Microsoft has been touting a shared code base when Windows 10 releases, but that has never meant that there would be a single installation across all devices, nor that the company wouldn't find some way of sticking different prices on its virtual software boxes.
Today, Microsoft has finally delivered its public dispatch on the matter. And, the message is clear: Windows 10 will come in six distinct editions. So, despite a new Microsoft and a new, revolutionary, service-based operating system, Windows will still follow its celebrated past and be separated by function and price, though the company has yet to make pricing public.
Here's how it all shakes out…
Windows 10 Home. This is the decidedly consumerized version of the operating system, giving users access to things like:
Apps like Photos, Maps, Mail, Calendar, Music and Video
Windows 10 Mobile. The consumer-based mobile version of Windows 10 will be available for small screens such as smartphones and tablets (under a certain size). Additionally, it will include:
Continuum for phone (only for new hardware that supports it)
Windows 10 Pro. Windows 10 Pro is a more robust version of Windows 10 Home in that it provides deeper security for business use, and will allow companies to take advantage of the new Windows Update for Business when it's available. Microsoft considers Windows 10 Pro a solution for small businesses.
Windows 10 Enterprise. This edition is Microsoft's offering for medium to massive sized companies and provides the best security, and advanced capabilities. And, as we've come to expect with this edition, the Enterprise version will only be available to Volume Licensing customers.
Windows 10 Education. This version is built specifically for the academic sector. It utilizes some facets of Windows 10 for Enterprise, but delivers them in a way to better benefit school staff, administrators, teachers, and students. Available with a valid academic Volume Licensing account, schools and students will be able to upgrade Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro devices to this edition.
Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise. To better secure mobile devices running Windows 10 in the Enterprise, Microsoft is making a second mobilized edition available. Like Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise will only be available to Volume Licensing customers. But, more than just a mobile edition with enterprise features, this edition will be available to take full advantage of Microsoft's mobile management offerings such as EMM, using built-in mechanisms.
Hinted at today, but not completely announced are the expected versions of Windows 10 embedded for IoT devices like ATMS, and POS systems. However, Microsoft has still not gone on record to discuss the edition specific to the Surface Hub.
One thing noticeably absent from the list is an edition for Windows RT. Windows RT was once communicated as the future of Windows by Microsoft. Now its just left completely off the list without even a short obituary. Windows RT's death has been known for a while already.