There Should Be Only One Windows 10 Product Edition

Posted on June 5, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 90 Comments

There Should Be Only One Windows 10 Product Edition

A recent leak suggests that Microsoft is about to add yet another Windows 10 product edition to an already crowded lineup. Microsoft, stop the insanity. This is one area where Apple does it right. And you do not.

As you may know, most Microsoft has long offered multiple Windows product editions, each with its own dubious and arbitrary list of features. This firm adds this complexity and confusion because it has had success charging customers more for the editions that include more features. The tactic was so successful, in fact, that the Office team copied this strategy as well.

But this strategy never made sense for customers. And it has led to some of the more embarrassing moments in Windows history, like the stripper OS called Windows Starter Edition and the terrible “Aero Basic” user interface inflicted on users of Windows Vista Home Basic.

Today, most individuals only have to contend with two Windows 10 product editions: Home and Pro. These are differentiated in the most haphazard of ways, with Pro picking up features that make the most sense in businesses, not with professionals. But there are other Windows 10 product editions too, of course.

For example, Windows 10 Enterprise is a superset of Windows 10 Pro and it is available to Volume Licensing customers only; the biggest benefit, really, is that these customers have greater control over how and when updates are applied. And Windows 10 Education, confusingly, is aimed at teachers, students, and school staff and administrators, and it, too, is only available through volume licensing.

Then, last month, Microsoft finally announced Windows 10 S, a product edition that started life as Windows 10 Cloud, and is aimed at people who don’t actually want to run any of the applications that make Windows popular. Instead, it will run only Store apps.

(And let’s not forget about the N variants of most of these product editions, which drops support for legacy media functionality. On second thought, let’s forget about the N variants of most of these product editions.)

This product lineup is already too complex and pointlessly confusing. So Microsoft, obviously, is going to make it even more complex and confusing by adding yet another product edition.

Called Windows 10 Pro for Advanced PCs (or Windows 10 Pro for Workstation, depending on which leaked Microsoft documentation you read), this stupid new thing is optimized for compute and graphics intensive workloads. There will be an N variant, of course, because why not.

Here’s my advice.

Drop the product editions and ship a single thing called, wait for it, Windows 10. Differentiate the capabilities via licensing, which will unlock enterprise-specific functionality for the businesses that are paying more. Too simple?

And since this is 2017 and I can already hear the idiots revving up to defend this situation despite the fact that it benefits exactly zero human beings including themselves, just stop. Windows 10 isn’t a growth machine, it’s a legacy business that needs to be made simpler, not more complex, in order to slow the decline. Adding product editions now simply reminds customers how out of touch this strategy is with today’s mobile first, cloud first world. And this will hasten, not slow, the move away from traditional PCs.

In other words, don’t defend the indefensible. This is stupid. Period.

 

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Comments (91)

91 responses to “There Should Be Only One Windows 10 Product Edition”

  1. Avatar

    Vidua

    I get Paul that you don't like enterprise stuff but you really should get some perspective from Brad and Mary Jo about this.


    The only SKU that needs to be killed is Home, replaced by Windows 10 S.


    They can add however many they need at the high-end though, as people who do research will be buying those and it's a non-issue to have multiple SKUs. Also, I don't want cost of developing workstations features to be offset on me, on my gaming rig, portable tablet and business laptop because you couldn't handle SKU that doesn't apply to you and isn't even exposed to you in any way when acquiring Windows 10 license.

    • Avatar

      Atoqir

      In reply to Vidua:

      Replacing Windows Home with it's amazing win32 support with Windows S with only shitty UWP toy apps or converted win32 apps is plain stupidity. If it is a viable alternative it would be okay. With the current horrendous Store ecosystem situation it's plain nonsense to push such a restrictive Windows version.

      • Avatar

        siko

        In reply to Atoqir:

        10S does run win32 apps - distributed through the store.

        It's an easy thing to get your app in the store as a developer. Complain to your developers.

