Microsoft Shifting to Annual Updates with "Windows Blue"

ZDNet originally revealed Windows Blue back in August. It's supposedly the codename for the next interim release, but at the time it was unknown if this release would be the first service pack, or a feature pack that would include both a rollup of fixes and new platform features. Much of the report was speculation although sources claimed it would be released in the summer of 2013.

A new report regarding Windows Blue claims that the "Blue" reference is actually the company's code name for a plan to standardize regular yearly updates to consumers of both Windows and Windows Phone platforms. This plan will begin next summer with the next desktop and mobile OS release although this latest report seemingly indicates that it's a full-blown platform launch rather than a mere service pack.

According to the report, Microsoft will offer the next release at an extremely low price point – much like it's currently doing with the Windows 8 Pro upgrade – or offer it for free to ensure that all Microsoft customers upgrade to the latest platform. Once the new platforms are launched, the SDKs will be updated and Microsoft will cease accepting apps developed for the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 platforms. Don’t' worry: current apps will still work in the newer release, sources said.

Interestingly enough, sources claim that Microsoft will stick with the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 labels for the foreseeable future. That said, the next yearly update slated for Summer 2013 may upgrade current consumers to Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, reverting back to the pre-Windows 95 numbering system. Or maybe we'll see Windows 8 Second Edition and Third Editions? Nah... it would much easier for Microsoft to keep both platforms on the name numerical system.

Lastly, sources said that consumers will naturally need a legitimate version of Windows to upgrade to the 2013 release. Those updating from a pirated copy will see their apps and the Windows Store itself case functioning. No surprise there.

Now here's something else to chew on. A recent DigiTimes report claimed that Microsoft chose Foxconn to manufacture Surface smartphones for a mid-2013 release. Coincidence? Probably not. As previously mentioned, Microsoft likely plans to launch a new build of Windows Phone 8 on the rumored Surface device much like Google does with its Nexus devices. This is probably the very OS release described in the "Blue" reports.

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  • jacobdrj
    Why not just turn a mobile OS into a subscription style service?
  • hate machine
    Tom Warren just seemed to repackage Mary Jo's article and add his own spin on the subject based on his "Sources".
  • then they are gonna release red, and yellow. Gotta catch them all.
  • stickmansam
    Not surprising given that they want to compete in the mobile/tablet space and frequent updates/upgrades those markets have. Also deems quite similar to the way Apple does OSX.
    Guess we're gonna be stuck with windows 8 for quite a while on desktop. Its livable but still don't like it as much as when I moved form XP to 7
  • esrever
    Windows blue would always be the color of the BSOD for me.
  • techcurious
    I liked my Windows ecosystem the way it was. I love Windows 7. And I am really hating my Windows 8 installed on a second PC (I have to learn how to use it for work!). I am feeling extremely let down by Microsoft's desire to follow in Apple's steps.. Yearly incremental OS upgrades? Take away our Start Menu by force, make things harder to get to? Microsoft is betraying it's loyal desktop userbase just so it can promote it's future (OS) in the tablet and smartphone landscape. I used to confidently defend the virtues of Windows over OS-X , but now I am ashamed of Microsoft.. Yes, Windows 7 is still as good as it was and I can happily use it for the next 5 years or more.. but it's hard to argue in favour of Microsoft based on their older OS when the current direction they are taking us looks really bad. I don't care how good Windows 8 is underneath, the User Interface (aesthetically and ease of use) is equally important! I wholeheartedly hope Windows8 fails miserably.. so that Microsoft will be forced to see their mistakes, like they did with Vista (but sadly, they seem to have very short memory).
  • bigdragon
    Microsoft, don't fix what ain't broke. I see all sorts of future segmentation problems being caused by this plan. I also don't see why they expect me to pay for something I already can get for free from Google and Apple. Some really bizarre thinking is going on at Microsoft no doubt spurred by Apple's insane profits.
  • internetlad
    Those updating from a pirated copy will see their apps and the Windows Store itself case functioning.

    >>case functioning

    nice proofread as usual, Kevin.
  • DirectXtreme
    Good thing I stayed off Windows 8. News like this leads me to believe Microsoft and PC hardware manufacturers are actively trying to mimic Apple's business model and kill off open platforms. I will stick with my x86 Windows 7 gaming computer until the bitter end.
  • Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer
    sennamonteathen they are gonna release red, and yellow. Gotta catch them all. :p