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Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Variants

Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Variants

Microsoft revealed the six variants in which its next operating system, Windows 10, will ship in. The company decided to unify the Windows 10 brand across its PC, workstation, and handheld platforms. For PCs, workstations, and tablets running x86 processors, the lineup will include the Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Education, and Windows 10 Enterprise.

Windows 10 Home has everything a home and small-business user could ask for (including PC gamers and enthusiasts). It will include the Edge web-browser (so your post-install waltz to Chrome or Firefox websites is a few seconds faster), Microsoft Cortana voice-based assistant, richer Bing integration, Microsoft Hello face-recognition software, and support for biometric login methods. Gamers get DirectX 12 out of the box. Users of Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 8/8.1 get a free upgrade to this edition.


Windows 10 Pro adds features for power-users, such as advanced data protection, remote- and mobile-access, additional cloud features, and remote management for medium-sized businesses. Users of Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Windows 8/8.1 Pro get a free upgrade to this edition.

Windows 10 Education is a brand new SKU designed for schools, colleges, and universities. It will come with features to meed the needs of educators (teachers, management, exam-controllers, computer labs, etc.,). This edition will be sold through specially priced volume licensing to entire counties, groups of institutions, and universities.

Windows 10 Enterprise will be designed for desktops and workstations in a very-large enterprise environment, in which individual machines are expendable, and user data is centralized and portable between machines. It will come with advanced networking, data-security, and remote management features.

In addition, Microsoft is readying two variants of its operating system for smartphones and tablets – Windows 10 Mobile, and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise. Windows 10 Mobile will be targeted at consumer smartphones, and will have a rich feature-set for communication, social-networking, and productivity; while Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise will be designed for devices given by companies to their employees, with access to privileged information and services.

Unfortunately, and breaking tradition, Microsoft didn’t disclose box-art, marking Windows’ transition from optical disc media, to one that’s distributed by any which way possible, while Microsoft only sells licenses (keys). The company already gives away ISO disc images and USB flash drive install media creation tools for Windows 8.1 on its website; while selling licenses.

Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro, will be offered as free-forever upgrades to users of equivalent variants of Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1, if they upgrade within the first year of Windows 10 launch. Those using pirated Windows 7 may find the upgrade “free,” but Microsoft has a slew of anti-piracy measures in store, which kick in after the upgrade.

Microsoft could dramatically change the way it monetizes Windows, in the near future. Gone will be the static $100-ish licenses, and the company will sell Windows as a service, much like Office 365. You choose your desired variant, and pay for using it, monthly or annually. We imagine unpaid installations suffering a worse fate than merely not getting software updates – the OS could become unusable after a “grace period,” until you pay up.

On the upside, the monthly or annual fees for each edition could end up quite cheap. Also, the version will no longer be relevant. Microsoft will keep adding big new features every so often (which you normally expect from new versions that require you to buy new licenses). Windows will sell a lot like Office 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud.

Windows 10 will be released in July, in 111 languages, and in 190 countries.

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1 Comment

  1. If they indeed go to a pay as you go scheme, that will be the end for Windows for me.

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