updated 09:50 am EST, Fri March 2, 2012
Windows 8 may have up to nine editions
New digging in the recently launched Windows 8 Consumer Preview has suggested the number of versions could get more complicated. Windows 8 Beta found ten versions in the OS' registry, including an evaluation version of the enterprise copy, the necessary ARM edition, and a less clear Professional Plus.
Windows 7, by contrast, had six versions, all of which carry over to the Windows 8 code.
The preview is still several months away from the final launch and could see one or more versions culled, most likely the generic "prerelease" edition. HP has also leaked a possibly very simple lineup that might contradict Microsoft's software. Microsoft hasn't commented on the mentions.
If the registry reflects Microsoft's strategy, it hints at the company regressing from a promise to simplify Windows' range in the past few years. The complexity has been used as a frequent bullseye for criticism from Apple, which has had success with no more than two versions of OS X active at any given point.