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The Windows team likes to pride itself on holding its cards close to the vest. But sometimes that strategy backfires, as it did this week on the Longhorn front.

Microsoft execs have been making a concerted effort not to talk publicly about Longhorn. But that hasn’t stopped others from doing so. And this week, there were lots of conflicting Longhorn leaks:

  • Microsoft has at least seven Longhorn variants on the drawing board, including new small-business and an “uber” Windows variant, according to one Windows-watching site. (There’s no Windows Longhorn Reduced Media Edition on the list, but Microsoft’s still in denial about that one.)
  • Microsoft is paring back the number of Windows releases and is folding the Home, Professional, Tablet and Windows Media Center releases into one single Longhorn SKU, according to another reporter.
  • Microsoft is readying the next two Windows Media Center releases and doesn’t seem to have plans to fold any of the Media Center functionality into other Longhorn SKUs at all, according to a third site.

    So, which of these, if any, is true? The Windows client team won’t say. Officials are clinging to the tired line that “it’s too early to talk yet about packaging plans for Longhorn.” But wouldn’t you like to hear more about good old Windows XP instead?

    Our sources say that the truth lies at the intersection of all of these reports. We hear Microsoft is thinking about more Windows releases, not fewer—the same way that the Office team and the Visual Studio teams are thinking about ways to broaden their products’ appeal by rolling out more variants.

    Read the full story on Microsoft Watch: Too Much of a Good (Windows) Thing?