ArsTechnica is reporting that Windows Vista To Come In 7 Flavors: Windows Vista Starter Edition, Windows Vista Home Basic Edition, Windows Vista Home Premium Edition (which will include MCE features/software), Windows Vista Professional Edition, Windows Vista Professional Small Business Edition, Windows Vista Professional Enterprise Edition, and finally Windows Vista Ultimate Edition.
While I like choice… I’ve always found Microsofts product variations arbitrary and maddening, especially since there was no easy way to just upgrade features ala carte on a lesser product tier (e.g. buying a “join a domain” functionality update for XP Home for a modest price without doing a full OS upgrade/re-install).
Not to mention the confusion this will cause. I can feel the Windows PVR forum swelling with confusion, consternation, and newbie posts wondering which edition to get and if the “Ultimate Edition is worth it for a PVR” (don’t let my cynicism stop you from posting, it’ll be a valid question/concern when the time comes!). I’m sure the OEM desktop manufacturers aren’t going to be happy about this from a support or creation of product fizzures point of view.
Here’s the paragraph on the “MCE” flavored Vista:
Windows Vista Home Premium Edition: Whole home entertainment and personal productivity throughout the home and on the go. As a true superset of Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium Edition will include everything from Home Basic, as well as Media Center and Media Center Extender functionality (including Cable Card support), DVD video authoring and HDTV support, DVD ripping support (yes, you read that right) (rampy note: ripped from one DRM of CSS to Windows DRM format — although that functionality is interesting from a legal point of view), Tablet PC functionality, Mobility Center and other mobility and presentation features, auxiliary display support, P2P ad-hoc meeting capabilities, Wi-Fi auto-config and roaming, unified parental controls that work over multiple PCs, backup to network functionality, Internet File Sharing, Offline Folders, PC-to-PC sync, Sync Manager, and support for Quattro Home Server. Windows Vista Premium Edition is similar to XP Media Center Edition, except that it adds numerous other features and functionality, including Tablet PC support. My guess is that this will be the volume consumer offering in the Windows Vista timeframe (today, XP Pro is the dominant seller). This version is aimed at PC enthusiasts, multiple-PC homes, homes with kids, and notebook users.