        • Avatar

          hrlngrv

          In reply to siko:

          FWLIW, my wife uses a shareware knitting pattern editing program last updated a decade ago. The developer is definitely no longer in business, and may be dead for all I know. That's not going into the store.

          Windows 10 S isn't a reasonable alternative for anyone who's been using PCs for a decade or more and has amassed a collection of oddball Win32 programs. A Linux host and a Windows XP VM with no networking might become a superior alternative to Windows 10 S. I suspect MSFT would want to avoid that.

          For me, I use AutoIt, which can and does work on Home (XP through 10), but even if were put in a Centennial package and distributed through the Windows Store, it'd no longer work because 'security' would prevent it from automating software in different containers. IOW, Windows 10 S eliminates the possibility of 3rd party system utilities.

          • Avatar

            siko

            In reply to hrlngrv:

            Check your facts. Of course, you need developer style access to your windows installation, upgrade to Pro... If you need some old app that can't be made into a store installer, well, I was always able to find more modern apps to fill the gap.


            Again, MOST users will want a safer environment, and developers with genuine interest in their users will repackage/rewrite for windows modern /store...

            • Avatar

              skane2600

              In reply to siko:

              Most users have no understanding that store apps are safer. That sales pitch is really directed to developers as well as the easy installation and clean uninstall pitch.


              Developers with a genuine interest in their users evaluate which directions their USERS are going in, not what direction MS wants them to go in.

            • Avatar

              hrlngrv

              In reply to siko:

              . . . If you need some old app that can't be made into a store installer, well, I was always able to find more modern apps to fill the gap. . . .

              Go check what's available in the Windows Store for knitting patterns. It won't take much time.

              If most users are concerned most about safety, they'd use Windows in VMs with 3 generation backups of the VM's virtual drives.

        • Avatar

          skane2600

          In reply to siko:

          Maybe MS should use that in their advertising of Windows S: "You can't find an app you need in the store? Complain to your developers". /s

          • Avatar

            siko

            In reply to skane2600:

            You can't find your app? We tried to give you the safest and fastest app platform in the world, but developers liked bashing us and fleed to the iOS and Android stores... Buy a phone and sell your laptop..... whatever

            • Avatar

              skane2600

              In reply to siko:

              Not many developers "fled" from developing Windows Store apps, they were never there in the first place. No need to sell a laptop, the traditional Windows platform is still the leader in productivity programs.

        • Avatar

          Atoqir

          In reply to siko:

          I am a developer. I wouldn't convert anything to help Windows S. We will see what other developers think. If it is the same as UWP nothing will change.

          • Avatar

            siko

            In reply to Atoqir:

            10S is helping end users (implementing the same model as on iOS and Android)... So you are against providing your users a safer choice... ok, what is it you're developing? Let me put that on my black list. Geesh.

        • Avatar

          BoItmanLives

          In reply to siko:

          "An easy thing" lol. Many Developers are philosophically opposed to creating anything for the terrible windows store, because it's trying to be a store for all the wrong reasons. This is what MS can't seem to grasp.

          But then MS isnt serious about it's own store either, based on their anemic first party offerings and lack of full featured UWP apps.

    • Avatar

      rameshthanikodi

      In reply to Vidua:

      No. Home users still need and depend on Win32 apps not from the store. Windows 10 S is really only suitable for what it was intended for: the education market. Don't suggest otherwise

      • Avatar

        CaedenV

        In reply to rameshthanikodi:

        no, not suitable at all for the education market. We need Pro and Chrome so we can bring ChromeOS features to Windows, and install heftier content creation software than is available in the store. S Sucks, and is only good for grandma and grandpa who want to do basic tasks and games and don't want to learn ChromeOS or iOS. Everyone else needs Pro, and Pro should cost a flat fee of $50 instead of 139

      • Avatar

        SvenJ

        In reply to rameshthanikodi: Like what? Visio, Project, Adobe Creative Suite, Access, Visual Studio? Maybe we have a different concept of 'Home' user. Home users use mail, browsers, search engines, games, word, pdf reader, maybe excel, some photo management, all perfectly supported with store apps. If you are doing some of those more sophisticated things at home, buy Pro, or upgrade S to Pro.


