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Windows Blue Leak Confirms 8.x Naming Scheme; Microsoft Slashing RT Fee

By - Source: ZDNet | B 29 comments

The next Windows release will be v8.1 according to another leaked build.

As expected, Microsoft's Windows Blue release blanket will consist of Windows Pro 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1, slated to hit RTM around August of 2013. The news is based on a screenshot from a more recent version of Windows 8, Build 9375, which follows the Build 9364 version that was leaked just last week.

Unnamed sources have confirmed with ZDNet that the latest screenshot is no April Fools' joke, and that Microsoft is expected to roll out the incremental updates in August. The news backs up comments made by Microsoft executives like Windows Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller who said that Windows 8 is a "product of multiple selling seasons".

The recent leak showed that the Redmond company isn't planning to launch a whole new OS, but to make enhancements and changes that surpass a mere Service Pack. Some critics claim the update will make the desktop even more irrelevant by pushing additional core utilities to the Modern UI interface.

Currently there's no indication that Microsoft plans to bring the Start button back despite consumers complaining over the missing feature long before the OS went retail. If anything, this feature should have a toggle switch, allowing those upgrading to Windows 8 to slowly get used to the idea rather than cut them off from the Start menu completely.

Meanwhile, rumors of Microsoft cutting Windows RT licensing fees has surfaced again, this time by Topeka Capital analyst Brian White. He's currently on a "China-Taiwan Technology Tour" talking to people in the industry who claim that Microsoft wants to take on Android by reducing the price of Windows 8 for tablets by 35- to 40-percent.

The problem Microsoft faces is that Google offers the Android OS for free. Google also doesn't depend on software and hardware sales, but rather revenue generated from ads. Microsoft's meat and potatoes is Windows although its Xbox and Windows Phone divisions help keep Steve Blamer's pockets full of cash. That said, Microsoft may not be able to fully compete because OEMs will likely choose a free OS over one with a licensing fee.

In addition to fighting Android, Microsoft is also trying to lure in Mac and iOS developers by offering free copies of Windows 8 Pro and Parallels Desktop 8 via a QuickStart kit on a USB stick. Actually it's not free: potential developers are required to donate $25 to one of three charities, and $8 for shipping ($16 outside the U.S.).

"Costs to purchase software and licensing can be difficult if you’re that startup looking for your first big breakthrough," said Sandeep Singhal, Group Program Manager, Internet Explorer. "Today we’re making it just a little easier with a new combo offer."

For more information about the QuickStart Kit, head here.




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Top Comments
  • 14 Hide
    Murissokah , April 3, 2013 9:06 AM
    So they will keep forsaking the one thing they excel at, which is desktop PC operational systems.

    The need to explore mobile markets is very understandable, but they are taking their main business for granted.
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    DjEaZy , April 3, 2013 8:38 AM
    ... so what? No option to use desktop only mode? I pass... and now there is 13 people in know, that downgraded form WinH8 to Win7... and the longest, that one of them haz used WinH8 waz just 3 weeks... it is stupid on a laptop... plain stupid...
  • 9 Hide
    godnodog , April 3, 2013 8:59 AM
    I downgraded, happy so far
  • Display all 29 comments.
  • 14 Hide
    Murissokah , April 3, 2013 9:06 AM
    So they will keep forsaking the one thing they excel at, which is desktop PC operational systems.

    The need to explore mobile markets is very understandable, but they are taking their main business for granted.
  • 0 Hide
    joecole1572 , April 3, 2013 9:12 AM
    I am still confused
  • 1 Hide
    tipmen , April 3, 2013 9:13 AM
    First off @DjEaZy please do not type like that.
    Second, I agree with you. I honestly have nothing truly against Windows 8. However, from my own experience I couldn't get used to Window8.....Maybe I don't like change or maybe I like the easy to use windows 7. Microsoft just needs to admit they made a mistake with windows 8 and give us the opition for our UI. Not just some half baked one they have now.
  • -1 Hide
    jaber2 , April 3, 2013 9:13 AM
    I think Microsoft has jumped the gun here, they had a good OS for the first time in a long time and decided to take a left turn, Windows 8 should and was Microsoft's introduction to SmartPhone market, which is fine, you will see more people using Windows for the first time as long as you get a Windows 8 SmartPhone, it shouldn't have been the otherway around, people would have got familiar with Windows on their SmartPhone and would have then moved to Windows 7
  • 0 Hide
    godnodog , April 3, 2013 9:13 AM
    Microsoft need to sack the team or the head chief of the team that designed W8 interface for Pc´s and also the guy(s) responsible for Hotmail Outlook fiasco.....
  • 3 Hide
    joecole1572 , April 3, 2013 9:13 AM
    ....Sorry about the premature post. What I was going to say was, I am still confused if you will have to pay for Windows 8.1 if you already have windows 8. Does anybody know?
  • -5 Hide
    enewmen , April 3, 2013 9:22 AM
    If Windows 8.1 is really missing the Backup and Restore image feature, then that IS a tangible downgrade.
    Personally I'm willing to try Windows 8.1 IF it's possible for the new Metro to do every Win7 can do and better with a little setting up.

