Monday, February 27, 2006

News Flash: Microsoft Does Something, People Gripe!

Hey everybody, it seems that Microsoft has released the lineup for their new OS, Vista. We've got 8 "flavours." People everywhere are griping about how Microsoft is ripping people off and confusing customers with all of these different editions. So you know what I'm talking about, here's a rundown of the 8 editions:

The ones that most people will ignore:
1. Windows Starter 2007 - for developing nations, I'm not kidding.
2. Windows Vista Home Basic N - "N" edition is for Europe, doesn't have media player. Sales of XP N edition have proven that no one will buy this.
3. Windows Vista Business N - see above, but for businesses.

The ones businesses will want:
4. Windows Vista Business - Has usual array of configuration and permissions tools for businesses
5. Windows Vista Enterprise - Like business, but has fancy things like encryption and UNIX app compatibility.

The ones that real, actual consumers will care a about:
6. Windows Vista Home Basic - A trimmed down version for people who want the upgrade, but don't have lot of money or a fancy computer.
7. Windows Vista Home Premium - All the fancy bits that the majority of people who will care about upgrading will want, including media center and tablet functionality.
8. Windows Vista Ultimate - This is everything in one. It's got all the fancy bits from all the different editions we care about (though I'm unsure if the Enterprise parts will be there).

As you can see, there's only 3 editions that people will even bother to look at. Now, your average consumer doesn't bother actually upgrading their OS: they buy a new computer. I can see 90% of new computers being shipping with Home Premium, since it'll have the new Aero interface everyone is so excited about. Customers won't have to choose, it'll just be there. For those who want to upgrade, their choices really aren't any different than they are now. For some, they will actually have an easier time choosing.

To explain, here's what Microsoft currenty offers for people:

Windows XP Home
Windows XP Media Center Edition
Windows XP Tablet Edition
Windows XP Professional

Wait, is that FOUR?! So it is. And to make matters worse, if you desire the Media Center functionality, you would currently have to sacrifice the luxuries of Professional edition. Microsoft has combined MCE and Tablet into their Vista Home Premium edition, and if you want to add Pro features to it, you get Vista Ultimate.

So now consumers' decisions are clear: do they care about Media Center functionality or tablet functionality? If not, buy Home Basic. Do they care about having fancy permissions and remote entry to their computer? If not, buy Home Premium. If they want it all, just buy Ultimate.

Why is everyone griping?

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