A common complaint of both Windows promoters and detractors is the overwhelming number of versions, or editions, on the market. The sheer number of SKUs can be maddening, and quite frankly, confusing for consumers.
Many people - myself included - had hoped Microsoft would do away with all of the editions, and only have one. Admittedly, having one edition was a pipe-dream, but with all the good moves the company is making lately, I thought two or three editions was realistic.
Unfortunately, Microsoft has announced the upcoming editions of Windows 10 and there are a lot. In fact, the number of editions have increased from Windows 8!
"We designed Windows 10 to deliver a more personal computing experience across a range of devices. An experience optimized for each device type, but familiar to all. Windows 10 will power an incredibly broad range of devices - everything from PCs, tablets, phones, Xbox One, Microsoft HoloLens and Surface Hub", says Tony Prophet, Corporate Vice President Windows and Search Marketing, Microsoft.
Prophet also explains, "it will also power the world around us, core to devices making up the Internet of Things, everything from elevators to ATMs to heart rate monitors to wearables. No matter which Windows 10 device our customers use, the experience will feel comfortable, and there will be a single, universal Windows Store where they can find, try and buy Universal Windows apps".
Microsoft shares the following editions, and the list is quite exhaustive.
Windows 10 Home
The consumer-focused desktop edition. It offers a familiar and personal experience for PCs, tablets and 2-in-1s. Windows 10 Home will help people do great things, both big and small.
With it, they will be more productive and have more fun thanks to a long list of new innovations: Cortana, the world’s most personal digital assistant; the new Microsoft Edge web browser; Continuum tablet mode for touch-capable devices; Windows Hello face-recognition, iris and fingerprint login; and right out of the box, a broad range of universal Windows apps like Photos, Maps, Mail, Calendar, Music and Video.
Windows 10 Mobile
Designed to deliver the best user experience on smaller, mobile, touch-centric devices like smartphones and small tablets. It boasts the same, new universal Windows apps that are included in Windows 10 Home, as well as the new touch-optimised version of Office.
Windows 10 Mobile offers great productivity, security and management capabilities for customers who use their personal devices at work. In addition, Windows 10 Mobile will enable some new devices to take advantage of Continuum for phone, so people can use their phone like a PC when connected to a larger screen.
Windows 10 Pro
A desktop edition for PCs, tablets and 2-in-1s. Building upon both the familiar and innovative features of Windows 10 Home, it has many extra features to meet the diverse needs of small businesses. Windows 10 Pro helps to effectively and efficiently manage their devices and apps, protect their sensitive business data, support remote and mobile productivity scenarios and take advantage of cloud technologies.
Windows 10 Pro devices are a great choice for organisations supporting Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) programs and prosumer customers. Windows 10 Pro also lets customers take advantage of the new Windows Update for Business, which will reduce management costs, provide controls over update deployment, offer quicker access to security updates and provide access to the latest innovation from Microsoft on an ongoing basis.
Windows 10 Enterprise
Builds on Windows 10 Pro, adding advanced features designed to meet the demands of medium and large sized organisations. It provides advanced capabilities to help protect against the ever-growing range of modern security threats targeted at devices, identities, applications and sensitive company information.
Windows 10 Enterprise also supports the broadest range of options for operating system deployment and comprehensive device and app management. It will be available to our Volume Licensing customers, so they can take advantage of the latest innovation and security updates on an ongoing basis. At the same time, they will be able to choose the pace at which they adopt new technology, including the option to use the new Windows Update for Business.
With Windows 10, Enterprise customers will also have access to the Long Term Servicing Branch as a deployment option for their mission critical devices and environments. And as with prior versions of Windows, Active Software Assurance customers in Volume Licensing can upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise as part of their existing Software Assurance benefits.
Windows 10 Education
Builds on Windows 10 Enterprise, and is designed to meet the needs of schools - staff, administrators, teachers and students. This edition will be available through academic Volume Licensing, and there will be paths for schools and students using Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro devices to upgrade to Windows 10 Education.
Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise
Designed to deliver the best customer experience to business customers on smartphones and small tablets. It will be available to our Volume Licensing customers. It offers the great productivity, security and mobile device management capabilities that Windows 10 Mobile provides, and adds flexible ways for businesses to manage updates.
In addition, Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise will incorporate the latest security and innovation features as soon as they are available.
There will also be versions of Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise for industry devices like ATMs, retail point of sale, handheld terminals and industrial robotics and Windows 10 IoT Core for small footprint, low cost devices.
Phew. From my count, there will be six major editions, with others coming for specific industries. By comparison, Windows 8 had only 4 including the now-dead RT - five if you include Windows Phone.
While choice is always a good thing, I am a bit disappointed that Microsoft did not listen to its customers in this regard. Do we really need a special version for Education? C'est la vie!
Do you think Microsoft has too many editions of Windows 10, or are more options a good thing? Tell me in the comments.