At Least Microsoft Will Avoid One Big Mistake With Windows 8

steve ballmer hand wave cesKeeping it simple.

Photo: Ellis Hamburger, Business Insider

Microsoft just revealed that it’s only going to have four editions of its next Windows operating system.Windows 8 will be the mainstream version. Windows 8 Pro will be for businesses and power users. Large companies on multi-year licence agreements will be able to get an Enterprise edition.

And Windows RT will be the special version for tablets based on the low-powered ARM chips that run most tablets today.

That’s a nice step back from the explosion of editions that started with Windows Vista.

Windows 7 has six editions: Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. Hardware makers are generally OK with this huge array of choices — it gives them one more way to segment their PCs so they can sell higher-priced (and higher-margin) versions for power users, businesses, and enterprises.

But it’s a pain for customers to decode the differences.

The split between Windows 8 (for regular PCs and tablets running Intel-type chips) and Windows RT (for ARM-based tablets) is confusing enough — they’ll have different features, and Windows RT won’t run old Windows apps while Windows 8 will.

But at least Microsoft isn’t making matters worse by presenting a whole buffet of choices.

See also: Everything You Need To Know About Microsoft’s Next Version Of Windows

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at research.businessinsider.com.au.