Windows Blue to replace Windows 8 in 2013, sources claim
Posted on 29 Nov 2012 at 10:52, by Gareth Halfacree
Windows Blue looks likely to replace Windows 8 as early as next year, according to Microsoft insiders.
According to unnamed sources speaking to a Chinese news site, first spotted and translated into English by ZDNet, Microsoft is planning a major update to its operating system towards the second half of 2013 - and it is likely to keep doing so every year thereafter in a serious change to its release schedule that will see it brought closer to Apple's operating model.
Traditionally, Microsoft releases a major upgrade for its operating system once every two or three years: Windows XP was launched in 2001, followed by a 64-bit edition in 2003, which was replaced with Windows Vista in 2006, then Windows 7 in 2009 and finally Windows 8 in 2012. Each version represents a major change, and commands a high price for those who want to buy the new system outright. Between versions, the company releases 'Service Packs' - incremental updates, available for free, which fix bugs and security holes but which rarely add new features or change fundamentals.
Microsoft's rival Apple, however, uses a different model: each year it releases a revised version of its operating system, but charges significantly less per copy. While over a three-year period these add up to roughly the same as a move from a previous-generation Windows release to the latest version, it's possible for users to skip over a few updates and upgrade on their own schedule.
It's a model Microsoft is allegedly looking to duplicate: under the working codename Windows Blue, the company is rumoured to be looking at moving to an annual release cycle that will see the cost of its operating system slashed. Like Apple, Microsoft is likely to use an incremental naming mechanism: rather than Windows 9, the next version of Windows rumoured to be launching in 2013 will likely be called Windows 8.5 or similar - a method the company already uses on its Windows Phone platform.
Thus far, Microsoft hasn't commented on the rumour, but if it is looking at switching to an annual release cycle we can expect to see an announcement at the IFA 2013 trade show early next year.
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