There has been much speculation among the chattering classes about Windows Vista, Microsoft's new operating system, and the various versions that will be available to the public. The initial conventional wisdom was that rather than having different products--like XP Home, Pro, Media Center Edition, Tablet, and so on--Vista would condense the SKUs to one or two at most.
Now, just before the start of this week's Professional Developers Conference, well-known tech blogger Paul Thurrott claims that that Vista will be divided into two major product lines, with several SKUs in each. The Home and Pro lines will become Home and Business, with Starter, Basic, Premium, and Ultra versions of Home, and Small Business, Professional, and Enterprise versions under the Business tag.
What's the difference between all these? It's still speculation at this point (including whether these are the actual final designations), but in a nutshell, Vista Home Basic is the mass-market version, with Premium adding Media Center functionality. That's different from the previous theories that Microsoft would fold Media Center into the mainstream version of Vista. Check out Thurrott's breakdown for his take on each of the seven possible versions.