        • Avatar

          JaviAl

          In reply to SvenJ:

          Home users use mail, vast mayority uses GMail; browsers, vast mayority use Chrome and no one use Edge; search engine, vast mayority use Google and no one use Bing; word, pdf reader, excel, photo management, all of this are Win32 applications, and Win32 games, no one use Windows Store Games. So Win10 S has nothing to do in any market.

        • Avatar

          hrlngrv

          In reply to SvenJ:

          Home users either shouldn't be allowed to use Google Chrome (or Firefox, Opera, . . .) as their browser or should spend more for Pro to be able to do so?

          Home users shouldn't be allowed to use HTPC software not sold through the store?

          Home users shouldn't be allowed to use any children's software not sold through the store?

          More specifically, home users shouldn't be allowed to do anything more than you say they should?

        • Avatar

          skane2600

          In reply to SvenJ:

          "Visio, Project, Adobe Creative Suite, Access, Visual Studio"

          Which of these programs requires Windows Pro? I'll give you the answer: none.

          If you want to pretend that people using Windows Home don't use these applications, feel free.


    • Avatar

      Bart

      In reply to Vidua:

      I agree whole heartedly. Anyone that needs Win32 apps, just upgrade to Pro. End of.

    • Avatar

      gohanix

      In reply to Vidua:

      i agree with that. heck i'd go a step further and say MS should make (not force) windows 10 S available for free upgrade for everyone who isn't on windows 10 already (this includes XP people).


      this should add incentive for UWP development. maybe.

    • Avatar

      John Jackson

      In reply to Vidua:

      "The only SKU that needs to be killed is Home, replaced by Windows 10 S."

      No.

      One version.

      There is already a flag -STORE_APPS_ONLY ...

      ... should one wish to restrict the device for safety reasons, even though it is far more capable.

      With a user-scope flag a device could present restricted functionality to one user ... and be used to its fulll capacity for a more demanding user.

      Options. Choice. Not NASDAQ:MSFT's speciality :-(

  2. Avatar

    Narg

    I personally think 2 versions of the desktop Windows are enough. A lighter "consumer" version (i.e. Home, though a better name would help.) and a very robust professional/business version. The lighter version should be free IMHO.

    Of course this "free" version should be feature thin. Which could be a boon to the Microsoft Store, if they'd open up to providing more 3rd party support for various programs to provide features and tools for users. Android did this fantastically! iOS did not, and Microsoft's store seems to be following Apple's store idea more than Google's. Big mistake.

    • Avatar

      wright_is

      In reply to Narg:

      Yes and no... I would prefer Professional to be the entry point, with Enterprise / Educational being the upgraded version for volume licensees. 9 out of 10 time that I look for a new PC, the hardware I want only comes with "Home" or standard versions of Windows and I need to install Professional, before I can use the PC.

      Either the user should be able to chose between standard and professional when the PC is first turned on, or Professional should be the standard version.


      That said, I can see the point of "S" as a show case for the way Windows is supposed to be moving, although I think the availability of apps needs a swift kick in the rear, if this isn't to end up like RT. "S" is the way Windows should go in the future, I agree with Mircosoft on that, the legacy cruft needs to be slowly sidelined to a VM or Docker container, but the Store Eco-system and the flexibility of the "new" Windows is not quite there yet.

  3. Avatar

    skane2600

    "I can already hear the idiots ..."


    We are men of intellect. Insults do not become us.

  4. Avatar

    Darekmeridian

    I am wondering if this isn't some kind of test balloon the marketing department is leaking out for reaction. All the features are already in the current version of Windows but if you can slap another name on it and charge a little more for it and sell it to businesses somewhere between small business and large enterprise then why not? It all just sucks across the board.



  5. Avatar

    wright_is

    I have been saying, since XP was released, that they should just call the Professional version standard and you get Enterprise on volume licensing.

