There has been much talk about SKUs in Windows 8. Why is that? First off, because early on there were some strong rumors that Windows 8 might only have one SKU. Then we’ve also heard the possibility of just Home, Business, and Server. There is a version for why simplicity in SKUs might be sought after by Microsoft.

First off, they are introducing brand new support of an architecture to the mix, ARM. Another strong reason is that they are targeting tablets with Windows 8, and tablets and simplicity tend to go hand to hand.

There are positives and negatives behind having limited SKUs, but honestly it has worked fairly well for Apple over the past several decades, so why not? Of course no one has gone on the record to talk about Windows 8 SKUs, other than we know that BETA is now Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

This isn’t that surprising that we haven’t heard real SKU confirmation, since Microsoft usually doesn’t give this information out to consumers until very close to store release.

This might have finally changed, thanks to HP’s website listing revision notes for the Alcor Micro Smart Card Reader Driver list. Outside of Vista and 7 drivers, it also listed Windows 8 versions that could possibly indicate the real names that MS has for its Win8 versions.

Microsoft Windows 8 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 8 64 Edition
Microsoft Windows 8 Enterprise 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 8 Enterprise 64 Edition
Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 64 Edition

As you’ve probably notice this doesn’t mention ARM, but this is kind of a duh factor since the Alcor Micro Smart Reader probably doesn’t support it. Personally though, I wouldn’t be surprised if Windows On Arm was just one single version.

If this is true than there are just four ‘core’ versions of Windows 8: Windows 8, Windows 8 Enterprise, Windows 8 Professional, and Windows 8 On Arm. Obviously there is Windows Server 8 as well.

While HP has worked quite closely with Microsoft on Windows 8, we still have no clue whether or not these above ‘versions’ have any real meaning or are simply placeholders.

I somewhat hope it does prove true. While one SKU didn’t seem likely, I really think MS is doing us all a favor by reducing versions. Did we really need 100 different SKUs for Windows products? I like the good old days of just Windows 9x and Windows NT. Times were easier than I suppose.

How about you? Do you think there is any merit to these SKU names or is it likely that they are just internal placeholders until they have more solid information to post? My only thing is if they were just placeholders, was it really necessary at all? The driver list could have just said “Will feature compatibility with Windows 8 upon arrival”, or something of that nature.

I’m sure it will just be a few more months before we find out for real, though.

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