Microsoft unveils business editions of Windows 8

Windows 8

Microsoft has revealed that business users will have three versions of Windows 8 to choose from: Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise and Windows RT.

Windows 8 Pro has the most comprehensive feature set for everyday users. The operating system will support BitLocker and BitLocker To Go and Client Hyper-V. It will also boast Remote Desktop functionality and allow users to boot from a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD).

Microsoft also plans to make a specific version of Windows 8 available for enterprise customers with Software Assurance agreements, according to a post on the software giant's Windows Blog.

Windows 8 Enterprise will have the same features as the Pro edition, but will also offer additional PC management tools for IT administrators.

Business users who plan on investing in Microsoft tablets will need Windows RT, which will run on the ARM architecture. This has been known as Windows on ARM or Windows on SOA until now.

A key feature of Windows RT is the inclusion of touch-screen versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

Meanwhile, home users are likely to be using the standard edition, known as Windows 8. This will feature the Metro interface with Live Tiles, Connected Standby, Internet Explorer 10, the revamped Task Manager and Windows Explorer. It will also provide users with access to the Windows Store.

There is still no definitive release date for the next generation operating system, but it is widely tipped to be later this year. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is available to download from the Microsoft website, giving users a taste of what to expect when it finally goes on sale.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.