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Will Microsoft launch a Windows 7 Netbook Edition?

by Parm Mann on 30 January 2009, 15:50

Tags: Windows 7, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaquy

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Microsoft's Windows 7 has been the talk of the town since its arrival as a public beta earlier this month.

In just a matter of weeks, Windows 7 has already harnessed the kind of enthusiasm that Windows Vista never quite managed to secure over a period of two years. With many of us having put the beta to the test, we know almost everything there is to know about Windows 7 - except which SKUs to expect at retail.

Following the Vista trend, multiple Windows 7 editions have been hinted at and we'd expect Microsoft to continue the "one size doesn't fit all" strategy - it's a possible means of circumventing the European Commission, if nothing else.

Question is; just how many SKUs can we expect? Many have argued that Windows Vista's six-fold line-up is simply too confusing. At present, Microsoft has remained tight lipped on 7's transition to retail, but CNET UK claims the Redmond-giant has confirmed at least one edition that's specifically developed for netbook computers.

Another SKU appears to be exactly what the doctor didn't order, but it's no surprise to see Microsoft targeting the low-power netbook/nettop market. Similarly, 7's availability as a 32-bit or 64-bit operating system may be solely due to must-have support for Intel's 32-bit Atom processor.

There are plenty of existing opinions on how Microsoft should handle Windows 7 SKUs, ranging from "please only one edition, think of the children!" to "I don't need all that crap, FireFox edition please". Nonetheless, there's always room for more so we're chiming in on how we'd like to see Windows 7 arrive at retail. Here's our three-way line-up:

  • Windows 7 Home (£49) - the standard version, suited to home users on any system. We've run Windows 7 Ultimate on a selection of netbooks and nettops and see little reason for a presumably dumbed-down netbook-specific release. Includes Media Centre.
  • Windows 7 Business (£79) - the business version, adds enterprise-orientated features. Strips home goodies such as Media Centre.
  • Windows 7 Ultimate (£99) - includes all the functionality of Home and Business editions, provides three licenses.

Simple, precise, and consumer friendly. We're being a little optimistic in our proposed pricing, of course, but we can always hope. How would you line up the Windows 7 SKUs? Share your thoughts in the HEXUS.community forums.

HEXUS Forums :: 18 Comments

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a Home edition inclduing media center? Isn't that what the EU banned them from including in the “Windows Vista Home Basic N” Edition?

Who reckons that Windows 7 either won't include internet explorer, or will also include rival browsers? that'd be an interesting complication.

Ultimate with 3 licences… we wish :\
Given how well the ‘ultimate’ version runs on my Acer (with 1gb) it's not technically necessary - but it will be from a cost perspective (because netbooks need to be super-cheap).

I can but hope they abandon basic, and make the entry level home premium (which is what most people want). I prefered the ‘pro’ designator to the ‘business’ & ‘home’ divide - and ultimate worked out as largely pointless. I'd suggest they do home (which is home premium, no domain support) and pro (which has domain support) and keep it that way.

That said, by the time the EU have their way - we'll need ‘N’ (no media versions) plus ‘NIE’ (no IE versions) - both of which nobody will buy, just like last time.
Windows 7 Home Basic^H^H^H^H^H Starter^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Netbook Edition
I'd suggest they do home (which is home premium, no domain support) and pro (which has domain support) and keep it that way.

QFT - the whole versions thing has got completely ludicrous with Vista.
“We're being a little bit optimistic with our pricing….”

And that will ultimately be Windows 7's downfall. If the home edition came out at around £30 I'd probably *actually buy a copy*, but I'd put money on the Home edition being more like £60 - and that probably OEM rather than retail. If that's the case then I'll either stick with XP or move to Linux - despite actually *liking* Windows 7 so far.

As to media player / centre and IE, why not make them optional components? Windows installs without them, but they can be added from the DVD once the install has finished. That way you can have 3 SKUs: Home, with no domain support but media extras on the DVD, Business, with domain support but no media stuff at all, and Ultimate, with domain support and media extras on the DVD. It would then be up to OEMs to decide which browsers and media players to include on their computers. See, nice and simple ;)