    Why can't M$ simply make the product line more like this: looks much more simple and intuitive
    Windows 8 Phone - (ARM & x86), - dump the old Windows phone 8 if RT is better.
    Windows 8 Tablet - like the phone version but for larger touch screens & no calling (ARM & x86)
    Windows 8 Home, Pro, Ultimate (ARM & x64) for desktops that use a real mouse & keyboard.
    All versions will use Metro (after it's fixed), same kernel, same libraries, etc.
    -my 2 cents
  • -2 Hide
    Da_Man , April 3, 2013 10:02 AM
    @joecole1572 probably not if you already have win8, but microsoft can follow mac upgrade path, that you need to pay for major revision... time will tell though :) 

    anyway regarding no start menu, after using a while i really don't need them anymore sure it feel missing something but as u get used to win8. you don't really need start menu anymore
  • 3 Hide
    lost_in , April 3, 2013 10:32 AM
    from 8 to 8.1. At the very least MS know how to use version numbers (coughFF & Chrome versionscough)
  • 6 Hide
    kawininjazx , April 3, 2013 10:35 AM
    If they would just put the start menu back they would make so many people happy. Windows 8 was a huge mistake after releasing such a great OS like windows 7. I also didn't like what happened to Ubuntu's interface either. They try to make everything simple, but it just winds up being confusing.
  • -2 Hide
    frontliner , April 3, 2013 11:46 AM
    I don't think you guys understand the economies of scale in software development. Two completely different start menus means two different sets of code to manage, update, test, and so forth. You are also not taking into account that if a push is not made for touch, then the OEMs of both PCs and monitors will not make an effort to push their devices forward tech wise. For example, if MS didn't make a really good tablet, would the OEMs have ever stepped up to compete with make a good one too? They are trying to break the cycle of utter crap that has plagued the PC market (ex. PCs vs Apple hardware).
  • -2 Hide
    catfishtx , April 3, 2013 11:49 AM
    I have turned away three customers so far that want me to remove Win8 and go back to Win7. I told them to try Win8 for at least another month, but after that, if you still want Win7 back, I will do it then.
  • 1 Hide
    lradunovic77 , April 3, 2013 12:13 PM
    Windows 8 is flop, 8.1 will be another flop so who cares. We got Windows 7. There is nothing wrong with Windows 8, just unusable on Desktop, even on Tablet.
  • 3 Hide
    jhansonxi , April 3, 2013 12:43 PM
    Quote:
    That said, Microsoft may not be able to fully compete because OEMs will likely choose a free OS over one with a licensing fee.
    Funny how that works. Supposedly one of the reasons M$ and Win95 beat IBM and OS/2 was that the development kit for the latter was rather expensive as compared to the Windows SDK.
  • 0 Hide
    rantoc , April 3, 2013 12:53 PM
    kawininjazxIf they would just put the start menu back they would make so many people happy. Windows 8 was a huge mistake after releasing such a great OS like windows 7. I also didn't like what happened to Ubuntu's interface either. They try to make everything simple, but it just winds up being confusing.


    Every other windows is a screw up, just that they make that screw up in a 8.1 flavor as well this time.

    After burning their finger on the matches 4-5 times now... don't MS ever learn?
  • 2 Hide
    Soda-88 , April 3, 2013 12:59 PM
    frontlinerI don't think you guys understand the economies of scale in software development. Two completely different start menus means two different sets of code to manage, update, test, and so forth. You are also not taking into account that if a push is not made for touch, then the OEMs of both PCs and monitors will not make an effort to push their devices forward tech wise. For example, if MS didn't make a really good tablet, would the OEMs have ever stepped up to compete with make a good one too? They are trying to break the cycle of utter crap that has plagued the PC market (ex. PCs vs Apple hardware).

    What are you on about? Start Menu is just a hub for shortcuts and it doesn't require 'separate sets of code'. That's why Classic Shell and other such tools were so easily made/integrated into Windows 8.
  • -2 Hide
    pat , April 3, 2013 12:59 PM
    ClassicShell takes 2 minutes tu download and install, while downgrading takes much more time.. I'm perfectly happy with Windows 8 and my start button back thank to Classicshell.

    If I had found my Windows 7 disk when I changed the HDD in my computer, I would not have buy W8 at 49$ before christmas and installed it. A 2 minutes google search point me to classicshell to add a start button and boot directly to desktop instead of the other UI.

    Sure, I could have spend lot of time to write to every forum about how bad is Windows 8 and how crap is the new UI. Or, how it makes my mother sad and killed my cat.

    I just choose a more constructive option, that had me to use IE to go to ninite.com and download all my apps and got them installed. Once rebooted, Windows 8 was just like W7 without aero..
  • -3 Hide
    newyorkcitymale , April 3, 2013 1:16 PM
    I think there's a chance that the "8.1" is an April Fool's joke, because there is evidence (based on rumors, mind you) that Windows Blue will be called Windows 9.

    Why do I say that? (1) Because several job postings say that engineers are already testing Windows 9 on phones. If Windows 9 isn't due until November 2014, would they already be testing it now... or would they be testing Windows Blue? (2) Another rumor was that IE11 will be released with Windows 9. Okay, makes sense, but then why is it being integrated into Windows Blue? Would Microsoft really release a beta browser with an OS update (Windows Blue)? I doubt it. (3) Microsoft has said that they're going to speed up their update schedule. Well, is calling Windows Blue "Windows 8.1" really speeding anything up if Windows 9 won't be released until 2.5 years after Windows 8? (4) The kernel number for Windows Blue has increased to "6.2" (1/10th of a point), which is usually reserved for a new OS number, not a service pack. (5) Why give a code name to a service pack... or to just bump up the kernel number? I suspect that Windows Blue includes a lot more changes than are being leaked.

    Again, this is all speculation on my part & I have no inside knowledge.
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