity hardware/generic software.

    Because of this, MS is going to try to split out their market, much like GM did in the post WW2 era: Get poor and young people to buy cheap, no frills. As they advance up the economic ladder, upsell them to the higher end product. The core product is still the same (same engine, transimssion, even in many cases, the same body), but add on more/"better" options like leather seats, climate control, 8-track tape players, marketing, etc.

    The only problem with that model is when real competition shows up, you have to start adding the better options on to the low end cars to keep up with the competitor. At some point there is a knee to the curve and there is no difference at all between Cadilac and Chevy, except for the name plate, marketing and cost. This completely kills your most profitable market (high end) because the customer doesn't want to drive a Cadilac that looks exactly like a Chevy Cavalier, and they've long since moved on to something else.

    At some point the marketing department takes over the company and decides that they need a product that they can sell, not one that makes sense. Sadly, we are at that point now with the SUV (made worse by stupid laws that require fuel economy calculations to be an average of the fleet of cars and trucks instead of on a per-unit bassis). After all, when was the last time you saw an SUV ad that didn't feature at least one shot of the truck on some back road out in Montana with the perfect family at the campsite? Or a pickup ad with some cowboy roping steers out in West Texas (with his good friend the oil wildcatter, getting dirty out in the back 40)? Who wouldn't want that lifestyle? I sure would, and, apperently, so do most women aged 25-50 who can't park.

    I think this is why apple will be the next big deal, and some low end OS, written mostly in India or China will be the end of MS. Microsoft will be forced to compete on features with some low end OS that just beats them at there own game (HINT: It won't be Linux as we know it, but it may be something that is based on it, much like the Subaru boxer engine was a knock off of the VW*). This will piss off the high end, who will move to Apple, kill MS R&D's budget and MS will be the first major company to crash and burn in the infromation age. Remember: What's good for GM is good for America? That was said at a time when 60% of the cars on the road were GM built, and the biggest threat to them (as precieved at the time) was the Sherman Anti-trust Act. BTW- Microsoft will, after releasing Visa, will announce their biggest quarter ever. Buy your stock just before the release, and sell it 3-4 months after their biggest quarter ever. Don't look back, because they won't be around much longer after that.

    *Linux is the VW microbus of the software world: cheap, reliable software you can fix yourself. Just that you may end up going uphill in reverse since the reverse gear has much higher touque than first, but you know that already since you fixed the tranny yourself. Just know that thost people pointing and laughing wouln't know how great a vehicle you have, and yes, you are superior to them.
  • by aflat362 (601039) on Monday February 27, 2006 @12:59PM (#14809349) Homepage
    from the article: "PCs running the Premium edition will also be able to connect their machine to an Xbox 360 gaming console."

    What for?

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