Although the news originally leaked last week, Microsoft Corporation has confirmed that it plans to offer six core editions of its forthcoming Windows Vista operating systems, plus two editions for the European Union stripped of the Windows Media Player software. The number of editions matches the total count of version of Windows XP the company currently offers, but instead of targeting different sorts of hardware with different editions (64 bit computing, tablet PCs, etc.), the different editions of Windows Vista will focus on what users want to do with their computer.
According to Microsoft, the six core Windows Vista Editions will be:
- Vista Home Basic: Aimed at users who mostly want to use their computers as an information and communications appliance: e.g. surf the Web, use email, plus create and edit basic documents.
- Vista Home Premium: Everything in the Vista Home Basic edition, plus the new Aero graphical interface.
- Vista Business: A basic version of Windows for all sizes of business with bundled PC management tools.
- Vista Enterprise: All the features of Vista Business plus BitBlocker, an encryption system to help prevent data being accessed if a computer is lost or stolen.
- Vista Ultimate: Combined all the features of business and home editions.
- Vista Starter: A stripped-down version of Windows with lower hardware requirements aimed at developing markets.
Business and Home editions of Windows Vista without Windows Media Player software will also be developed for the European Union to comply with an EU antirust mandate. With these editions, the total number of Windows Vista releases will total eight.
Microsoft hasn’t announced an official ship date for Windows Vista, but the operating system is expected to be released in the second half of 2006.