Microsoft is still building E versions of its next-generation Windows, WinRumors has learned.
The software giant is currently compiling Windows 8 E editions, despite axing the version shortly before the release of Windows 7. Microsoft originally started compiling E editions of Windows 7, which do not include Internet Explorer, during its beta phase in early 2009. Microsoft was forced to create special European editions of Windows 7 after the European Union originally accused Microsoft of anti-trust violations back in January 2009. The E editions of Windows 7 were scrapped after, in July 2009, Microsoft proposed a ballot screen to allow users to pick their default browser in Windows XP, Vista and 7. The European Commission accepted Microsoft’s plans in December 2009 after the software giant agreed to randomize the ballot screen due to several complaints from rival software companies.
WinRumors has discovered references to E editions of Windows 8 inside recently leaked builds. Microsoft also appears to be compiling multiple SKUs of its Windows ARM offering:
It’s not immediately clear why the company is still creating E versions of Windows. The step could be part of a legacy build process at Microsoft or a precaution against any further investigations into Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Windows integration. Regardless, Microsoft appears to be building multiple offerings of its Windows ARM version. Starter, Home Basic and Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate are all accounted for in Windows 8. Microsoft held a special press event at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January to introduce a technology preview of Microsoft’s Windows ARM support and show off an early build of Windows 8. Microsoft is partnering with ARM-based manufactures NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments to produce new Tablet devices.
Microsoft is currently working on a Windows 8 “immersive” tablet user experience. However, the company may introduce Windows 8 ARM based tablets ahead of a full desktop release. Microsoft’s competitive tablet strategy is believed to be further along than expected. Dell’s recently leaked Tablet Roadmap revealed that the OEM has marked Q1 2012 as its date for a Windows 8 based slate. WinRumors understands that Microsoft has been working on an ARM based version of Windows for nearly a year and that it is laboring hard to bring this to the market as soon as possible.