Microsoft boxes up Vista

by admin February 27, 2006 at 6:41 am

Although it is still working to finish the code for Windows Vista, Microsoft has reached a decision on which versions of the operating system to offer.

Microsoft has settled on six versions, including an Ultimate edition that will combine the best of the company’s corporate and consumer features. The company is aiming to have all of the versions ready for launch in the second half of this year.

“We’re really trying to make sure we have the right set of offerings for different customers,” said Barry Goffe, a director in Microsoft’s Windows client unit.

Consumers will also be able to buy either Vista Home Basic or Vista Home Premium, in addition to the Ultimate edition, while businesses will be able to choose Vista Business or, if they have a volume licensing deal, they can opt for a higher-end Vista Enterprise edition. Microsoft also plans a Vista Starter edition that will be sold only on new PCs in emerging markets.

The final versions that Microsoft is announcing on Monday are similar to the ones Microsoft has long been considering, with one exception; there is not a version specifically for small businesses. Instead, Microsoft is adding a number of small business features, including advanced backup and additional tutorials, as part of its Vista Business edition.

Microsoft is also doing away with the notion of Media Center and Tablet PC as distinct flavors of the operating system, as was the case with Windows XP. With Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate, consumers will be able to buy a machine that has both Media Center and Tablet PC capabilities. Tablet PC functions will also be included in Vista Business and Vista Enterprise.

With Windows XP, Goffe said, people “really have to compromise.”

“Either I get all the great media experience or I get all of the mobility features,” he said. “What if I want a great home experience and a great business experience?”

Goffe said that Windows Vista Ultimate is Microsoft’s answer to that question. “More and more customers are using the same PC at work and at home, particularly small businesses,” he said. “We are delivering an offering that brings everything together.” Ultimate combines features from the Enterprise and Premium versions.

Full article: CNET