    I always want the Pro version, but 9 out of 10 times, the PC I buy only comes with standard, so I have to calculate another 120€ into the purchase price, for the Professional license. Why not let me buy the damned thing with the OS I want/need? Why bother with all of this ridiculousness?

    I can understand why they now want "S", this is the showcase for what Windows should be in the future, although they need to get their act together fast, if this isn't to go the same way as RT. But the differentiation between Standard / Home and Professional is silly.

    I have bought half a dozen notebooks at work for users who need a large screen and high end graphics in a, relatively, cheap system - we ended up going with Asus 17" gaming notebooks, because they see a lot of abuse and the workstation HPs with 17" displays and Quadro graphics are too much for what we need.

    But that meant buying 6 Asus notebook, 6 Windows 10 Professional licenses and the time to upgrade them all, just because we couldn't buy them pre-configured with Professional for connection to our domain...

  6. Avatar

    MikeGalos

    Let's compare:

    macOS runs on 6 computer models from 1 vendor with limited backward support

    Windows 10 runs on tens of thousands of computer models from hundreds of vendors with a decade of backward support.

    Yeah, one version is probably plenty for a proprietary in-house OS supporting one hardware vendor, not so much for a real OS supporting the rest of the world.

    • Avatar

      CaedenV

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      what is your point here? Just about any version of windows will run on just about any hardware. There is little to no point to having 100 flavors of the same base OS floating around.

      Also, OSX runs just fine on pcs in the 'wild' just like Windows does. "Parts is parts" and for the most part, if you are running on Intel, then almost any OS will run just fine.

  7. Avatar

    euskalzabe

    Yup. Why can't I encrypt my $800 laptop hard drive? Ah, right, cos it comes with Windows Home and not Pro. Meanwhile my $99 Android phone, still on 5.1, perfectly encrypts its data. I guess if a thief tries to steal my bag, s/he'll only take the phone and respectfully leave my laptop untouched.

  8. Avatar

    Martin Pelletier

    "Called Windows 10 Pro for Advanced PCs (or Windows 10 Pro for Workstation, depending on which leaked Microsoft documentation you read), this stupid new thing is optimized for compute and graphics intensive workloads. There will be an N variant, of course, because why not."


    Would that be good for gamers?


    Paul, I got an idea, let's add another one called Gamers esition :) Plus the "N" version of course :)

    • Avatar

      wright_is

      In reply to Martin Pelletier:

      Probably not, it wil be aimed at devices running Xeon processors, ECC RAM AMD FireGL or nVidia Quadro graphics, and most probably nVidia Tesla compute cards etc. None of those bring much for gaming - in fact, whilst the graphics cards run rings around GeForce and Radeon when using OpenGL and OpenCL for business applications, they are often slower than the gaming cards when using DirectX.

    • Avatar

      Narg

      In reply to Martin Pelletier:

      Games that are written well do not rely on the OS. Any good game could and should run on any version of Windows (or MacOS or whatever, no excuses...)

      • Avatar

        hrlngrv

        In reply to Narg:

        You mean it wouldn't be a good idea for any good games to exploit the latest DirectX? Or am I under an mistaken impression that Windows 7 can't use DirectX 12? Or do you mean good games should target the latest DirectX version supported by the oldest Windows version in extended support?

  9. Avatar

    ncn

    It's obvious "one size fits all" doesn't apply to hardware ... why should it apply to software?

  10. Avatar

    TheJoeFin

    So if consumers' PC needs have plateaued (ram, CPU, storage) should Microsoft continue making all versions of Windows compatible with all and every hardware scenario? Could the argument be made that if Microsoft broke Windows into device family specific SKUs they could make it more performant for every type of user?

  11. Avatar

    2ilent8cho

    This is one area that has really annoyed me since they introduced Home with XP. It did not need Home and Pro.


    Go back to NT days, NT Server & NT Workstation, that is it. Don't need domain join ? Just don't ever use that option, don't need a Home edition with it taken out.


    and yes this is from a perspective of a business customer with Volume Licensing Agreements, its just bonkers, no more SKU's!!! Take them all away, and leave just 1.

