January 13, 2014
Microsoft Could Release Details On Windows 9 At BUILD Conference
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Windows 8 hasn’t exactly been a smash hit for Microsoft since it arrived in the fall of 2012, and it was only last October that the company released an update to address many of the computer operating system’s bigger issues. This saw the return of some standard – even expected – features, such as a start button.
While Windows 8.1 was meant to resolve problems that came with Windows 8, Microsoft is apparently already looking ahead, reported Paul Thurrott on his popular “Supersite for Windows.”
On Monday, Thurrott reported that Microsoft could unveil a vision for the future of Windows at the BUILD developer conference scheduled for April of this year. The Redmond, Washington-based software giant is expected to unveil “Threshold,” the codename for a still year-off release that could eventually be Windows 9.
This could follow a service/pack/feature pack-type update, Thurrott added, which may be dubbed “Update 1” or “GDR1,” at least internally.
This is somewhat confusing as Windows 8.1 could be seen as the update to Windows 8, but it appears from online reports that this is actually the Windows 8.1 Update 1, Thurrott clarified on his post.
“Threshold is more important than any specific updates,” Thurrott wrote. “Windows 8 is tanking harder than Microsoft is comfortable discussing in public, and the latest release, Windows 8.1, which is a substantial and free upgrade with major improvements over the original release, is in use on less than 25 million PCs at the moment. That’s a disaster, and Threshold needs to strike a better balance between meeting the needs of over a billion traditional PC users while enticing users to adopt this new Windows on new types of personal computing devices. In short, it needs to be everything that Windows 8 is not.”
As a result, he added that Microsoft could be planning to drop the Windows 8 name and thus brand this next release as Windows 9 – even if it is really just another Windows 8.1 style upgrade.
This is not the first time that Microsoft has had to regroup with an operating system. Windows Vista, which arrived to business users in November of 2006 and consumers in 2007, was anything but a hit. It was soon succeeded by Windows 7, which as of September 2012 had surpassed Windows XP to become the most popular operating system worldwide.
Thurrott – and others online – also see comparisons between Windows Vista and Windows 8.
“In some ways, the most interesting thing about Threshold is how it recasts Windows 8 as the next Vista,” Thurrott added. “It’s an acknowledgment that what came before didn't work, and didn't resonate with customers. And though Microsoft will always be able to claim that Windows 9 wouldn't have been possible without the important foundational work they had done first with Windows 8—just as was the case with Windows 7 and Windows Vista—there's no way to sugarcoat this. Windows 8 has set back Microsoft, and Windows, by years, and possibly for good.”
However, not everyone sees only problems in Windows 8, or more specifically the Windows 8.1 update. Microsoft is clearly trying to address the changing market and create a one-size fits all OS.
“To be fair, Microsoft has done a great job with Windows 8.1,” wrote James Kendrick for ZDnet on Monday. “I even named it the most significant tech of 2013 and I stand by that. I find it a good laptop OS and a decent tablet OS. The latter is probably most important. Make no mistake, Windows is now a play for the mobile market for Microsoft.”
Kendrick added, “Windows 8.1 is a great OS, the greatest version of Windows ever. So far that doesn’t seem to be enough, and that's got to be a big worry for the folks in Redmond. The more the competition keeps growing in the mobile space, the greater the uphill struggle will be with Windows. It’s not the post-PC era that Microsoft needs to be concerned with, it’s the post-Windows era.”
The actual release of Windows 9 – or “Threshold” – could take place in three-milestones, where at least two, if not three versions will be released before the widespread public release. This would apparently give plenty of feedback – and possibly be meant to prevent another debacle that Microsoft surely can’t afford.
“These things don't happen in isolation,” added Thurrott. “The big and slow Vista arrived inauspiciously just as netbooks were taking off and Windows 8 arrived just as media tablets changed everything—and it’s fair to say that the technology world of today barely resembles that of 2006, creating new challenges for Windows. Threshold will target this new world. It could very well be a make or break release.”