Microsoft to offer six Vista flavours

Microsoft has announced plans to offer six versions of its upcoming Windows Vista operating system (OS), which is expected to launch at the end of this year.

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By  Cleona Godinho Published  February 28, 2006

Microsoft has announced plans to offer six versions of its upcoming Windows Vista operating system (OS). The OS is expected to launch at the end of this year. “The PC needs to give people the clarity and confidence to handle this ‘world of more’ so they can focus on what’s most important to them,” stated Mike Sievert, corporate vice president of Windows Product Management at Microsoft. “With our Windows Vista product line, we’ve streamlined and tailored our product line-up to provide what our customers want for today’s computing needs.” The first offering on Microsoft’s menu is the 32-bit version of Vista known as Windows Vista Starter. This will be able to run only a limited number of programs at a time and according to Microsoft, this version will only be sold on new PCs in ‘emerging markets’ such as India and Thailand. Microsoft’s next version is Vista Home Basic, which is similar to the current Windows XP Home Edition. This version offers the new security and search capabilities of Vista, however doesn’t support media support or “glass” graphics that are part of Vista’s Aero user interface. The third option is Vista Home Premium - a higher-end option for consumers, which adds support for Vista's new graphics as well as Media Center and Tablet PC features. Windows Media Center and Tablet PC were previously separate editions of Windows XP. The next in line is Vista Business, which is similar to XP Professional. Although this version caters to mainly larger businesses, Microsoft revealed that this version will also include a number of small business features, including advanced backup and additional tutorials. If businesses decide to sign a volume licensing deal, Microsoft also offers an Enterprise version of Vista, which includes all of the features of Vista Business, with the addition of Bitlocker - an encryption feature, Unix services and virtual machine capabilities. Bit locker is also present in the firm’s Vista Ultimate, which blends all the features of Vista Business and Home Premium into one package and is aimed at users who use the same PC at work and at home. Besides Vista Starter, all other versions of Vista will be capable of running 32 and 64-bit software. Pricing is as yet unknown, though according to online reports, Vista Business will be priced closely to Windows XP Professional. Likewise, Vista Home is expected to boast a similar price tag to Windows XP Home Edition.

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