And there were three... Three'ish Windows 8 Editions (and "Windows 8" is the official name too) Yes, only three, well four actually, Win8 SKU's...
"Today I would like to share information with you on the editions that will be available for "Windows 8" when it is released to market. We have talked about Windows 8 as Windows reimagined, from the chipset to the user experience. This also applies to the editions available – we have worked to make it easier for customers to know what edition will work best for them when they purchase a new Windows 8 PC or upgrade their existing PC.
Windows 8 has the flexibility you need - whether you’re on an x86/64 or a WOA PC. You can use a touch screen or a keyboard and mouse – and switch anytime. It’s beautiful, fast, and fluid design is perfect for a wide range of hardware. And you’ll love browsing through the Windows Store and downloading all the apps you want. And those apps can work together too so you can share photos, maps, contacts, links and whatever else you want faster and easier. All editions of Windows 8 offer a no-compromise experience.
First, Windows 8 is the official product name for the next x86/64 editions of Windows.
For PCs and tablets powered by x86 processors (both 32 and 64 bit), we will have two editions: Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. For many consumers, Windows 8 will be the right choice. It will include all the features above plus an updated Windows Explorer, Task Manager, better multi-monitor support and the ability to switch languages on the fly (more details on this feature can be found in this blog post),which was previously only available in Enterprise/Ultimate editions of Windows. For China and a small set of select emerging markets, we will offer a local language-only edition of Windows 8.
Windows 8 Pro is designed to help tech enthusiasts and business/technical professionals obtain a broader set of Windows 8 technologies. It includes all the features in Windows 8 plus features for encryption, virtualization, PC management and domain connectivity. Windows Media Center will be available as an economical “media pack” add-on to Windows 8 Pro. If you are an enthusiast or you want to use your PC in a business environment, you will want Windows 8 Pro.
Windows RT is the newest member of the Windows family – also known as Windows on ARM or WOA, as we’ve referred to it previously. This single edition will only be available pre-installed on PCs and tablets powered by ARM processors and will help enable new thin and lightweight form factors with impressive battery life. Windows RT will include touch-optimized desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. For new apps, the focus for Windows RT is development on the new Windows runtime, or WinRT, which we unveiled in September and forms the foundation of a new generation of cloud-enabled, touch-enabled, web-connected apps of all kinds. For more details on WOA, we suggest reading this blog post which shares more detail on how we have been building Windows 8 to run on the ARM architecture.
Make sure you also scroll all the way to the bottom and catch this note;
As with previous versions of Windows, we will also have an edition of Windows 8 specifically for those enterprise customers with Software Assurance agreements. Windows 8 Enterprise includes all the features of Windows 8 Pro plus features for IT organization that enable PC management and deployment, advanced security, virtualization, new mobility scenarios, and much more.
So wow, an end to the Windows SKU madness? Who got the marketing guys drunk and to agree to this? Who every it was, thank you... :P
That said, I REALLY don't like the "Windows RT" name for WOA. That's going to cause some major confusion for dev's. Are we going to have to explain over and over and over that developing for Windows Runtime (Windows RT) will work in Intel too, that it's not just ARM, etc, etc, etc, yada, yada, yada? Windows RT (WOA) <> Windows RT (Windows Runtime). There had to be a better choice for that platform name... sigh... (Or was this the Marketing guys getting hung over the next and getting back at us? :P )