  12. Avatar

    skane2600

    I fail to see how a post-install licensing process is simpler for the user than just making it obvious what they are buying from the start. A true single version would require that ALL features of the OS are included at the start.


    The problem with Windows S is that it doesn't make it obvious that it isn't really Windows. It should be called Windows degraded edition or something.

    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to skane2600:

      . . . A true single version would require that ALL features of the OS are included at the start. . . .

      Not necessarily. Part of the lovely first login is downloading and installing updates. Would that take noticeably longer if it also downloaded and installed optional components the user selects during first login configuration?

  13. Avatar

    North of 49th

    My take as a consumer is that if there is a more resilient file system, could I have that? Why bother supporting two file systems? As for the other things, I think that Microsoft should make them upgrades for people who have specific needs (consumer or business) and want to pay for them. But to Paul's point, I would still name the platform Windows 10 Pro...

  14. Avatar

    siko

    Agree with @Bart (https://www.thurrott.com/users/Bart): One Windows.

  15. Avatar

    rmac

    In the space of just a few last lines, Paul's 'advice' section articulately nails a fundamental problem at Microsoft, and it is this: the marketing department is in perpetual fear of the art of simplification. What is wrong with just 'Windows everywhere'?


    Same goes for the VisualStudio platform. Instead of .NET progressing (pun intended) WebForms and WinForms into a single modern day 'progressive app experience' i.e. web and Windows development being layered for Windows (UWP) and non-Windows (web) machines within the single solution development, the slew of project templates grows and grows and grows. Toss in myriad 3rd party extensions into ASP.NET for a good mix and it is most bewildering array.


    Microsoft, the art is keeping things simple. 'It depends' just doesn't work anymore.

  16. Avatar

    JaviAl

    Has this version a real Start Menu? And Ads? And undisable Telemetry? And the ugly Mobile Apps Store? And Mobile Apps with ads and option for subscription like Candy Crush, Solitaire, etc?


    Has this version included the Previous Versions / Shadow Copies option? If not I'm not interested.

  17. Avatar

    Winner

    "Windows 10S - where we provide you Windows MINUS one of its biggest advantages - the library of legacy software that you can run on it."

  18. Avatar

    Gardner

    I can see the future! Ar the next build, on the Powerpoint slides listing features, we will add a column for the price for that individual feature, along with live tiles rotating through all the pre-reqs.. Setup will include support for thousands of individual features, each with a micro-payment.. Since there will be billions of combinations, the setup program now will embed sql server to hold the database of all valid combinations and dependencies (SQL Server for OOBE 2017), and a new version of Visual Studio (Visual Studio Team Suite, Setup Edition for Non-Developers) to recompile the operating system to include just the requested features. This may require a VM embedded in setup as well, as the compile may take more than a day on some hardware.

    Given the scale of the necessary compilations, It is believe that Dona Sakar will not scale sufficiently to press than many red buttons to make that many builds in that many build labs, so an AR version of Dona will be developed (Dona Sakar-ar). And to handle all this telemetry back in Redmond, AI capabilities will be required, resulting in, of course, Dona Sakar-ar-ai.

    I could go on and on...

  19. Avatar

    CaedenV

    Paul, the 'editions' of Win10 are way worse than you think they are.

    On the 'personal' side you have Home, S, and Pro... which hopefully will become S and Pro down the road. But how did you buy your product? Is it a Retail key? Oem? upgrade from 7/8? Each of these has different rules about how, if, and when you can move that copy to a new box or VM. Very annoying.

    On the business side it gets worse... far worse... There is Home, Pro, Edu, and Ent, both in flavors of MAC (simi-traditional licence) or KMS (network managed licences for bulk deployment where machines must check in periodically). Then there are K versions of each of these that remove certain multimedia aspects as well as a few other odd flavors available for edge use cases.


