Windows Blue Is Microsoft’s Next OS, Will Move To Annual Release Cycle [Report]

    November 28, 2012
    Zach Walton
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Windows has always been on its own extended release cycle. Microsoft releases a new version of the OS, and then develops the next version over the next couple of years. For instance, Windows 7 released three years ago in 2009, and we’re only now just seeing the release of Windows 8. That strategy might just change next year.

The Verge reports that Microsoft’s next operating system is codenamed Windows Blue. It will launch in mid-2013, and follow an annual release cycle like Apple’s OS X.

According to The Verge’s sources, Windows Blue will feature a few UI changes, but the real star is the new annual release cycle. That means that Microsoft will be following Apple’s footsteps in providing cheap annual updates instead of the usual service packs that extended the lives of previous Windows operating systems. The best part is that the report suggests Microsoft may even offer the Windows Blue annual upgrades for free to ensure everybody is on the same page.

Developers will be affected by the change, however, in that they will no longer be able to build apps specifically for Windows 8. The merging of the Windows 8 and Windows Phone platforms will require developers to build specifically for Windows Blue. That being said, the apps built on Windows 8 will reportedly work on Windows Blue.

The move to an annual release cycle will also help Microsoft cut down on the rampant software piracy that Windows always suffers. Those using a pirated copy of Windows 8 will find that built-in apps and the Windows Store will cease functioning after upgrading to Windows Blue. It does not say if those with pirated copies will be offered a legitimate copy after upgrading, but it seems like the logical choice.

If Windows Blue is real, it will be a refreshing change of pace for the Windows platform. Microsoft needs to speed up iterations of Windows, and this will accomplish just that. It will also help the company stave off increasing competition from Apple and Google – both of which offer operating systems that are frequently updated with new features.

  • http://www.frogdice.com Michael Hartman

    My god, this is horrible.

    So now we can have a hyper fragmented desktop OS situation just like Android?

    So a year from now, PC developers will have to worry about:

    XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows Blue

    What a nightmare.

    One of the reasons Windows was better than MacOS was precisely because of the relative longevity of the OS.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/author/zach-walton Zach Walton

      It would appear that Microsoft will be offering Windows Blue to Windows users for cheap or free to avoid such a scenario. Even then, it might not be so easy for the millions of people still on XP. MS could call for developers to stop supporting the platform, but that’s easier said than done.

    • Bob

      Michael…have you ever developed for Mac OS? Do you know anything about it other than it is not Windows? The reason I ask you is because Mac OS is a port of FreeBSD which makes it a *nix-based machine. Software on *nix-based OSes usually still work on the next few major releases unless a method is called differently in the OS itself that the app requires for functionality. I’m not an experienced programmer, but its not hard to see this. Developers for Mac OS only really needed to focus in on their apps during the past few Mac OS updates due to Apple removing support for PPC based applications due to removing Rosetta, which was a helper program for converting PPC code into Intel code. 10.6 was the first release to not support PPC architecture processors as an OS and the last release to provide users with Rosetta, also the move to 10.8 did away with major 32-bit support. These architecture changes in the OS upgrades alone were necessary to move forward with addressable RAM limitations. Please read some news articles on why developer were forced to change their code before you leak out again and make yourself sound uneducated. Thanks.

  • http://AaronProductions.deviantart.com Aaron

    I find this to be quite the refreshing release cycle as well! The anticipation of a new operating system is usually quite frustrating. And with this update schedule, developers are always in the know and users are always getting the latest and greatest yearly development.

    I’m also wondering how much further Microsoft could push UI changes. Although metro IS fast and fluid, it’s sliding towards both unprofessional and lacking in the eye candy that xp — and eventually vista — brought to us users. I’d be personally satisfied if they simply added back aero glass. Another nice change would be to further customize the layout of the start screen. Simply having tiles aligned to the top left of the screen and stack downwards into columns is rather unfitting for touchscreens, laptops, and desktops alike. Being able to sort into rows, or change the default alignment of the tiles could bring about some increased productivity — especially for those who use the bottom left and right corners of their tablet or phone exclusively. The fact that microsoft advised pinning tiles to the bottom left corner of the screen in their building windows 8 blog even goes against the default layout.

    I can only dream of what changes they might bring to Windows Blue.