Microsoft has announced the various editions of Microsoft Windows 7 today. They believe most customers will gravitate towards one of two editions – either Windows 7 Home Premium for consumers, or Windows 7 Professional for business users.
There are some major changes coming, and while some were clearly needed, others will be met with derision. The biggest/worst decision as far as future netbook owners should be concerned, is that the OEMs producing netbooks will probably be selling them with Windows 7 Starter. That’s what Microsoft wants to happen.
Windows 7 Starter only allows you to run three applications at a time. Forget about the fact that many of us are using the Windows 7 public beta (which has the “Ultimate” feature set) and that it runs just fine on netbooks. Hopefully most of the netbook makers will offer something other than Windows 7 Starter, for not much more. It’s a software limitation that doesn’t match the fact that by the time Windows 7 is available for retailers, the netbook hardware will be quite a bit faster and better than the first generation from this time a year ago.
From the Microsoft press release:
The first change in Windows 7 was to make sure that editions of Windows 7 are a superset of one another. That is to say, as customers upgrade from one version to the next, they keep all features and functionality from the previous edition. As an example, some business customers using Windows Vista Business wanted the Media Center functionality that is in Windows Vista Home Premium but didnâ€™t receive it in Business edition. Customers wonâ€™t have to face that trade-off with Windows 7. With Windows 7 there is a more natural progression from one edition to the next.
The second change is that we have designed Windows 7 so different editions of Windows 7 can run on a very broad set of hardware, from small-notebook PCs (sometimes referred to as netbooks) to full gaming desktops. This way, customers can enable the scenarios they want across the broad hardware choices they have.
Microsoft also felt the need to talk about Windows 7 on netbooks, through Brad Brooks, corporate vice president for Windows Consumer Product Marketing.