Microsoft has released a new operating system every few years since 1985 beginning with Windows 1.0. This trend could be changing according to a new report obtained by The Verge.
An earlier leak in August seemed to suggest a similar quick update with the name of Windows Blue. It would be a mid-year release and a completely different strategy for the team in Redmond. Since that trusty first version, Microsoft has had new versions available for a somewhat hefty price. Enter Blue. The leak suggests it would release a new version on an annual basis for a small upgrade fee or possibly free. If it sounds familiar it should, as Apple has attempted it recently with great success. Google’s less popular Chrome OS is updated and has major UI changes on a regular basis. These upgrades are similar to to Microsoft’s Fix Packs, but are more feature based.
The once Microsoft PC dominated market has slowly begun to shift in Apple’s direction. Microsoft obviously sees value in offering a faster release cycle at a lesser cost. It is starting over with it’s mobile approach in Windows Phone and they could be doing the same with the PC market. Mobile users get updates to new versions on a fairly regular basis and these are all included for free. Users with an older iphone 4 can still update to the new iOS6 at no charge. Android devices, outside of their fragmentation issues, also upgrade to new major releases at no cost.
Tom Warren states, “We understand that you will need a genuine copy of Windows to upgrade to Windows Blue. Built-in apps and the Windows Store will cease functioning if a copy is upgraded that is pirated.” This could mean Microsoft is looking at piracy with a different view. Previously, it was fairly easy to pirate and upgrade a computer to a new operating system. If the option will be $29 for a new version versus $100-$200, Microsoft should crack down even harder on the pirate community.
Microsoft recently was offering a free upgrade to Media Center, but the keys were actually working for the full Windows 8 Pro software. This news spread like wildfire and who knows how many legitimate keys were given out.
Times are changing for Microsoft in all stages of the business. Everything from offering it’s popular Office Suite on competing mobile products, to a subscription based Office offer and now it looks like a different approach to their traditional upgrade process.
Next Version of Windows – Windows Blue
Microsoft is already hard at work on the next version of their operating system, which they’re code-naming, “Windows Blue.” It is going to be very cheap and quite possibly free. It will most likely end up keeping the “Windows 8” name and have lots of new features unifying it to Windows Phone 8.