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Monday, February 27, 2006
Vista: Six Versions not Eight

Microsoft officially revealed on Sunday the product lineup of the upcoming Windows Vista operating system which is to come in six versions later this year.

The Vista product lineup will consist two versions for businesses, three for consumers, and one for emerging markets. The number of offerings is the same as the number of offerings currently available for Windows XP. The lineup is aimed at bringing 64-bit, Media Center and Tablet PC functionality into the mainstream.

Last weekend, Microsoft had posted information on Windows Vista and had removed it a day later. According to the removed information , Windows upcoming system was to come in eight versions because two additional "N" versions that did not include Windows Media Player were to be released, but Microsoft later denied this information posted "prematurely", it said.

According to Microsoft's official release two business versions will be introduced: the Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Enterprise. Windows Vista Business will provide a new user interface, named Windows Aero, designed to deliver navigation improvements. Windows Vista Business will facilitate the management of huge volumes of business documents.

Windows Vista Enterprise. is designed to significantly lower IT costs and risk. In addition to all the features available in Windows Vista Business, the Vista Enterprise edition is designed to provide higher levels of data protection using hardware-based encryption technology. It will also include tools to improve application compatibility.

Some of the specific Windows Vista Enterprise features include the Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption that helps prevent sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands if a computer is lost or stolen. Thios version also includes Virtual PC Express is one of several built-in tools that improve application compatibility with previous versions of Microsoft operating systems. It also offers a Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications that enables users to run UNIX applications unchanged on a Windows Vista Enterprise-based PC. The new user interface Windows Aero is also available in this edition of Windows Vista.

Consumers will be able to choose amongst three versions for the home PC user: the Windows Vista Home Basic, the Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Ultimate.

The Windows Vista Home Basic edition is designed for consumers who want to simply use the PC to browse the Internet, correspond with friends and family through e-mail or perform basic document creation and editing tasks

. The Windows Vista Home Premium includes everything in Windows Vista Home Basic, along with additional features and enhancements such as the new user interface Windows Aero, a search throughout feature the operating system, Windows Media Center and finally Windows Tablet PC technology, which enables interaction with the PC with a digital pen or fingertip instead of a keyboard.

The third edition for home users, the Windows Vista Ultimate is the operating system that brings together all the entertainment features, mobility features and business-oriented features available in Windows Vista.

All new versions will be available for either 32-bit or 64-bit systems, depending on the needs of the customer. Windows Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate and Business will be available as a full-packaged product at retail and on new PCs. Windows Vista Enterprise will be offered only to business customers participating in Microsoft?s Software Assurance program.

Microsoft will also offer Windows Vista Starter in emerging markets. Windows Vista Starter is designed to empower families and entry-level PC users in these markets. A 32-bit operating system designed specifically for lower-cost computers, Windows Vista Starter will be an entry point to the Windows Vista family of products.

All versions of Windows Vista are scheduled to be broadly available in the second half of 2006.

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