Windows 7 SKUs

Windows SKU’s have been a confusing puddle of nonsense in the past and on the surface not a whole lot as changed now that Windows 7 is coming down the line. There are 5 SKUs that will be available at launch.The bullet points are key points from the press release. Each SKU has all of the features of the lower priced SKUs. As an example, Home Basic has all of the features of Starter plus the key points listed in the bullets.

Starter: This will be aimed at Netbooks and other price conscious markets. This will be an OEM only release. I would guess you will not find this version at Best Buy but maybe at New Egg. This is a really stripped down version that will allow to only run 3 applications at once.

  • Broad app and device compatibility with up to 3 concurrent applications
  • Safe, reliable, and supported
  • Ability to join a home group
  • Improved taskbar and jumplists

I can’t imagine going out and buying this OS. I will no doubt keep my copies of XP, Vista and Linux around rather than purchase this. 3 applications is a non-starter.

Home Basic: This is another OEM SKU for emerging markets. I doubt you will be able to purchase this in the united states.

  • Unlimited applications
  • Live thumbnail preview and enhanced visual appeals
  • Advanced networking support
  • Mobility center

Home Premium: For 90% of the consumers out there, this is the only retail copy of Windows 7 they will see. Media Center users, at the very least, will want this as it comes with the enhanced media support.

  • Aero glass
  • Easy networking & sharing across all PCs
  • Improved Media support including PlayTo
  • Multi-touch and improved hand-writing recognition

Professional: This replaces Vista Business and comes with a few advanced networking tasks.

  • Ability to join a managed network with Domain Join
  • Protect data with advanced network backup and Encrypting File System
  • Location aware printing

Ultimate/Enterprise: More advanced networking and encryption abilities. No dream scene this time around? From business perspective, the BranchCache feature looks interesting.It will be interesting to see how that improves network performance between cities.

  • BitLocker data protection
  • DirectAccess provides seamless connectivity to your corporate network
  • Decrease time branch office workers wait to open file across the network with BranchCache

So retail consumers will likely see two SKUs, Home Premium and Ultimate. All of the SKUs look confusing but for the most part you are shielded from them if you are not a business user.