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

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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  • DjEaZy
    ... 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...
  • godnodog
    I downgraded, happy so far
  • Murissokah
    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.
  • joecole1572
    I am still confused
  • tipmen
    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.
  • jaber2
    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
  • godnodog
    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.....
  • joecole1572
    ....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?
  • enewmen
    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
  • Da_Man
    @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