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Seven Longhorns will debut in May 2006
Contributed by: G3nu1n3, at 1/17/2005 10:18:00 PM.

You wait for one Microsoft operating system and then seven come along at once.

According to one Redmond watcher, the next version of the Windows operating system, Longhorn, will be ready for manufacturing in May 2006 and will ship to the public in seven different versions.

Paul Thurrott, who runs the SuperSite for Windows website, says the seven editions will each be designed to cater for a different Windows user market. The seven versions will include the Longhorn Home Edition, Longhorn Premium/Media Center Edition, Longhorn Professional Edition, Longhorn Small Business Edition and Longhorn Mobility/Tablet PC Edition.

At the other end of the scale, Redmond will be launching a Starter Edition: a stripped-down, lower-cost version of the operating system. It's a strategy that Gates and co have already been pursuing in several countries with Windows XP, including India.

New product editions

Though these plans could change, Microsoft is currently planning to ship an amazing array of product editions, or SKUs, in the Windows Longhorn family. These are the currently-scheduled versions that will ship in May 2006:

Longhorn Starter Edition
Analogous to Windows XP Starter Edition.

Longhorn Home Edition
Analogous to Windows XP Home Edition.

Longhorn Premium/Media Center Edition
A premium superset of Home Edition that includes the Media Center functionality. Similar to XP Media Center Edition.

Longhorn Professional Edition

Analogous to Windows XP Professional Edition.

Longhorn Small Business Edition
A new product edition aimed at the small business market. Currently very similar to Professional Edition.

Longhorn Mobility/Tablet PC Edition
Analogous to Windows XP Tablet PC Edition.

Longhorn "Uber" Edition
A new product edition that bridges the consumer and business versions and includes all of the features from the Home, Premium, Pro, Small Business, and Tablet PC Editions (but not Starter Edition).

None of these product names are final, of course, and all versions except Starter Edition will ship in both 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) variants.

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