Russian pirate group WZOR, known to be a solid source of leaked Microsoft information, has obtained new details about Windows 9 and the rumored Windows 8.1 update that is expected to take place this Fall.
According to the report, Microsoft hasn't decided on what to call the update that will take place later this year. WZOR also doesn't seem to be sure about what exactly the Redmond-based company will release: a major update like Windows 8.1, or a minor one as seen with the recent Windows 8.1 Update. We've heard in the past that it could be the former, given that Microsoft may return the Start Menu, as shown during BUILD 2014 earlier this month.
As for Windows 9, the Start Menu will be a component of the next version of Microsoft's Modern UI interface, and will be a different concept than what we're used to seeing on Windows 7 and older. WZOR explains that the "classic" version will only be provided for systems that don't have a touch screen, and on server systems.
Based on the report, Windows 9 and Windows Cloud are two different operating systems. We've already heard that the company is working on a cloud-based version of Windows, and WZOR confirmed that a group within Microsoft is indeed working on a prototype. Similar to Office 365 where users download the software for free and pay a monthly subscription, Windows Cloud will have a similar setup.
That said, Windows Cloud will be similar to Google's own Chrome OS; both require an Internet connection. ZOR states that Windows Cloud will provide full functionality when online, and be limited in features in offline mode, similar to how Windows 7 Starter works.
Getting back to Windows 9 "Threshold," there's talk that Microsoft might make this platform free. That's unlikely; Microsoft will probably make the upgrade free to users of Windows 8.1 Update (2), or charge a small fee as seen with Windows 8. However, offering Windows 9 to OEMs free is a different story; it's possible but highly unlikely. We'll find out in Spring 2015.
As always, everything here is mere rumor and speculation. However, sources have been on the money with Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Update 1, so there's a good chance we'll see another update in October and a new OS in April 2015. Microsoft is doing a fine job catering to the mouse and keyboard crowd, so we can't wait to see what will become of the next two releases.