The SKU's of the upcoming Windows 8 were released mistakenly on HP's driver archive and had been pulled off the website by the company just a short time ago, but it's too late as information is spreading stating that the Starter, Home Basic, and Ultimate editions have been dropped.
HP mistakenly told the world today that Microsoft was not going to ship three SKU's of the upcoming Windows 8 operating system. Since the release and recent talk about the dilemma, HP has removed the content from the two web pages, but it hasn't stopped it from spreading around the web! The list, displayed on multiple driver documents, such as here and here, but as you can tell there are no more references to Windows 8. A picture was also released displaying the different architechtures of Windows 8 being released, and it appears that Windows 8 Server will be released along with it's sister client.
The page makes reference to every edition of Windows 7 and Windows Vista, and most are assuming that it did make reference to every proposed edition of Windows 8, in which, according to Stephen Chapman of ZDNET, was Microsoft Windows 8 32bit Edition, Microsoft Windows 8 64bit Edition, Microsoft Windows 8 Enterprise 32bit Edition, Microsoft Windows 8 Enterprise 64bit Edition, Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 32bit Edition, and Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 64bit Edition.
Microsoft appears to be ditching the Windows 8 Starter, Windows 8 Home Basic, and Windows 8 Ultimate. The change does not appear to be major because of many reasons. Windows 7 Starter was only included on netbooks, but those netbooks were fully capable of running an edition of Windows 7 with a higher SKU, so there was really no purpose of it. Windows 7 Home Basic was sold in emerging markets in undeveloped countries, but that proved to be unsuccessful because it lacked many of the features needed in the higer SKUs and was not as "out there" because the markets were bad in the different countries it was sold in (such as India and Russia). Windows 7 Ultimate (and Vista for that matter) appeared not to be selling as many copies because only Professional, Home Premium (and Vista Home Basic) were bundled with PC's, therefore there was no need for people to upgrade to Ultimate, unless they wanted Professional and Home Premium editions bundled together, with the language packs that came with it.
Windows 8 definetly needed a cleaning when it came to its different editions. It makes it easier for people to choose what's right for them. You either use your computer for home, small business, or large business use. You never needed an "inbetween" choice. Now with that said, Windows 8 is expected to be released as a "Home Edition" but it does not specify as Home Premium or Home Basic; it just notes itself as "Windows 8." It will also be released as a Professional edition and an Enterprise edition, which is the best way to present their next operating system to appeal to consumers by making it easier for them to choose.
This information should be taken with a grain of salt because this is just speculation being talked about throughtout the tech community. We are not 100% sure if these SKU's have been removed, renamed, or changed in anyway. Microsoft has not commented on the subject, but we shall learn more during the release of the Consumer Preview (beta) on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at the Barcelona Mobile World Congress.