After months of maintaining that it had not yet finalized its Windows Vista lineup, Microsoft seems finally to have decided upon a half dozen core Vista versions.
According to a posting on its Web site, Microsoft is readying six core Vista packages, or SKUs, plus two additional releases customized for the European Union that wont bundle in Windows Media Player, as ordered by European antitrust regulators.
On the line up are Windows Starter 2007; Windows Vista Enterprise; Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista ultimate, Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Home Basic N and Windows Vista Business N. The "N" releases are those which do not include Media Player.
Its not clear whether the Starter release mentioned on Microsofts site is the same as the current Windows XP Starter Edition product, which is a cut-rate, less fully featured version of Windows tailored for developing countries.
The new SKU list contains relatively few surprises, as Microsoft had been widely expected to fold features from its current Windows XP Media Center Edition and Windows XP Tablet PC Edition into other SKUs, rather than continue to sell them as distinct editions.
Company officials also previously discussed plans to offer a Windows Vista Enterprise Edition—a variant of Vista that Microsoft is using as an incentive to attract more users to sign up for its Software Assurance licensing plan by making it available to Software Assurance customers only.