As with Vista, there are going to be various versions of Windows 7, according to CNET:
“Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate. Unlike with Vista, however, the Home Basic version will be sold only in emerging markets.”
I’m a huge fan of Windows 7 and also a big fan of Vista AND my job mainly revolves around Microsoft licensing-but even I think all these version is overkill. It confuses people and makes them apprehensive about buying a new licence-and people often hate what they don’t understand; I really think all these extra versions were a big part of Vista’s problem. It also makes it much more likely that people will buy a version of the OS that doesn’t include all the features they want and while MS have gone some way to combat this feature disparity (I.e. Pro will include Media Center), it isn’t perfect.
It seems a lot of people have been worrying that they wouldn’t be able eligible for an upgrade licence unless they were running Vista, but that of course isn’t the case. All those XP users are perfectly able to purchase the Upgrade SKU to their chosen Windows 7 version.
That said, the beta of Windows 7 is fantastic and you should definitely look at upgrading as soon as it’s available 🙂