Every time Microsoft develops a new version of Windows, people hope that there will be fewer variants and sub-versions than before. Every time, those hopes are dashed.
Windows 10 isn’t going to change any of that.
Microsoft has just announced the set of Windows 10 SKUs, and there are seven of them, plus some others not mentioned.
The first few editions are straightforward. Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, and Windows 10 Enterprise will fill the same roles as their Windows 8.1 namesakes. Home will be the mainstream consumer version. Pro will add most of the management features (such as domain joining) that Home lacks. Enterprise will add further management capabilities and will only be available through volume licensing agreements.
Small businesses and BYOD users will probably stick with Pro. Both Pro and Enterprise will support Windows Update for Business. Enterprise will additionally support the Long Term Servicing option for mission critical systems.
Windows 10 Mobile will be the successor to Windows Phone and Windows 8 for small screen tablets, confirming once more that the deservedly maligned Windows Mobile branding is back. It will be used on phones and sub-8-inch tablets. It won’t include the traditional Windows desktop, but it will include the Project Astoria Android subsystem that will offer some compatibility with Android apps.
Windows 10 IoT Core will be an ultra stripped-down version of Windows 10 for small, cheap embedded devices.
The next few couple of editions, however, are less obvious.
Windows 10 Education will be similar to Windows 10 Enterprise—only available through academic volume licenses—and it will be available as an upgrade to Windows 10 Home and Pro for students and schools, but how it differs from Windows 10 Enterprise is currently unknown and not at all clear.
Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise will similarly be a volume licensed upgrade for Windows 10 Mobile that adds, in Microsoft’s words, “flexible ways for businesses to manage updates.” Regular security and mobile device management tasks won’t need this version; normal Windows 10 Mobile supports those tasks.