SOFTWARE REDEVELOPER Microsoft is expecting to release nine Windows 8 SKUs according to a registry entry in the consumer preview released on Wednesday.
Microsoft launched its Windows 8 consumer preview with much fanfare at MWC in Barcelona on Wednesday and later claimed that it was downloaded a million times in just 24 hours. With people poking around the operating system, it wasn't long before the chaps at Windows 8 Beta found references to nine Windows 8 SKUs.
According to Microsoft's registry entry there will be two Enterprise editions - one is purely for evaluation - plus Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional and Professional Plus editions, with Starter and Ultimate editions to top off the x86 offerings. There are no prizes for guessing that there will be an ARM version too, rounding off the set.
Microsoft's recent releases of Windows have seen an explosion of SKUs. While few would have complaints about an ARM SKU, Microsoft's decision to have an "Enterprise" and two "Professional" SKUs suggests a new found eagerness for needless product segmentation.
With Microsoft looking to flog so many Windows 8 SKUs, retailers will have a job on their hands to try to steer customers onto the right version of the operating system. It seems that while other operating system vendors can get away with one or two versions, Microsoft prefers to chop up its products in order to make them seem more impressive and try to rake in more cash.
Microsoft is expected to release Windows 8 towards the tail end of 2012, with the consumer preview being used to generate interest for the operating system and let users find bugs for free. µ