Whats Inside the Six Windows Vista Releases?

Microsoft goes public on the features planned for its Vista variants, due to ship before the end of 2006. And, yes, there is a way around the volume-licensing requirement for Windows Vista Enterprise. (Microsoft Watch)

Microsoft will unveil the official Windows Vista version lineup on Feb. 27. While the names of the six core SKUs are familiar, thanks to a recent information leak, some of the specifics regarding the feature list for each variant might catch some company watchers by surprise.

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.

The six Windows Vista variants are: Windows Starter 2007; Windows Vista Enterprise; Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista ultimate, and Windows Vista Business.

Also on the list are two additional releases, Windows Vista Home Basic N and Windows Vista Business N. The "N" releases are those which do not include Media Player.

Microsoft currently offers six core Windows XP SKUs: The line up includes XP Home, Professional, Media Center, Tablet PC, and Professional x64, and Windows XP Starter. (Microsoft also offers "N" versions of its XP Home and XP Professional releases, as stipulated by the European antitrust regulators.)

With Vista, there will not be separate Tablet, Media Center or x64 SKUs, said Barry Goffe, director of Windows client product management. All of the planned Vista versions, except Windows Vista Starter, will be available in both 32- and 64-bit flavors.

All SKUs will integrate Internet Explorer 7.0, the new Vista desktop search, parental controls and Windows Defender anti-spyware technology.

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