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Windows Blue: Microsoft's Plan To Release a New Version of Windows Every Year 712

MrSeb writes "Way back in August, three months before the release of Windows 8, we learned about the existence of a project at Microsoft codenamed Blue. At the time it wasn't clear whether this was Windows 9, or some kind of interim update/service pack for Windows 8. Now, if unnamed sources are to be believed, Windows Blue is both of those things: a major update to Windows 8, and also the beginning of a major shift that will result in a major release of Windows every 12 months — just like Apple's OS X. According to these insiders, Blue will roll out mid-2013, and will be very cheap — or possibly even free, to ensure that 'Windows Blue [is] the next OS that everyone installs.' Exact details are still rather vague, but at the very least Blue will make 'UI changes' to Windows 8. The sources also indicate that the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 SDKs will be merged or standardized, to further simplify the development of cross-platform apps. Perhaps more important, though, is the shift to a 12-month release cadence. Historically, Microsoft has released a major version of Windows every few years, with the intervening periods populated with stability- and security-oriented service packs. Now it seems that Microsoft wants to move to an OS X-like system, where new and exciting features will be added on an annual basis. In turn, Microsoft will drop the price of these releases — probably to around $25, just like OS X."
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Windows Blue: Microsoft's Plan To Release a New Version of Windows Every Year

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  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @03:09PM (#42120641) Homepage
    Personally, I upgraded to windows 8 specifically because it was so cheap. At only $40, it was a steal compared what they've charged for previous versions of Windows. I'd be happy to pay $25 a year and always have the newest version of Windows.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @03:09PM (#42120653)

    So instead of $129 every 4/5 years, it's $25 each year. Yes, we're all being horribly ripped off.

  • by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @03:36PM (#42121073)

    Well, Microsoft has been in the minority here:

    - OS X every year or two
    - Android every 6 months, sometimes 9 months to a year
    - iOS every year
    - Ubuntu every 6 months (LTS every 2 years)

    You don't have to upgrade every time Microsoft puts out a new release. If they make it easier (say via Windows Update), then perhaps it won't be much more hassle than a service pack.

  • by localman57 ( 1340533 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @03:37PM (#42121083)
    They could go the way that Ubuntu does... say that they'll release patches for every 3rd version as long term support. The other two are consumer grade, but have shiny new features...
  • Re:$25? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by afidel ( 530433 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @03:38PM (#42121099)

    OEM copies of Windows only cost about $80, and with PC's lasting about 5 years that means MS is likely to see an ~50% increase in revenue per user if the OEM price drops to near what the upgrades cost and they get a significant attach rate. For their corporate cash cows it likely means that they'll see a higher adoption of SA which will once again increase revenue. Of course this assumes they can pull it off, and actually achieve a significant adoption rate instead of just significantly fracturing the market and driving people to seek more stable alternatives.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @03:39PM (#42121109)

    I can't see this working well. The masses and in particular businesses have a hard time upgrading for various reasons. It is such that they tend not to unless forced or a new computer is necessary. Manufacturers and in particular the companies designing the chipsets and selecting the chipsets for use in a particular system don't take into consideration future support. They don't provide adequate support beyond the period the system is for sale which is generally less than a year. Unlike with 100% free operating systems that are shipped with systems not dependent on proprietary drivers there is no assurance the hardware will even work with the next version of the operating system.

    ThinkPenguin's the only company whom really has a system worked out that can work well with this approach on a massive scale. They only ship free software friendly hardware so there is some assurance the hardware can be supported going forward without a commercial industry supporting it. Apple's a niche player and has similar issues with support long term as Microsoft does. While it works for the niche that they have it doesn't work well for the larger population. Apple would have an impossible time gaining mass adoption with its current approach. Trying to do with Microsoft Windows what Apple does with OS X in a niche market is never going to work well for users.

  • by sheehaje ( 240093 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @03:47PM (#42121205)

    I definitely agree with Enterprise shops not wanting this - unless there is some type of LTS cycle rolled in (a la Ubuntu). Usual enterprise cycles are 3 to 5 years. Nobody wants to retrain their staff every year on OS changes. Also, there are applications that don't cycle each year and would need to be retested. A lot of shops haven't even phased out Windows XP and are planning upgrades to Windows 7, not Windows 8.

    More and more I see Microsoft shooting themselves in the foot with this. They want Apple and Androids market - which is appealing because they are huge markets - but they are distancing themselves from their core strongholds. That could leave them loosing ground in all areas. Even Apple knows you don't but a tablet OS on a desktop. Microsoft has seemed intent on doing that and there still is a huge market for the desktop Market. Don't care how you slice it, spreadsheets, word processing, and content development is still all best done on a traditional desktop. I wouldn't be surprised if some linux distribution pushes to fill in the holes. Too bad Canonical is also trying for a slice of the already stuffed tablet and mobile market (face it, that's where the Unity interface has been headed) as there seems to be a looming gap that could actually make 2013 or 2014 the year of the linux desktop. No joking.

  • Re:New coke! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WGFCrafty ( 1062506 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @04:09PM (#42121507)
    And then in a few years they remove the classic from the name just like Coca Cola did in 2009 so they don't alienate younger customers who have no idea why it would be called classic in the first place.
  • by Cinder6 ( 894572 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @05:01PM (#42122177)

    Out of curiosity, when was the last fresh install you did? Are you using obscure hardware?

    I ask, because I've built two Windows boxes this year. Both of them auto-detected everything perfectly, including my printer. I was extra-surprised when the random, knock-off wireless dongle worked just fine in Windows 8--it didn't even bring up an "installing driver" popup, but simply worked. It even installed the most recent nVidia drivers without my doing anything. I was pleasantly surprised, even impressed.

  • by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @05:18PM (#42122431)

    It takes enterprises years to move from one release to another. Heck, I still see businesses still on XP because "it works", even though to bring a new XP install up to speed, it takes hundreds of patches.

    Enterprises would not be happy with MS, especially if a service life of a Windows release drops. It takes a lot of time for an OS to work through a company, because it takes training, security, and in some cases, legal approval for anything to be added or modified on a gold corporate image.

    MS's bread and butter is the enterprise. Honking those guys off is not a good idea.

    What I can see MS doing is splitting Windows into three releases: Server, Consumer, and Client. (This is different from editions.) Server and Client would be released on a four year cycle, while Consumer would feature all the latest bells and whistles and get updates on an annual basis. Presently, the closest it would be like would be XP Pro, and XP Media Center Edition.

  • by sheehaje ( 240093 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @05:35PM (#42122721)

    Support for XP ends April 8th, 2014, not 2013. FYI. We actually had to roll out another phase of XP upgrades to 2014 because of cuts to our operating budget - so I know the date very well.

    According to the Microsoft Lifecycle page [microsoft.com], you will have support for Windows 7 until 2020.

  • Re:So... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by batkiwi ( 137781 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @05:47PM (#42122939)

    Because ubuntu (the supported steam distro) doesn't do a release every 6 months requiring an upgrade proceedure (do-release-upgrade, a simple changing of sources.list and dist-upgrade typically results in broken packages) and yet another change to the window manager?

  • by Volshebnyj Molotok ( 1855270 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @06:12PM (#42123303)
    And they'll definitely be supporting it until then, I think. I really can't see Win8 getting much support or success in the corporate world. It's been said many times in many corners of the internets that Win7 will be the next XP... I say it already is.
  • by __aasdno7518 ( 2125020 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @09:17PM (#42125357)
    > I am so glad I'm not on the Windows merry-go-round. Same here. I left Windows for Linux 9 years ago and I am so glad.

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?