I logged in my Technet Subscription download site, and noticed that there are actually N editions for every single Windows 7 edition. And I wondered what exactly this N stands for.
E edition was nuked early on but in reality, according to CNET UK
Back in 2004, the European Commission fined Microsoft a record €497m under an antitrust ruling. The Commission concluded that with a near-monopoly in the operating system market, Microsoft’s bundling of Windows Media Player within Windows was anti-competitive. Microsoft was forced to unbundle the software and offer European consumers and manufacturers a version of Windows without it.
Microsoft was allowed to keep selling Windows with a media player, under the condition that it at least offer a version without. This took place in the latter part of Windows XP’s life and prompted the release of Windows XP N — a version identical to Windows XP, but without Windows Media Player.
And apparently, the rule continues and still applies. So that’s why Windows 7 N was born. Basically, they cost the same as their non-N siblings, and offer the same functionality, only without the Windows Media Player.
That’s just anther smaller piece comparing to the big launch day today. And like Steve Ballmer claimed himself, “I am a PC, I am a Windows 7 PC, effective immediately.”