Microsoft building Windows 8 E editions & multiple Windows ARM versions

By Tom Warren, on 26th Apr 11 9:30 pm with 7 Comments

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:

ARM.Starter=00342
ARM.StarterN=00345
ARM.StarterE=00348
ARM.HomeBasic=00346
ARM.HomeBasicN=00358
ARM.HomeBasicE=00349
ARM.HomePremium=00359
ARM.HomePremiumN=00362
ARM.HomePremiumE=00351
ARM.Professional=00371
ARM.ProfessionalN=00376
ARM.ProfessionalE=00352
ARM.Enterprise=00392
ARM.EnterpriseN=00403
ARM.EnterpriseE=00355
ARM.Ultimate=00426
ARM.UltimateN=00432
ARM.UltimateE=00356

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.

  • http://www.andrew-stockdale.co.uk Andrew Stockdale

    It will be interesting to see if Windows 8′s performance benefits from being optimised to run on ARM application processing cores, or whether the split-focus in developing for two quite different processor architectures ends up hampering both platforms.

    Early demonstrations certainly imply it runs fairly well on ARM hardware, but I think it’s a valid concern.

  • Adamvm

    I would rather have a Win 8 based tablet than Android. I just hope that they learned from the WP7 experience to not release and incomplete product. I an really not impressed wtih the tablets on the scene at the moment so waiting for Win 8 tablet won’t be difficult. I really want MS to nail the tablet and put the rest to shame.

    • Anonymous

      I wouldn’t call WP7 incomplete. The features that shipped worked realy well. They were polished features for the most part. Yes, they made a decison to ‘save’ more features for future releases.

  • Mark

    “Microsoft’s competitive tablet strategy is believed to be further along than expected.”

    That’s what we keep hearing, but meanwhile the months are passing by and still nothing.

    • Wtf808

      yea i hate that friggin line.. every blog post on Win8 tablets and such.

  • Anonymous

    Combine starter and basic and call it BASIC
    Combine Enterprise and Ultimate and call it ULTIMATE
    That brings you down to four 4 flavors and a much easier message.

  • http://twitter.com/TechDudeGeorge George S

    I think it’s stupid… Why does the EU have to make MS sell Windows without a browser. Yet OS X can ship with the abomination that is Safari… :/
    But they better have a solution, why not keep the flippin’ browser ballot. I just use that on fresh installs to get Chrome.