Print 83 comment(s) - last by Cheesew1z69.. on May 20 at 1:32 PM

Name of OS is also confirmed

Until now, we knew (officially) that an unnamed successor to Windows 8 would enter Release Preview testing next month at Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFTBUILD Conference.  Now that unnamed release has received an official title.  

At JP Morgan & Chase Comp.'s (JPM) Media and Telecom conference today Windows chief financial officer Tami Reller confirmed rumors that the upcoming OS, codenamed Windows Blue, would be christened "Windows 8.1".

More importantly, the update -- which reportedly will allow users to boot to desktop, return some semblance of the Start button (albeit one that dumps users into Metro), and include better mouse support in Metro -- will be offered for free to Windows 8 customers.  The update will be distributed via the Windows Store.

OEMs are hopeful the update will revive floundering PC sales.  Q1 2013 marked the worse percentage drop in PC unit sales in history.

Tami Reller
Tami Reller announced today that Windows 8.1 will be free. [Image Source: Microsoft News]

Tami Reller yet again addressed Microsoft's sentiments on another key topic -- Windows RT.  Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930), The Lenovo Group, Ltd. (HKG:0992), Dell Inc. (DELL), and Acer Inc. (TPE:2357) -- have attacked the OS [1][2][3][4] have all attacked complaining about its lack of legacy compatibility and Microsoft's poor marketing of the platform.  Many of these OEMs have refused to release Windows RT products, sinking sales to an anemic 200,000 tablets in Q1 2013.  But Microsoft, like its hardware partners Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM) and NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) [1][2][3], is standing clearly behind the platform.

In a statement at the conference Ms. Reller stated, "We need the flexibility of ARM"

Windows RT
Microsoft is standing behind its ARM product, looking to new form factors.
[Image Source: TalkVietnam]

There may be relief in sight for Windows on ARM (WOA), aka Windows RT.  One of the improvements Windows 8.1 is expected to bring is UI adjustments to accommodate 7- and 8-inch displays.  The explosion of this lower-priced segment helped propel another struggling tablet platform -- Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android -- from a bit player to a serious contender, with designs like the Samsung Galaxy Tab,, Inc. (AMZN) Kindle Fire, and ASUSTek Computer, Inc. (TPE:2357) Google-branded Nexus 7 tablet.

There's not much Microsoft can do about the legacy compatibility issue, other than to try to foster the growth of ARM-compatible apps in the Windows Store.  But hopefully Microsoft improves its educational efforts, both in general on how to use Windows 8 (for new users) and the differences between Windows 8/8.1 and RT (for potential ARM device buyers).

Source: Microsoft

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RE: Excellent Move.
By Arsynic on 5/14/2013 4:01:51 PM , Rating: 4
Everyone pretty much assumed that Windows Blue would be a service pack.

Unless you somehow knew that MS would do like Apple and charge for it and later changed their mind. Do you?

RE: Excellent Move.
By maevinj on 5/14/2013 4:04:50 PM , Rating: 2
For some reason, I've been under the impression that they were going to charge for it. I'm not sure why. Guess I'm just use to greedy corporations charging the end user for their screw ups.

RE: Excellent Move.
By Akrovah on 5/14/2013 4:23:41 PM , Rating: 2
I too had been under the assumtion that it would be a charged upgrade. I figured a small (for a Microsft OS) amount, like say $50.

My guess is this is because they are naming it something that sounds similar to Apple's upgreades with the x.x naming rather than calling it what it essentially is, Service Pack 1.

RE: Excellent Move.
By cfaalm on 5/14/2013 5:48:29 PM , Rating: 2
$ 50 would have been way too much imho. OSX upgrades have been below $ 50. With the flack that W8 caught I think MS wouldn't take the risk of even more negative publicity around W8 by charging even a low amount.

RE: Excellent Move.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/14/2013 8:20:24 PM , Rating: 2
$50 was more than the OS at launch!!

RE: Excellent Move.
By BRB29 on 5/15/2013 8:11:12 AM , Rating: 2
$50? when they were giving it away for $15?
Even past the expiration date of that offer, it's still allowing you to buy Win8 Pro for $15. They are that desperate.

RE: Excellent Move.
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/15/2013 10:23:29 AM , Rating: 3
where is it for 15? because if that's the case,I will buy it.

RE: Excellent Move.
By seeker353 on 5/16/2013 12:24:44 PM , Rating: 2
They had an offer going that ended (IIRC) on 1 March. You could buy a full retail Windows 8 Pro license for $15 as long as you owned a registered, non-pirated license for Windows Vista or 7. I'm not sure what it's going for now.

RE: Excellent Move.
By Akrovah on 5/15/2013 10:45:49 AM , Rating: 2
Apparently $50 was too much for some people.

I was just throwing a number out there that seemed reasonable compared to thier usualy multi-hundred dollar prices for new OSes (not taking into account launch promo prices), which is what the name implied rather than a simple update.

RE: Excellent Move.
By hiscross on 5/19/2013 12:30:54 PM , Rating: 2
"greedy corporations" sure everything should be free. That has always worked. Just look at North Korea, free food, free housing, free speech, and in the end a perfect place to live. Oh, the Soviet Union was great until they shut it down for some reason. Hope and Change.

RE: Excellent Move.
By nikon133 on 5/14/2013 5:13:59 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure MS did talk about dropping model with new OS every 3 years with free SPs in-between, and doing cheap incremental OS updates every year instead. I cannot recall if that was mentioned as something they decided to do from now on, scheduled to do in future or just considered as an option.

RE: Excellent Move.
By CZroe on 5/14/2013 9:14:30 PM , Rating: 2
"Everyone pretty much assumed that Windows Blue would be a service pack."

You must not have been around for Windows 98 Second Edition less than 10 months after Windows 98.

RE: Excellent Move.
By jabber on 5/16/2013 6:02:44 AM , Rating: 3
And Win95 and Win95 OSR2 which brought new goodies to the OS.

Things change.

RE: Excellent Move.
By rs2 on 5/14/2013 10:50:44 PM , Rating: 2
It is a service pack, in all but name.

RE: Excellent Move.
By B3an on 5/14/2013 11:51:22 PM , Rating: 2
It's not a SP. Nothing about it is anything like a SP. No SP has ever added anything even close to half as many features as 8.1, let alone a new kernel. Even MS have said it's not an SP.

This is an update. Equivalent to an OSX update, but even in its unfinished state the leaked builds probably have more new stuff than a typical OSX update. MS are now doing yearly updates to Windows.

RE: Excellent Move.
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/15/2013 4:36:16 PM , Rating: 2
I said this in another article, and kept being told I didn't know what I was talking about. The price, I was wrong about, but it appears it will be free for existing 8 users, didn't see anything about non 8 users.

RE: Excellent Move.
By arthur449 on 5/17/2013 7:24:48 AM , Rating: 2
It's similar to Windows XP Service Pack 2, which Microsoft was also mulling over whether to charge for it and/or call it Second Edition.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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