Microsoft through a pair of job postings has revealed that it's planning to implement new anti-piracy measures but also to keep its practice of arbitrarily different OS versions. An ad for a Senior Development Engineer would have the new recruit develop "new anti-hacking mechanisms" and drivers to prevent illegal copying. What it would involve isn't said, but it would affect every layer of the OS.
The anti-piracy measures are partly expected but do point to the company still being unsatisfied with its existing anti-piracy steps. Windows 7 already checks for sudden, drastic changes in hardware and requires activation, and just last month added an update that periodically scans for known cracks to prevent modifications.
Simultaneously, a listing for a Senior Test Lead would put an employee in a Windows SKU team dedicated solely to determining which features should be reserved for different Windows versions. It doesn't provide any clues as to version changes, but by itself reveals that Microsoft will likely still have separate home and business versions of Windows.
Both the piracy and SKU policies would continue to contrast sharply against Mac OS X, which has just two editions and has no known anti-copying measures. Apple can implement its approach largely because it's the only source of officially supported computers and thus is guaranteed to sell Mac OS X with every new computer.
Little is known about what Windows 8 will offer as an improvement to 7, but Microsoft has dropped hints that it will take a very different approach and that it may be finished by summer 2011, just two years after its predecessor.