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Windows Vista to be available in six flavours

Or is it?

Over the weekend, Microsoft revealed the six editions into which it plans to package Windows Vista – only to remove the information from its website a day later, and deny that it has yet made a final decision.

Information posted on the Microsoft website revealed that the company was planning six basic editions of Vista, plus two more 'N' versions, which don't bundle Windows Media Player, in compliance with EU antitrust sanctions.

Two of the editions correspond roughly to Windows XP Home Edition and XP Pro, with an extra Home edition bundling Media Center features, two more enterprise-oriented editions with extra features and a stripped-down version without Vista's graphics or 64bit capabilities.

Yesterday Microsoft said the information was "incomplete" and had been posted prematurely, "for testing purposes".

According to the removed information, Windows Starter 2007 is the most basic version, doesn't use the Vista branding because it doesn't include Vista's Aero graphics system and will only ship in a 32bit version. This may correspond to the currently offered Windows XP Starter Edition, which sells more cheaply than other versions of XP, and is aimed at developing countries.

Windows Vista Home Basic is aimed at single-PC homes and is the most basic version of Vista. Home Basic N is the same, but without Media Player. Vista Home Premium adds Media Center and Media Center Extender functionality, including support for Cable Card.

Windows Vista Business is the most basic professional edition, with Business N removing Media Player. Vista Enterprise adds features such as Virtual PC, multi-language user interface and 'Cornerstone' technologies: Secure Startup and full volume encryption. Vista Ultimate adds still more, as yet undisclosed features.

Microsoft had previously said it would create an Enterprise edition specifically for subscribers to its unpopular Software Assurance licensing plan. The company also previously said it would roll Media Center features into other editions.

Industry watchers have also expected the company to offer a version aimed at small businesses, something omitted from the briefly published lineup. Vista is due to hit the market towards the end of the year.

This story first appeared on Techworld.com.


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