It will certainly be interesting to see where Microsoft takes the stock keeping unit (SKU) strategy for Windows vNext.

Referred to informally as Windows 8, even inside Microsoft, the next major iteration of Windows is bound to mirror the editions of its predecessor, at least to some extent.

With Windows 7, the software giant is offering the following SKUs: Ultimate, Enterprise, Professional, Home Premium, Home Basic and Starter.

Some of them, such as Enterprise, Home Basic and Starter are available only to specific customers, in relation to certain licenses, or on limited markets. The rest can be purchased by both consumers and businesses.

Users that are also familiar with the SKU strategy for Windows Vista can tell that Windows 7 inherited some editions from its precursor.

But just as Windows 7 SKUs evolved compared to Vista’s, the same will happen for Windows 8. There’s no telling how exactly, but don’t think for a minute that the Redmond company is not already exploring a variety of possibilities.

One Microsoft employee reveals contributions to the “to the beta, RC and RTM releases of Windows 7. Contributed to M1/M2 of Windows 8. Influenced all Windows 7/Windows 8 Server SKU products.” (via SEO Whistleblower)

This can mean that Microsoft might actually wrapped up its Windows 8 SKU strategy already, although it’s yet to finish Milestone 2, with coding for M3 planned to start on February 28, 2011.
Source: Windows 8 SKU Strategy, Something to Look Forward to - Softpedia