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 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.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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