The Windows Vista product lineup consists of six versions, two for businesses, three for consumers, and one for emerging markets: Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Ultimate and Windows Vista Starter. The number of offerings is the same as the number of offerings currently available for Windows® XP. More important, the lineup is designed to deliver clear value to a broad range of customers, each product tailored to meet specific needs of various segments of customers — home PC users, small and medium-sized businesses and the largest enterprises — and is aimed at bringing 64-bit, Media Center and Tablet PC functionality into the mainstream.
“We live in a digital world that is filled with more information, more things to do and more ways to communicate with others than ever,” said Mike Sievert, corporate vice president of Windows Product Management and Marketing at Microsoft. “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. With our Windows Vista product line, we’ve streamlined and tailored our product lineup to provide what our customers want for today’s computing needs.”
Windows Vista Business.
Windows Vista Business is the operating system designed for organizations of all sizes. For small businesses, Windows Vista Business will help keep PCs running smoothly and more securely so they are less reliant on dedicated IT support. For larger organizations, Windows Vista Business will provide dramatic new infrastructure improvements that will enable IT staff to spend less time focused on day-to-day maintenance of PCs and more time on adding strategic value to the organization.
These are some of the specific features of Windows Vista Business:
- A new user interface, named Windows Aero™, is designed to deliver the most productive, highest-performing desktop experience possible. Windows Aero will provide a professional-looking, transparent glass design, with subtle effects such as dynamic reflections and smooth animations, along with Windows Flip and Flip 3D desktop navigation features.
- In addition to these navigation improvements, Windows Vista Business makes it easier than ever to manage huge volumes of business documents. By integrating search throughout the operating system and providing new ways to organize files, Windows Vista Business helps business users quickly find exactly what they are looking for.
- Windows Tablet PC technology provides built-in handwriting recognition and enables interaction with the PC with a digital pen or fingertip instead of a keyboard.
Windows Vista Enterprise.
To better address the needs of large global organizations and those with highly complex IT infrastructures, Windows Vista Enterprise is designed to significantly lower IT costs and risk. In addition to all the features available in Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise is designed to provide higher levels of data protection using hardware-based encryption technology. It will also include tools to improve application compatibility and will enable organizations to standardize on a single worldwide deployment image with the inclusion of all Windows user-interface languages. Windows Vista Enterprise will be available only to customers who have PCs covered by Microsoft Software Assurance or a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement.
These are some of the specific Windows Vista Enterprise features:
- Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption helps prevent sensitive data and intellectual property from falling into the wrong hands if a computer is lost or stolen.
- Virtual PC Express is one of several built-in tools that improve application compatibility with previous versions of Microsoft operating systems. Virtual PC Express enables a legacy application to run unchanged on a legacy Windows operating system in a virtual environment on top of Windows Vista Enterprise.
- Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications 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.
Windows Vista Home Basic.
Windows Vista Home Basic is a great choice for homes with basic computing needs. 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, Windows Vista Home Basic will deliver a safer, more reliable and more productive computing environment. It will provide new tools and technologies for making the PC more secure and enjoyable, including features such as a new Search Explorer, Sidebar and Parental Controls.
Windows Vista Home Premium.
Windows Vista Home Premium will help consumers use mobile or desktop PC functionality more effectively while enabling the enjoyment of new, exciting digital entertainment experiences. Windows Vista Home Premium improves every aspect of digital entertainment experiences, including photos, video, TV, movies, music and games. Windows Vista Home Premium includes everything in Windows Vista Home Basic, along with additional features and enhancements such as the following:
- The new user interface Windows Aero is also available in this edition of Windows Vista.
- Windows Vista Home Premium integrates search throughout the operating system, helping customers easily organize and quickly find large collections of documents, pictures, movies, videos and music.
- Windows Media Center capabilities turn the PC into an all-in-one home entertainment center. Consumers can use Media Center to record and watch TV shows (even high-definition TV) and access new kinds of online entertainment content. It also provides the ability to connect Windows Vista Home Premium to Xbox 360™, extending the Media Center experience to multiple rooms in the home.
- Windows Tablet PC technology, which enables interaction with the PC with a digital pen or fingertip instead of a keyboard, is also available in this edition of Windows Vista.
- Integrated DVD burning and authoring allows users to seamlessly burn personal videos photos and files to video or data DVDs, and easily create professional-looking DVDs from home movies that can be shared with family and friends.
Windows Vista Ultimate.
Windows Vista Ultimate is the edition of Windows Vista that has it all. It is the first operating system that brings together all the entertainment features, mobility features and business-oriented features available in Windows Vista.
All new versions are 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 also will offer Windows Vista Starter in emerging markets. Windows Vista Starter is designed to empower families and entry-level PC users in these markets to experience the world of social and educational benefits that personal computer technology and the Internet makes possible. A 32-bit operating system designed specifically for lower-cost computers, Windows Vista Starter enables popular beginner PC activities and provides an easy-to-use and more affordable entry point to the Windows Vista family of products.
“Windows Vista is going to be a significant release for all Windows customers — including enterprises, small and medium-sized businesses as well as consumers,” said Al Gillen, research director for System Software at IDC. “Microsoft’s strategy to address different customer segments with versions of Windows Vista optimized for their needs should be well received by these diverse user segments.”
All versions of Windows Vista are scheduled to be broadly available in the second half of 2006.