Windows 8 May Have Fewer SKUs Than Windows 7, Vista

Documents made available on HP's web site -- which have since been modified -- revealed six Windows 8 "client" SKUs. The documents, discovered by ZDNet, were revision notes for the Alcor Micro Smart Card Reader Driver which listed the SKUs in the "operating system(s)" section. Currently it's unknown if the SKUs were merely document fillers, or the real deal, but it's assumed that HP would likely have the SKU information at this point.

According to the documents, the six versions will be as follows:

Microsoft Windows 8 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 8 64 Edition
Microsoft Windows 8 Enterprise 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 8 Enterprise 64 Edition
Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 64 Edition

Additional snooping through Microsoft's website unearthed several documents that back up the listed SKUs. For the Windows 8 Beta SKUs, the name of the product will be used, meaning for Windows 8 Enterprise, the string "Windows 8 Enterprise" is used. The same scheme applies for the Windows Server 8 Beta SKUs: for Windows Server 8 Enterprise, the string "Windows Server 8 Enterprise" is used.

As reported earlier, Windows 8 will arrive in four versions: Windows 8 Server x64, Windows 8 Client ARM, Windows 8 Client x64, and Windows 8 Client x86. All Windows 8 systems targeted for client SKUs are required to support a graphics mode via UEFI GOP, Microsoft states. Windows on ARM will not be available for general consumption at retail -- it will only appear pre-installed on ARM-based devices.

Previously with Windows Vista, Microsoft shipped eleven different versions: Starter (32-bit only), Home Basic (32-bit, 64-bit), Home Premium (32-bit, 64-bit), Business (32-bit, 64-bit), Enterprise (32-bit, 64-bit) and Ultimate (32-bit, 64-bit). Windows 7, on the other hand, initially came with six different SKUs including Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. And while there are arguments that Microsoft should adopt a single-SKU approach for Windows releases, a choice of six is still by far a lot easier for the general consumer to figure out than eleven.

"It is early to start the dialogue about a preference for one SKU with Windows," Steven Sinofsky said back in September 2011. "We’re well aware of this feedback and we always need to balance it with the feedback from our business partners who value a different approach. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Interestingly, the feedback about Media Center was predominantly “we will pay extra, just include it” based on the input directly to me. Today Media Center is part of 'premium' SKUs for Windows, which means that is the case today."

Windows 8 x86/x64 isn't slated to launch until later this year. Recent reports indicate that Microsoft is pushing to launch Windows on ARM in the same time-frame, but there are concerns that it may be pushed back and released after the x86/x64 versions.

  • SteelCity1981
    they would even have less SKU's if they got rid of the 32bit Editions. I mean, there is really no point in 32bit Editions anymore. CPU's have been 64bit in the mainstream market for the last 7 years now since AMD's Socket 754 Athlon 64's and Intel's LGA775 Pentium 4 5x1 series. The vast majority of software supports 64bit now, It's time to move on. By continuing to support 32bit, all that days is continue to hold back 64bits full potential.
  • belardo
    There are some cost and performance advantages of 32bit. Win7 isn't the memory hog of vista, so for most people - 64bit and 5+ GB of RAM is severe overkill. Yes 8GB of RAM costs about $30~40 nowadays... but most people won't and don't user it. I do web work, video encoding, photoshop, etc a lot of it at the same time and my Win7 systems very rarely ever runs out of RAM. Only Supreme Commander can wipe out my 4GB on large maps. I'll admit that when I upgrade to Ivy Bridge from my old Core2 - I will most likely go 64bit Win7 with no hurry to move to Win8. But I will be sticking Win8 Preview on one of my test systems and see how it runs... so I may change my mind later... perhaps upgrading later and using Win8Beta. (I used Win7beta as my main OS for months after RTM)

    There are still some devices, odd-ball stuff out there that DOES NOT work with 64bit OS. Some older games totally bomb with 64bit as well.

  • andy5174
    Home vs Pro vs Pro VLK
  • belardo
    I am so glad that MS listens to me (yeah, right)... It was always STUPID to have Win7 basic Home and Premium Home. It was confusing... they could have simply have Basic, Home, Pro, Ultimate.

    It seems that MS is merging Basic/premium into "Windows 8" and Pro/Ultimate into "Windows 8 Pro". This is great! The only features I want out of Ultimate are the language packs so when visiting sites NOT in the USA, you don't see garbage! Overall Win7Pro handled everything most people needed with Ultimate being a big jump in price with so little to offer.

    Looking at online PC purchases, even $350 crapbooks from HP include 4GB RAM with Win7Home premo 64bit... So we can conclude that everything that is name brand will be 64bit be default. I cant see Win9 supporting 32bit. Other than a few straggling programs, there is no need for 32bit versions... and for some companies, that is a hard pill to swallow (But why are they wanting to use Win8 with old software?).

    I also guess that MS discovered that pretty much NOBODY ever used MS's stupid upgrade system (built in or gift-card). Sometimes DL upgrades / full purchases suck... An EX stupidly bought Win7 Download rather than buy the stupid disc... headaches.
    And the point of a 32-bit OS nowadays is...?
  • apache_lives
    if i remember correctly 32-bit came out late 80's early 90's - WHY YOU STILL HERE 32
  • ethaniel
    I'll probably sound crazy, but I just want a real, true, 100-percent, "win98se like" customized install. I want to choose the components manually.
  • Filiprino
    Why still 32 bit Windows 8?
  • apache_lives
    ethanielI'll probably sound crazy, but I just want a real, true, 100-percent, "win98se like" customized install. I want to choose the components manually.
    to save a couple mb of space? pffftt
  • apache_lives
    JOSHSKORNAnd the point of a 32-bit OS nowadays is...?
    the rock i live under only supports 32bit?