    And then there is server... what a mess server is! GUI or GUI-less editions are available. Have more than 2 CPUs? gotta pay extra. Have a crap-ton of cores? have to pay extra. Want to run a bunch of VMs? How many cores on each of those? And who cares if you already paid for those cores on the host machine! And there is a 'convenient' cheap version of server for small businesses... but god forbid your business grow because there is no nice way to upgrade to a 'real' version of server without breaking everything.

    Oh, and most of these versions of windows cannot be purchased through MS directly, you need to find a volume licence dealer, which as far as I can tell is like dealing with a crack dealer. Some can give you access to only certain software. Some can offer deals where your employees can install software at home as well. Some have lower prices than others, or have exclusive deals. None of whom will give you real numbers and offerings until you are making your decision. Very difficult to shop around and make real comparisons.


    The whole thing is madness!

    Give it to us simply! S (free) and Pro (fully unlocked) across the board. MAC/KMS options for business deployment. And one price for everyone! Home users should not be forced to spend $140-200 per copy of Pro when businesses and OEMs pay ~$30-60 (and some entities pay as little as $3). Sure, make server as complicated as you want, but for the core OS, keep it simple, clean, and easy to deploy. This is your app and content platform which means that ANY barrier to entry to the stores is a major negative. With Linux and OSX so competitive (and with their own app stores) there is less and less reason to choose windows.... so for goodness sake MS! Stop shooting yourself in the foot!

    • Avatar

      skane2600

      In reply to CaedenV:

      I don't get the Windows Home hate. It's more capable than Windows S for all but "Enterprisey" stuff most people don't care about. I'll bet an entry level Windows S system will be at least as expensive as an entry level Windows Home system and probably more.

      • Avatar

        CaedenV

        In reply to skane2600:

        It isn't that Windows Home is a terrible idea. The issue is that we cannot start having 100 different home products.


        I will personally never run win10Home in my home or at work... but as the default 'family tech' I have to support it. The idea of a 'home' edition of Windows (at least to me) is a version that allows the end user to do basic things, but does not give the end user enough control to royally screw up their system. Doing things like locking down the registry, or forcing only signed applications for install go a very long way towards that goal. Win10S is just a better 'Home' OS, and as such it should simply replace the Home SKU rather than existing beside it.

  20. Avatar

    paulschnack

    I agree overall Paul but you can't really blame MS for the N versions. That's imposed on them by the EU. If MS could they'd scrap the N versions.

  21. Avatar

    simont

    Windows 10 Expensive version. If you can afford to run a PC on an i9 or Xeon, then you can afford a more expensive Windows 10.

  22. Avatar

    Bats

    LOL...you know what?

    Paul giving Microsoft advice is like a sportswriter telling a baseball manager how to fill his lineup.

    After reading this, Paul fails to make his case here to call consolidate the Windows 10 brand under one banner, "Windows 10." This is clearly a Microsoft ploy to maximize their revenue potential by selling targeted editions of Windows 10 to certain types of businesses. However, to make a case against this ploy, one has to make the argument that confusion will occur because of the branding. 

    In terms of confusion, I don't see how this particular branding can lead to any. Last I checked they don't sell this software in Staples, Best Buy, or Walmart. I assume that this particular Windows 10, will be sold in the usual professional sales type manner.

    In regards to Apple, there is clearly at least two types of Mac OSX. One is Mac OSX and the other is Mac OS Server. Anyway, Mac OS is not a good example to place here, because as far as I know....NO ONE USES IT.

    • Avatar

      CaedenV

      In reply to Bats:

      No, MS is loosing business because of these games, not maximizing it.

      The problem is that MS does not sell directly to businesses, and instead goes through a dizzying array of dealers and partners who demand these kinds of confusing deals and packages to sell. MS is afraid that cutting these people out will harm their numbers far worse than just simplifying things and selling direct (and making a higher per-sale profit).

      But I have to say that MS is wrong in thinking this. Nobody likes MS resale partners. It is the closest thing an honest person can get to what a drug buying experience is like. This whole process is loosing MS business to companies like Apple who simply sell direct, and Google who use partners who are locked to set prices and packages that you can much more easily comparison shop against.

