Microsoft is apparently changing how it plans to license Windows 10 to OEM partners. A report indicates that the operating system will not only feature five different SKUs, but will also have a Windows 10 S version of each of these different versions.
The new roadmap for Windows 10 was leaked by Thurrott, which managed to catch a glimpse of what Microsoft has in plan for partners. In this case, it would be splitting the OS into Entry, Value, Core, Core+, and Advanced. Each of these SKUs caters to a different class of computer.
Entry caters to truly budget devices. Being designated for devices running on Intel Pentium and Celeron chips, having less than 4GB RAM, and being smaller than 14-inches in size. Overall, it’s likely to be used for convertible tablets and filling in the space for Windows 10 S.
From there, it slowly creeps up the hardware configurations until it reaches the Advanced SKU. Which is meant for anything running on an Intel Core i9 or AMD Threadripper processor.
It’s unclear if there will be any practical differences between these versions of Windows 10. The variation in pricing and SKU is nothing exactly new from Microsoft, as the company often offers licenses at multiple tiers; with little effect on the end consumer.
What could impact consumers is the addition of a Windows 10 S mode to each of the SKUs. In effect, it could convince OEMs to ship more computers with Windows 10 S instead of a full version OS; and then later charge more for the upgrade. Chances are that Microsoft is pushing towards this practice anyway.
If there’s anything to note, it’s that the new SKU pricing structure will likely affect prices of laptops and pre-built systems. So expect prices of higher end devices to see a small bump after these prices go into effect in April.