Windows 7 - Take Your Pick!

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Microsoft is planning to offer Vista2 Windows7 in six versions – sound familiar?

Son-of-Vista will come in six flavors:

  1. Windows 7 Starter Edition: Targeted for notebooks and available only through OEMs; this is “crippleware” – you can only run three apps at the same time
  2. Windows 7 Home Basic: For “emerging markets” entry level PCs through OEMs
  3. Windows 7 Home Premium: The choice for most home users – this is where the eye-candy kicks in, such as Aero Glass and touch-screen
  4. Windows 7 Professional: One step up from Home Premium, similar to XP Pro
  5. Windows 7 Ultimate: The works
  6. Windows 7 Enterprise: For large corporate customers – not available retail or though OEMs.

Out of the six flavors, looks like the consumer’s choice is really limited to options 3, 4 and 5. No pricing information yet but don’t expect less than $100; expect to see a W7 launch late this year or early 2010. Also announced for XP users – there will be an upgrade available; BTW – this is a clean install which means all your data and programs will be wiped.

I speculated HERE that the most likely netbook OS from M$ would be Windows 7 Lite and that’s what Windows 7 Starter Edition shapes up to be. I do find it interesting that M$ would rather issue crippleware than compete with a netbook OS that is at least as good as Ubuntu – IMHO Ubuntu and other Linux variants are looking to be more credible for netbooks in this scenario, not the least of which is the cost issue.

For current XP users, I don’t think you have to make a decision on this for some time to come – there’s a couple of articles on extending XP’s life worth taking a close look:

M$ still faces a critical purchasing hurdle – is W7 so much better than XP that the installed base will convert en masse? Maybe it’s me, but I see no compelling reason to jump to W7 if the only perceived advantage for XP users is some eye-candy. Consumers buying a new PC have no option but to go with W7 – XP downgrades will not be an option.

The other factor to consider: A global economy in a severe downward spiral.

I put all this together and aside from new PC sales, I think the W7 ramp is not going to be all that strong; the corporate XP installed base is a wild-card, with IT offices looking at the bottom line and wondering what W7 will bring to the table. Personally, I’m on hold.

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