RealTime IT News

Microsoft Details Different Vistas

In its quest to stem the tide of Linux, Microsoft is leaving nothing to chance with regard to meeting different PC users' needs.

The company today said it is preparing six versions of its Windows Vista operating system for mass consumption in the second half of this year.

The forthcoming load of operating systems include two for businesses, three for consumers and one starter system for what Microsoft calls "emerging markets."

Windows Vista Business is targeted for small to large organizations.

Highlights of this product will include a new user interface, named Windows Aero, which will include a "transparent glass design," with subtle effects such as reflections and animations, and Windows Flip and Flip 3D desktop navigation features.

This product is also geared to let users search and manage huge volumes of business documents. This OS will also feature Windows Tablet PC technology to allow users to write to the computer with a digital pen.

Designed for large businesses, Windows Vista Enterprise will feature Windows Bitlocker encryption technology to protect data better in the event the PC is lost or stolen. Enterprise will also let users run Unix applications.

Windows Vista Enterprise will be available only to customers who have PCs covered by Microsoft Software Assurance or a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement.

For consumers with basic needs like browsing the Internet or using e-mail, Microsoft will offer Windows Vista Home Basic with a new search explorer, sidebar and parental controls.

Windows Vista Home Premium is being tailored for mobile warriors and can include the Windows Aero interface and Tablet PC software.

It will also integrate search throughout the operating system, helping customers pinpoint files such as pictures, movies, videos and music. Premium users will also be treated to DVD burning and authoring to let users burn personal videos photos and files to video or data DVDs.

Like Tivo?

Consumers who buy Premium will be able to use Windows Media Center to record and watch TV shows and access new kinds of online entertainment content. Premium also will let users connect Windows Vista Home Premium to Xbox 360.

The third consumer OS, Windows Vista Ultimate, will have all of the aforementioned Vista features.

For first-time PC users, Microsoft also will offer Windows Vista Starter. This entry-level software will feature a 32-bit operating system for lower-cost computers.

Six might seem like a lot of versions, but the Redmond, Wash., company is intent on hitting the sweet spots for an array of PC users with different needs and desires.

Analysts believe having an OS for each market segment will make sure no PC users is left unattended to. This is an important strategy at a time when Linux is gaining in popularity, particularly among businesses.