Windows 7 SKUs confirmed – no special netbook edition


win7-logoThe word on the street today said that Microsoft was going to confirm the SKUs today for the different versions of the upcoming Windows 7.  Speculation has been bouncing around that we’d see a special “Netbook” edition of Windows 7 due to licensing cost issues, but the list that has apparently been confirmed by Microsoft is missing that one.  Here’s what is being reported:

  • Windows 7 Starter
  • Windows 7 Home Basic (for emerging markets)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Ultimate

If this list holds up we’re looking at another confusing assortment of Windows versions to keep consumers on their toes.  What do these different versions offer?  Here’s the scoop from Geekzone:

Windows 7 Starter: up to 3 concurrent applications, ability to join a Home Group, improved taskbar and JumpLists;

Windows 7 Home Basic: unlimited applications, live thumbnail previews & enhanced visual experience, advanced networking support (ad-hoc wireless networks and Internet connection sharing), and Mobility Center;

Windows 7 Home Premium: Aero Glass & advanced windows navigation, improved media format support, enhancements to Windows Media Center and media streaming, including Play To, and multi-touch and improved handwriting recognition;

Windows 7 Professional: ability to join a managed network with Domain Join, data protection with advanced network backup and Encrypting File System, and print to the right printer at home or work with Location Aware Printing;

Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Ultimate: bitLocker data protection on internal and external drives, DirectAccess for seamless connectivity to corporate networks based on Windows Server 2008 R2, BranchCache support when on networks based on Windows Server 2008 R2, and lock unauthorized software from running with AppLocker.

(via engadget)




Perhaps you’re unaware that there are lawsuits against Microsoft and OEM’s about the confusion between Home Basic versus Home Premium, and it’s not just because of the issue of “Vista Capable”. While I can understand the different versions just fine, your average consumer can’t and doesn’t understand it.

Richard makes an excellent point here with Mac OSX… as much as I hate it, they make it simple. You buy one copy, and it has everything in it. It’s simple.

Let me put it this way… I’d rather Windows be more like the Lord of the Rings… One Windows to Rule Them All, and I’ll pay $150/copy without hesitation to know that I have all the best functionality Microsoft has to offer.



Microsoft, save yourself and save us…

Have one single SKU that features it all, and give it away for free for home/non-business use.

Make it available for $99 for business use.

Done :)


@bluemonq – Not confused about the prouct line up. Just believe that it does not help the average customer with all these different versions. Now apart from the many different PC suppliers and hardware combinations you have to investigate the OS variants as well. Seems to me that APPLE price premium becomes more attractive as there is a small product line-up and one OS to choose from. That’s all


@GoodThings2Life: That’s exactly the point though. Most of the versions of Windows 7 aren’t available to your average consumer either and most people will only see Home Premium if they try to buy a home PC and Professional when they try to buy a business PC. If you’re talking about versions on shelves then you’ll see three versions (Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate) and I would imagine that anybody buying Windows that way knows what they’re doing.

Of course, the situation is simplified now because Media Center and Tablet edition are rolled into Home Premium and Ultimate.

Even if I get rid of the N editions there were still more versions of XP available for the determined customer to choose from and be confused by.

This is basically a non-argument and Engadget are just trying to manufacture controversy. There’s also no point pining for some sort of Home/Professional golden age because, as I’ve pointed out, it never existed.

Kevin C. Tofel

“Starter is not going to be available for most folks who are reading this.”

I think it’s too early to make that statement for sure. I don’t disagree, but let’s see if Starter is in the mix for netbooks. Personally, I hope not.

Kevin C. Tofel

“Why do we need a Netbook SKU when it’s been made clear on this site and many many others that W7 Ultimate works great?”

Excellent question and I can tell you that Win 7 Home Premium runs just as well as Ultimate on a netbook. You’d obviously expect that since it has less functionality than Ultimate, but I wanted to point it out.

I think the *real* question here is: what version(s) will OEMs sell with netbooks? Given how well Ultimate has been running, this isn’t a question of technology; it’s a business question.


I believe the parenthetical ‘for emerging markets” should go with ‘Starter’, not Home Basic.

@TurtleWhisperer, Richard, and GooTHings2Life: If you have trouble figuring out which one to pick out of these, I’d shudder to see you flip out in a cereal aisle at the supermarket.

Look, Starter is not going to be available for most folks who are reading this. Scratch that off the list.

Enterprise is essentially Volume Licensing with some additional feature targeted at large businesses; it should be obvious that you wouldn’t be buying this either. So we’re left with:

Home Basic
Home Premium

Premium is essentially Basic plus shiny stuff. So we’ve collapsed it down to three choices.

Home Basic/Premium

Was that really that hard?



Your point would be valid if all those variation builds were available on the shelves for average consumers. Technically, there were only 4 for most consumers– Home, Professional, and then Media Center (Home with Media Extensions) and Tablet PC (Professional with Tablet Extensions) on those specific types of devices.

As such, it was essentially two choices, and it was incredibly obvious how to choose.

All the other variations were regionalized versions released waaaaay after the fact of lawsuits.


Why do we need a Netbook SKU when it’s been made clear on this site and many many others that W7 Ultimate works great? :)

I’ll second Richard’s thought that I wish they’d just stick with Home and Professional and be done with it.



Oh Dear, was hoping for the good old days – Home and Professional. Now it seems I will be sticking XP on my netbook for now, and will be looking at Ubuntu more closely, with a view to become more competent at do many things with it, Already I have followed Kevin and had a go at the Hackintosh – not bad, and quick considering. But Ubuntu looks like the most appealing with this win 7 news.


@TurtleWhisperer: No, I don’t remember a time when Microsoft only offered two different versions called Home and Professional.

Assuming that you are referring to XP, here are the different editions of that version that were available:

Media Center (2 versions)
Tablet PC Edition
Professional 64-bit
Volume License

The closest thing MS offered to your suggestion was Windows 2000 and Windows Me back in 2000.

I presume you didn’t find it too difficult to pick the version of XP that you wanted so you should find that it’s not too difficult to get the right version of Windows 7.


Paul Thurrot ( just posted an article about this. He showed: Home Basic (oem only, emerging markets), Home Premium (oem,retail,”standard version”),Professional (oem,retail), Enterpise (business license only), and Ultimate (retail,only occasionaly oem). So consumers select between Home Premium or Professional and geeks. . err .. tech enthusiest can get ultimate.


remember the days of 1 Home & 1 Pro?

now we have 3 versions of each…

Starter/Basic/Premium – Professional/Enterprise/Ultimate

not only do they never learn, they make it even worse. it’s astonishing that these people lead the world.


Well that’s a shame. I was looking forward to Win 7 on my mini 1000.


That Starter version limitations worry me. That might be what they’ll try to pitch to Netbook makers as the XP replacement. But given today’s horsepower and what not, 3 simultaneous apps is an artificial restriction. Unless, they also plan to replace WinCE and stick this on GPSs, set-top boxes, etc too. Hmmmm.

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