      MS made itself big by using these kinds of business practices back when it was acceptable. It is becoming less and less acceptable, and MS will continue bleeding out the business sector if they continue doing business this way.

    • Avatar

      Mcgillivray

      In reply to Bats:

      Except the 4-5 Million people that buy new Mac computers every quarter? Yeah... No one.... I guess No One uses iOS either since more people use Android by your logic.

  23. Avatar

    zicoz

    So instead of having multiple versions with different names, have multiple versions with the same name?

  24. Avatar

    gvan

    Paul,

    You have clearly forgotten several editions of Windows. Let's see if I can remember all of them quickly, off the top of my head. The forgotten Windows editions are: vegetarian, Hawaiian, cheese, pepperoni and combination. Then there is the ultimate "half Canadian bacon with pineapple, half artichoke with pesto, and light on the cheese" as ordered by Lisa in the classic move The Room. Best Microsoft product placement ever!

  25. Avatar

    hrlngrv

    It's defensible IF one accepts that MSFT has a RIGHT to try to get as much money as possible from each customer. In that case, it's just business. You may not like it, but you get no say until you join the board of directors.

    Do I agree it's confusing? Yes, a bit, but anyone who's followed MSFT for a few years should be used to it. Do I agree it's unnecessary now that Windows's user base has ceased growing? No. More SKUs may be the best way to maximize Windows licensing revenues, thus profits. MSFT is in business to maximize profits, not reduce confusion. From that perspective, MSFT would be doing exactly what it should.

    • Avatar

      Skolvikings

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      I disagree. Paul never said they couldn't sell different licenses at different price points. Having a single, unified ISO that would unlock the paid for features based on the key entered, would be great. They could resolve the confusion while still maintaining profits.

      • Avatar

        edboyhan

        In reply to Skolvikings: that's how it already works now. If I buy a new PC with Home installed, I can turn it into PRO by entering the appropriate PRO license key somewhere in the Control Panel additional features panel, and the PRO feature set is enabled.


  26. Avatar

    Maelstrom

    I also remember being promised additional premium stuff to Vista Ultimate Edition which didn't see the light of the day...


    Discriminating by licencing is a good idea but may be a bit confusing to consumers. At least, there should be a clear way to differentiate from Windows (based on S, therefore limited to Store apps), Windows Pro (for prosumers and small businesses) and Windows Entreprise (for large organizations and just priced differently for Education)...

  27. Avatar

    BoItmanLives

    Give me a paid prosumer version of 10 that's finally a proper successor to 7: telemetry opt-out, control over updates, and let me uninstall all the mobile app bloat, advertising, cortana and edge.

    • Avatar

      CaedenV

      In reply to BoItmanLives:

      no, you don't get to control updates today. Not on Windows, OSX, iOS, Android, ChromeOS, and a growing number of Linux distros. That is just not how things are done any more.


      For the rest, win7 has issues too and you probably already hack the registry to get around it... you just do the same thing with 10. Really not a big deal.

  28. Avatar

    arknu

    Yes! Why does not Microsoft never learn this. Simply have one Windows that does everything.

  29. Avatar

    Bart

    Lets do one better. Much like the Surface Pro, drop the number. Windows. just Windows

  30. Avatar

    John Jackson

    I have thought for a long time that there should only be one client version with all features enabled, whose cost depends on the CPU of the host device.

    So if I (as a consumer) want to run PRO on a $100 tablet with a low power quad core CPU, to administer it via Remote Desktop, then so be it. Really, is there any substantial workload which I could force such a low spec. device to perform? I don't think so.

    Similarly if I install HOME on an 8-core Ryzen workstation class machine, should I pay less than that humble tablet! I think not.

    NASDAQ:MSFT have already implemented the technology to register a license against a specific device installation.

