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Windows "Blue" Will Be Free Update to Windows 8, RT Users

Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc said on Tuesday that the upcoming Windows 8.1 update will be free to Windows 8 customers through the Windows Store. Previously, it was assumed that customers would be required to pay at least $40 for the update, the same price they paid for the upgrade from Windows 7 before the end of January 2013.

The news follows a Q&A session with Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Windows Tami Reller during the JP Morgan Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in Boston. She told investors that Microsoft has sold more than 100 million Windows 8 licenses thus far, and that more than 70,000 apps are available in Windows Store. There are also a larger number of touch-based laptops on the market now starting at $400 USD.

She also took a moment to talk about Windows "Blue" which will be a free update to Windows 8 and Windows RT-based devices. She said the updates will be made available through Windows Store to make the transition extremely simple and painless.

"Tami reiterated our goal of delivering continual updates to create a richer experience for Windows customers," LeBlanc said. "Windows 8.1 is part of that and continues the journey we first began with Windows 8 last fall. Windows 8.1 will help us to deliver the next generation of PCs and tablets with our OEM partners and to deliver the experiences customers— both consumers and businesses alike —need and will just expect moving forward."

He added that additional information about Windows 8.1 will be released in the coming weeks. Consumers can also expect to see a public preview of Windows 8.1 and Windows RT starting June 26 during Microsoft's BUILD 2013 developer conference in San Francisco.

Microsoft has seemingly come under fire from all angles since the release of Windows 8, with OEMs complaining over declining sales and consumers complaining over the new interface and changes to the core platform. The update is rumored to address a number of issues consumers have faced with the new platform including a lack of a Start menu and booting up into the desktop.

However, despite the complaints from customers and OEMs, Windows 8 has definitely caused an increased trend in the PC market to break away from the standard box and clam shell form factors.

"Our OEM partners have delivered tablets, touch laptops, and convertibles that bring the vision of Windows 8 and mobile computing to life," he said. "They have introduced some incredible (and unique) new form factors like the Dell XPS 12, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13, the Sony VAIO Tap 20, or the recently announced Acer Aspire R7."

  • Cryio
    I can't wait .
  • enewmen
    Don't ask if Windows 8.1 is good enough for you. Ask if you are good enough for Windows 8.1
  • portentous
    Having used Windows 8 since its beta release. It's definitely a better OS than 7. Sure the learning curve is there, I guess MS over-estimated the IQ of the general public (I blame Apple for that).
    I am expecting an increase uptake of new laptop/PC towards the end of the year, with the release of Haswell and this re-tooled Windows8.1.
  • drwho1
    I'm currently using Windows Garbage... I mean Windows 8...
    I have 2 big issues with it.
    1) It takes too long to boot. (way longer than Windows 7)
    2) It doesn't recognize Sound properly...
    It has BIG problems with Sound Blaster Platinum FX, no matter which driver it sees ONLY Microsoft LAME drivers so I can't fully use my sound card, it takes a long boot and a restart
    to be able to get sound.
    According to my device manager I have 5 High Definition Sound Devices LOL
    I know that 1 of them is the actual Sound card, ALL of them have the SAME LAME driver.
    1 is my MONITOR, 1 is my HDTV, 1 is probably from my VIDEO card (although I never installed that driver either)
    I had the exact SAME configuration on Windows 7 and I only had ONE NOT 5 "sound devices" .... so this issue is definitely a Windows 8 driver problem.
    I hope that "windows 8.1" patches this issues.
    There are other issues like some programs or games do NOT run unless I run as administrator.... which make no sense, but I can live with that.... but the 2 issues that I mentioned above are really annoying.
  • halcyon
    So...basically its SP1 or am I misunderstanding something important?
  • irish_adam
    I think you are over estimating the advantages of windows 8, Its not that people aren't smart enough to learn how to use windows 8 its just that there is no point. Every time i have upgraded my OS there has been a reason behind it be it performance or better driver support. Windows 8 offers me nothing over windows 7, why should i bother learning a whole new OS for nothing? I'll just stick to windows 7 until i actually have a reason to upgrade.
  • the great randini
    sweeeeeet! I love free upgrades =)
  • PraxGTI
    This just in, Microsoft decides to not charge you for a SERVICE PACK.
    There was much rejoicing (yay).
  • ameera bates
    As someone who uses a tiny netbook, Windows 8 significantly faster than windows 7 in terms of startup and shut down. It's also faster in terms of internet browsing. Honestly, if you can work a smart phone, you can work a Windows 8 computer. It's really not difficult. However, the little edge in speed isn't really a reason to upgrade to Windows 8 unless you're like me and a tiny bit makes a huge difference. Also, I haven't had an audio issue with Windows 8. The only thing that's been a real pain is the resolution of my netbook not being compatible with Windows 8 apps. If it's really bothersome, just downscale the resolution. The image is a bit fuzzier, but you won't be bothered by incessant pop-ups saying that your resoution is too low to run an app. Hopefully, Windows Blue resolves this issue altogether. Regardless, I look forward to seeing the reviews on Windows Blue.
    Btw, I don't really want to run the Windows 8 apps... I just really hate that pop-up when I try to open Chrome.
  • Tarl Dichari
    Windows 8 is snappier, faster and uses less resources than Windows 7. It boots quicker and shuts down faster than any other OS ever. I can not stand the Metro I installed one of the many START button programs and have been enjoying Windows 8 since it's release. It is a GOOD thing that MS is fixing the START button issue with the upcoming release. They should have allowed that option to be enabled from the get go. As too boot times. I use an SSD for the OS......but from the BIOS screen to the desktop for me, 9 seconds. :)