Sunday 2 December 2012

'Blue' could be Microsoft's new, low-cost version of Windows

Windows 8 is barely two months old and we already have rumours of Microsoft working on a new version of the operating system. Citing “sources familiar with the company’s plans", The Verge reports that Microsoft is already working on a new Windows version – codenamed Blue – that would be in the form of an update to be released in mid-2013. This is apparently part of Microsoft’s efforts to provide Windows and Windows Phone users updates on a more regular basis. We may see Microsoft pushing out annual updates for Windows, similar to what Apple does with its OSX platform.

The report cites sources as stating that Microsoft would still be using the Windows 8 brand for future updates. The update will incorporate changes to the user interface as well as the entire platform. The Verge’s sources even state that the pricing of the new operating system will undergo changes—Microsoft would make Windows Blue available at a low price point or even for free to ensure that users upgrade. The Verge states that Microsoft would update the Windows SDK and stop accepting apps built solely for Windows 8 once Blue is out, but you’ll be able to run Windows 8 apps on Blue just fine.

However, it appears that you’ll need to have a previous version of Windows installed to upgrade to Windows Blue. Also, if Blue is installed on a pirated copy of Windows 8, the built-in apps and the Windows Store would stop functioning.

Microsoft may be planning to standardise its approach for releasing regular updates with Windows Blue, but it’s not doing too bad with Windows 8. The company’s Chief Marketing and Financial Officer for Windows, Tami Reller, recently revealed that it has sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses since its launch on October 26. However, Reller has not mentioned whether these figures are derived from Windows 8 licenses sold directly to consumers, upgrade license sales, or channel sales.

Reller also stated that Microsoft has certified 1,500 computers and tablets for Windows 8 so far, and that the number of apps available in the Microsoft app store has doubled since it was launched. She also mentioned that some applications in the Windows Store have earned more than $25,000 in revenue so far.

While speaking at a meeting for software developers at Microsoft's headquarters near Seattle in late October, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stated that the company had sold more than 4 million upgrade licenses in the first three days of its launch. He had also predicted that hundreds of millions of Windows systems would be sold over the next year, and said that the company was seeing strong interest from business users. Ballmer had earlier stated that Windows 8 was outselling the previous version, Windows 7, at the same stage after launch three years ago.

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