Earlier this week, we reported that Windows 8 may have fewer SKUs than Windows Vista and Windows 7. The evidence was discovered within revision notes for the Alcor Micro Smart Card Reader Driver located on HP's website, listing a mere three Windows 8 "client" SKUs (or six if you count the 32-bit and 64-bit versions separately). But the documents were edited by HP or some other party, eliminating the SKUs and leading to speculation that they may have been mere document fillers.
According to the HP documents, the Windows 8 SKUs included Microsoft Windows 8 32 Edition and 64 Edition, Microsoft Windows 8 Enterprise 32 Edition and 64 Edition, and Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 32 Edition and 64 Edition. Six possible SKUs in all, but only three separate versions of the OS and a list definitely shorter than the SKUs offered for Windows Vista and perhaps even Windows 7.
But now thanks to the Windows 8 Consumer Preview released just days ago, we now have a longer list of SKUs to consider. After digging through the registry, Windows 8 Beta provides a completely different lineup than what the HP documents offered. The list includes the following:
Windows 8 Enterprise Edition
Windows 8 Enterprise Eval Edition
Windows 8 Home Basic Edition
Windows 8 Home Premium Edition
Windows 8 ARM Edition
Windows 8 Professional Edition
Windows 8 Professional Plus Edition
Windows 8 Starter Edition
Windows 8 Ultimate Edition
Given the list came from the public Windows 8 beta, there's a possibility it could change before Windows 8 goes live later this year. Engadget points out that Windows 8 Professional Plus Edition may have similar collaborative tools as Office 2010 Pro Plus which offers extra integration with Sharepoint and Office Communications Server. Windows 8 Enterprise Eval Edition is likely a trial for businesses itching to upgrade, but don't want to make the plunge quite yet.
Like Windows 7, only a certain number may be widely available at retail. These will likely include Windows 8 Home Premium, Windows 8 Professional, Windows 8 Professional Plus, and Windows 8 Ultimate. Windows 8 Starter, like Windows 7 Starter, may be pre-installed on devices offered by manufacturers whereas Windows 8 Home Basic will be provided to "emerging markets." Windows On ARM will be pre-installed by manufacturers and not offered on the market to consumers.