Windows 8 Gets Possibly Free "Blue" Upgrade in 2013, May Split From Server Tree
November 29, 2012 1:20 PM
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New version will bring the UI inline with Windows Phone
Microsoft Corp.'s (
) Windows 8 operating system was a bold and risky gambit, which traded familiarity for an innovative new graphically rich (some say
graphically rich) user interface. Now the veteran operating system maker is eyeing more ambitious changes, notably a shift to an Apple, Inc. (
)-like track of more frequent (perhaps annual) operating system releases.
I. Windows Blue to Land in 2013?
Originally thought to be a service pack, sources at Microsoft have been spilling word of an upcoming release called Windows "Blue" (perhaps a code-name) to
in recent months.
According to the latest rumors, the 2013 release will be inexpensive or perhaps free, to incentivize upgrades. And it will be a full operating system upgrade. In this regard, the new development cycle Microsoft is moving towards closely
-- frequent, cheap operating system upgrades.
Microsoft is also planning a move that may shock and upset some developers -- it will reportedly release a new version of its SDK for Windows Blue, and at that point will stop accepting
Windows Store apps
built on the old Windows 8 SDK. Again, this choice is a calculated tactic on Microsoft's part to push developers and users to embrace the new platform.
The new OS will also shift Microsoft's position regarding leniency for users upgrading from pirate versions. With Blue, if you upgrade from a pirated copy of Windows 8, even if you bought a legitimate copy your Windows Store and the built-in-apps will still be bricked.
[Image Source: NeoWin]
, the term "Windows 9" has begun to creep into text in Microsoft employee postings, suggesting Microsoft may official dub the upcoming OS Windows 9, when it hits release next year.
Another report from
suggests that the new operating system will move Windows 8 to using smaller
, similar to
those in Windows Phone 8
. This would seem to agree with
's sources who suggest Windows Blue/Windows 9 will be part of an effort to complete the transition of Windows Phone and Windows (PC) into a single code-base and consistent user interface. As part of this effort, Windows Phone may receive a corresponding "Blue" update, as well.
II. Are Windows Users Ready for Another Big Shift?
The news of the big shift in release cycles and upcoming new 2013 Windows release comes on the heels of Microsoft's
first report on the health of Windows 8 sales
In its release Microsoft announced that it had moved 40 million licenses in its first month of sales, despite no longer offering the free upgrades for purchasers who bought machines in the months leading up to the release (as it did with Windows 7).
will be quick to point that Microsoft reduced upgrade fees (albeit charging more of them), did not disclose its revenue associated with the upgrades, and did not disclose how many of its licenses sold to OEMs were resold.
Will Windows users embrace an Apple-like release schedule? [Image Source: Double DT]
Nonetheless, it appears Windows 8 wasn't the complete disaster some doomsayers predicted. It should be interesting whether Microsoft's next big shift at least receives as warm a welcome as Windows 8.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
12/3/2012 10:28:41 AM
I normally don't praise Jason Mick's work here, but he's managed to state the news without giving an editorial for once and captured all the appropriate aspects (upgrade/online sales, PC sales, sales vs. activations) or veering off into a tablet article (unlike our comment thread). I also agree with his conclusion: the success of Win8 is TBD, but it's definitely not the failure its critics were hoping for.
I haven't bought Win8 yet, but I'm going to. It's $40, it's a faster boot and lower memory footprint, and sure, it has some app things too. My typical usage pattern at my machine is "check weather/news/mail/etc" which are great apps, before proceeding to game or work on a project (which aren't).
"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer
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