    No need to worry about the pirates: they are probably all running some bastardised Windows Server Datacentre edition :-(

    • Avatar

      Chris

      In reply to John Jackson:

      It's a nice idea in theory, but I don't think it would work in practice. For example, some Workstation PCs have "server class" Xeon CPUs. By your idea, they would be limited to Windows Server. The other problem with your example is that there are some "business class" tablets that do come with Windows 10 Pro installed. The main use for Pro is for the ability to join domains, and administer the user accounts through AD. Restricting tablets to "Home" would prevent them from being used in businesses (which wouldn't help MS or their business sales).


      Reducing the SKUs for Windows 10 down to one helps with the SKU situation, but doesn't help with the licensing (we would still have Home, Pro, Education, Enterprise, S, plus all the European N variants). I'm not sure how MS could resolve that problem without reducing the number of licenses. They might be able to do away with the Home license, essentially combining it with Pro, though that would still leave Enterprise, Education and S as separate licenses. MS have pretty much gotten themselves stuck in an awkward situation of their own doing.

      • Avatar

        John Jackson

        In reply to Chris:

        You missed my qualification "with all features enabled". ...

        ... so a tablet could be accessible by remote desktop or join a domain

        ... a single XEON could be a consumer, workstation (or server) class device depending on its core count

        ... a 4-way CPU box would then be priced, as rumour of a new editon has it, "Windows Pro Advanced"

        One client version (= current enterprise), multiple prices by CPU configuration. The problem with my suggestion though is that there are probably more price variants than editions :-(

  31. Avatar

    Waethorn

    This is what you get when you have an enterprise guy running the show: a licensing nightmare.

  32. Avatar

    rameshthanikodi

    Agreed. Microsoft should have one product edition, or at the most, two. Just Home and Enterprise. That is all. I don't get why they still have Pro sticking around.

    Other "special" editions can be differentiated by licensing, as mentioned, like Windows 10 ARM - which has Windows 10 Pro features, and Windows 10 S - which is sort of like Pro but with caveats.

  33. Avatar

    nwebster

    Sorry Paul, but its not stupid. Most of these other SKUs only affect businesses, not consumers. They never see it, and never care about it. Businesses do care, and don't have the issues you seem to.

    • Avatar

      euskalzabe

      In reply to nwebster:

      When I can't encrypt my $800 laptop because it comes with the Home version, but my $99 android phone can, that is a big problem. Encryption stopped being a "pro" feature about 10 years ago. As Paul said, this practice is obviously painfully out of touch with reality.

      • Avatar

        hrlngrv

        In reply to euskalzabe:

        . . . painfully out of touch with reality

        Not so. MSFT wants people who believe they need encryption to pay for Pro. As long as people buy PCs for children learning to count or read, there will be some PCs which really don't need encryption.

      • Avatar

        SvenJ

        In reply to euskalzabe: So upgrade to pro. It's easy, and seemingly would be worth it to you. The OEM that put Home on your $800 laptop to get the price down so you would buy it instead of the $900 laptop with Pro on it, is who your beef is with.


  34. Avatar

    SherlockHolmes

    As a Windows 10 Enterprise owner Paul, I can say they have more benefits then control over Updates: Control over telemetry data and privacy.

  35. Avatar

    edboyhan

    It's not clear to me that they are in fact going to introduce another SKU that will be marketed like the current SKU lineup. On the server side, MS has an Enterprise Server version which cannot be bought and installed on any H/W you like. Instead it is tightly bound to specific server H/W configurations from certified Enterprise Server H/W partners. In effect Windows Enterprise Server is only sold as part of a bundle with a certified Enterprise Server from a partner. It is possible that the W10 performance SKU might be sold in exactly this way: I. e. it can only be acquired as part of a bundle from specified 3rd party workstation H/W vendors. If done in this way it would be a niche product not generally available, and wouldn't materially add to SKU confusion.

    While I agree that fewer SKU's would be preferable, MS's dilemma is how to price Windows 10 in ways that reflect the after sales support costs that differential Windows 10 user populations might expect. So enterprise costs more than pro which costs more than Home primarily to reflect the support costs of those different flavors more than any differential feature sets embodied in the different SKU's. After all the code for the different SKU feature sets is embedded in every windows install -- just providing the appropriate license key turns on the appropriate feature set.

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