Microsoft insiders ponder how many different editions of the next Windows OS will end up on the developer's price list.

As details begin to circulate about Microsoft's next-generation operating system, one question that's coming up is how many different editions of the OS will end up on the Redmond, Wash.-based developer's price list.

Microsoft insider Paul Thurrott, who publishes the SuperSite for Windows Web site, claims that Longhorn will ship in seven, count 'em, seven different versions when the operating system wraps. (According to Thurrott, the OS is now scheduled to release to manufacturing -- meaning it's heading to duplication -- in late May 2006.)

Among the seven editions, said Thurrott on his site, are a Starter Edition (similar to Windows XP Starter, the edition Microsoft's pitching to developing countries), Home, Premium/Media, Professional, Small Business, Mobility/Tablet PC, and finally, something he dubbed ""ber" Edition.

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