Microsoft is beginning to reveal more details about Windows 10, rumored to release late July. Among the details they have shared recently, the different SKUs or Windows 10 Editions have been announced and defined in general. The company has also discussed Genuine and Non-Genuine Windows 10 to track if the OS is properly installed and licensed.
Windows 10 Editions
Microsoft has always struggled with balancing the different versions of their Windows operating system, your Professional, Home Basic, Home Premium, Enterprise versions. Too many offerings and you confuse customers or frustrate them when a feature is not included with their edition. Too few editions and they are not able to upsell those premium features that corporations are more interested in than home users. With Windows 8, Microsoft took the minimal approach: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise, and Windows RT. With Windows 10, Microsoft is heading the other direction.
In a posting to Blogging Windows, the different Windows 10 Editions were detailed:
As in the past, we will offer different Windows editions that are tailored for various device families and uses. These different editions address specific needs of our various customers, from consumers to small businesses to the largest enterprises.
Windows 10 Home is the consumer-focused desktop edition. It offers a familiar and personal experience for PCs, tablets and 2-in-1s. Windows 10 Home will help people do great things, both big and small. With it, they will be more productive and have more fun thanks to a long list of new innovations: Cortana, the world’s most personal digital assistant; the new Microsoft Edge web browser; Continuum tablet mode for touch-capable devices; Windows Hello face-recognition, iris and fingerprint login; and right out of the box, a broad range of universal Windows apps like Photos, Maps, Mail, Calendar, Music and Video*.
We are also bringing the Xbox gaming experience to Windows 10, giving games and gamers access to the Xbox Live gaming community, enabling the capture and share of gameplay and giving Xbox One owners the ability to play their Xbox One games from any Windows 10 PC in their home.
Windows 10 Mobile is designed to deliver the best user experience on smaller, mobile, touch-centric devices like smartphones and small tablets. It boasts the same, new universal Windows apps that are included in Windows 10 Home, as well as the new touch-optimized version of Office. Windows 10 Mobile offers great productivity, security and management capabilities for customers who use their personal devices at work. In addition, Windows 10 Mobile will enable some new devices to take advantage of Continuum for phone, so people can use their phone like a PC when connected to a larger screen.
Windows 10 Pro is a desktop edition for PCs, tablets and 2-in-1s. Building upon both the familiar and innovative features of Windows 10 Home, it has many extra features to meet the diverse needs of small businesses. Windows 10 Pro helps to effectively and efficiently manage their devices and apps, protect their sensitive business data, support remote and mobile productivity scenarios and take advantage of cloud technologies. Windows 10 Pro devices are a great choice for organizations supporting Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) programs and prosumer customers. Windows 10 Pro also lets customers take advantage of the new Windows Update for Business, which will reduce management costs, provide controls over update deployment, offer quicker access to security updates and provide access to the latest innovation from Microsoft on an ongoing basis.
Windows 10 Enterprise builds on Windows 10 Pro, adding advanced features designed to meet the demands of medium and large sized organizations. It provides advanced capabilities to help protect against the ever-growing range of modern security threats targeted at devices, identities, applications and sensitive company information. Windows 10 Enterprise also supports the broadest range of options for operating system deployment and comprehensive device and app management. It will be available to our Volume Licensing customers, so they can take advantage of the latest innovation and security updates on an ongoing basis. At the same time, they will be able to choose the pace at which they adopt new technology, including the option to use the new Windows Update for Business. With Windows 10, Enterprise customers will also have access to the Long Term Servicing Branch as a deployment option for their mission critical devices and environments. And as with prior versions of Windows, Active Software Assurance customers in Volume Licensing can upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise as part of their existing Software Assurance benefits.
Windows 10 Education builds on Windows 10 Enterprise, and is designed to meet the needs of schools – staff, administrators, teachers and students. This edition will be available through academic Volume Licensing, and there will be paths for schools and students using Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro devices to upgrade to Windows 10 Education.
Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise is designed to deliver the best customer experience to business customers on smartphones and small tablets. It will be available to our Volume Licensing customers. It offers the great productivity, security and mobile device management capabilities that Windows 10 Mobile provides, and adds flexible ways for businesses to manage updates. In addition, Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise will incorporate the latest security and innovation features as soon as they are available.
There will also be versions of Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise for industry devices like ATMs, retail point of sale, handheld terminals and industrial robotics and Windows 10 IoT Core for small footprint, low cost devices like gateways.
That means there will be seven different editions of Windows 10. Some of the new editions come from folding Windows Phone into Windows 10 as Windows 10 Mobile or Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise while the Windows 10 Education and Windows 10 IoT Core are new. Those in Education will have to wait for details to emerge before knowing if that Edition is worth pursuing, perhaps it has most of the Enterprise features at an educational discount.
Genuine Windows 10
Talking about Genuine and Non-Genuine Windows 10 gets into the sticky topic of operating system piracy. Means to prevent piracy can often lead to annoyances to legitimate customers but not all piracy is committed by the end-user. Some customers may be victims by being sold counterfeit or pirated versions of the operating system from a shady reseller.
Microsoft has made an offer for the first year following Windows 10 release to upgrade Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers to Windows 10 for free.
As we announced earlier this year, for the first time ever, we are offering the full versions of Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 Pro as a free and easy upgrade for qualifying Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices that upgrade in the first year after launch. Once you upgrade, you have Windows 10 for free on that device.
In another Blogging Windows post, Terry Myerson clarified that there will be a difference between Genuine Windows devices and Non-Genuine Windows devices and the upgrade offers will only be extended to Genuine Windows devices.
When we can’t verify that Windows is properly installed, licensed, and not tampered with, we create a desktop watermark to notify the user. If you ever encounter this watermark on a new machine, I encourage you to return the device immediately to the retailer from whom you purchased it and request a Genuine Windows device. Non-Genuine Windows has a high risk of malware, fraud, public exposure of your personal information, and a higher risk for poor performance or feature malfunctions. Non-Genuine Windows is not supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner.
For computers with Non-Genuine Windows, the blog post goes on to state that they are planning “attractive Windows 10 upgrade offers”.
To conclude, the general caveat that Windows 10 is still under development and might change some of the details regarding implementation of Genuine/Non-Genuine Windows.