Next Windows may be free, yearly upgrades, possible 2013 launch

By on November 28, 2012, 5:30 PM

Tired of using the same operating system for years? Microsoft certainly hopes so. The Redmond-based software maker is hoping "Windows Blue" will change how consumers perceive Windows by introducing frequent, periodic upgrades (e.g. annual releases), akin to Apple's aggressive Mac OS X release schedule.

Perhaps most surprisingly though -- and get your salt shakers ready -- rumor has it that Windows Blue is poised for a summer 2013 launch. It's not necessarily known if Blue will be a stand-alone Windows release, a service pack or simply Microsoft's latest Windows platform strategy, but one thing's for sure: the company hopes to lure users into rapid-fire Windows releases.

While annual Windows upgrades are likely to offend some customers, Microsoft is aiming to provide some incentive. First, new releases will be greatly discounted or possibly even free -- presumably a feat made possible by revenue generated by the Windows Store. It's fair to say that if the price is right (i.e. free) and the changes between versions subtle, Microsoft may actually be able to make this transition without consumers rioting in the streets.

However, the second incentive could be slightly more devious: planned obsolescence. When Windows Blue hits, Microsoft is expected to introduce a new Windows SDK and stop accepting apps created specifically for Windows 8. That's according to The Verge. With so much emphasis on the Windows Store, Microsoft could wield rapidly-changing platforms as a weapon, influencing users to upgrade or lose access to the latest apps.

A plan like this could be utilized to force users into yearly Windows upgrades in perpetuity, but we'll have to wait and see. I suspect Microsoft will stick its Windows lifecycle policy which promises users around 5 years of mainstream support -- I believe the "spirit" of this policy extends to compatibility with the Windows Store too. Incidentally, the company recently committed to over four years of mainstream hardware and software support for Surface RT -- a tablet which runs Windows 8 RT.

Speaking of SDKs, with the introduction of Windows Blue, the Windows SDK will be "standardized". There is some speculation that this could be the Windows singularity: the point which Windows 8 and Windows 8 Phone begin to merge. Windows 8 and WP8 both share the same kernel, after all.

User Comments: 21

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Guest said:

"planned obsolescence."

This is something anyone frugal-minded will avoid like the plague. Even if the software is free, the requirements likely won't be.

zirtoc zirtoc said:

Thank God. I'm really into update nag screens and weekly downloads taking up my bandwidth. Windows upgrades are the answer I've been looking for!

2 people like this | Littleczr Littleczr said:

Way to ruin a great OS Microsoft.! Maybe in the future il take a look at Linux.

2 people like this | techseven said:

Linux is starting to look more attractive, specially now that I don't play cutting edge games any more...

dikbozo said:

Could be a good idea, if it works like the Linux distros. Look at this as an opportunity to ditch the W8 UI (may it bitrot in pieces). Now if Secure boot could be ditched...

tragicallyhip said:

Should read 'Microsoft could wield rapidly-changing platforms as a weapon, influencing users to upgrade or lose interest'

Ps. Steam will be fully supported on Linux by this time,so bye,bye MS I don't need you for ANYTHING anymore.

vis12345 said:

The only thing that made them sell 40 million is by the faster Windows 8 OS and giving at cheap rates. Other than those, most didn't like it. People didn't buy it with happiness. They bought only for the upgrade offer pricing. I think MS counted OEM products and upgrades as 40 million. And the next shock is Windows Blue. That too in mid-2013 will make devs and consumers who just bought and learning Windows 8 Apps. I think Windows Blue will be just OS and nothing. They'll give it for free but will charge for all s/w or apps they gave with previous versions(like Media Center, Media Player, IE, Reader, Recovery Manager,.............everything). Already people are altering registry and using other tools to make Windows 8 better(to get the feel of Windows 7. And MS needs to learn from the issues and should give time for next OS(to make it stable). But they had just made a huge huge mistake!

I think its time for change of Ballmer with Bill Gates' comeback/any new CEO to correct Ballmer's faults and recover MS from his hands. If MS wants to compete with Apple/anything, it must be stable and good to users and Devs.

3 people like this | MrBungle said:

Windows 7... Supported till 2020... Hopefully by then Valve will have a massive gaming community built on Linux and I can move on to something a bit less schizophrenic.

1 person liked this | Sphynx Sphynx said:

Ps. Steam will be fully supported on Linux by this time,so bye,bye MS I don't need you for ANYTHING anymore.

It doesn't mean that all games offered by Steam will be available in Linux. Unless you want to play games only from Valve, it won't be enough for those who want to see more than just Valve's titles alone. Take Mac OS X, for example. It has been over two years since Steam supports Mac OS X, but number of big titles ported to the Mac is still relatively low.

PinothyJ said:

Except that is the old Windows logo :/...

Guest said:

Microsoft said they would support the surface for 4.5 years. If they support the surface they have to support windows 8. I'm calling fubar. Everyone seems mad that they might have to pay to upgrade every year. Look at it this way, you used windows 7 for 4 years. If you bought the OEM version then it was about $100. People are going to complain about $25 a year? Activison stops supporting cod games a year after they come out and no one complains about that. They end up being $120 after dlc. People pay $60 for a game they might only play for a few weeks. Even if it was 50 or 60 a year it'd still be good, especially if there is no home/pro/ultimate editions. I know someone will reply saying, "I don't buy games, all I use my computer for is surfing the web." well, Linux is free and that surfs the web just fine. They only said things in the windows store, nothing is stopping google from making chrome for other versions.

again, seeing what they said about the surface makes this seem quite unlikely.

Guest said:

Linux Mint OS is one possible alternative for desktop and laptop computing.

The latest release is exceptional (Linux Mint 14 - 64bit MATE edition). It has an interface that is actually intuitive for keyboard and mouse operation.


The only flaw is that it can't run Windows programs natively. This can of course be accomplished to some extent by installing WINE.

ReactOS is another significant open source OS in development that could eventually eclipse everything else. This OS is intended as a free replacement for Windows. Compatibility with Windows massive program and driver catalog should not be an issue for this OS.

misor misor said:

Maybe 'windows blue' is just a preview of what's coming next: a subscription-based windows OS.

subscription-based products:

antivirus, antimalware, antispyware

tune up utilities

cloud storage

music streaming, video streaming

magazines, comics, news (online)

Guest said:

Windows blue, sounds a subscription windows to me, it will turned into blue if you haven't paid the subscription that will make you in the blue

Guest said:

Microsoft's goal is to force a continuous stream of products that you will have to pay for in one way or another. Businesses in general would rather have a constant revenue stream than having sporadic sales. The subscription based model is the future. Of course you can choose Linux or something else that follows a different model.

Guest said:

Sounds like a great idea.

Oh, your thinking of going to Linux because you don't like changes? Linux has been around for a long time, no one's stopping you from changing. Maybe you can ask for some cheese with that whine.

I love how people cry about "Ah man, it's not COMPLETELY free!?" Even if pieces were subscription based, I'm pretty sure it would be a lot cheaper than the things people waste their money on anyway.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

I haven't installed Windows 8 yet, but already feeling 'blue'

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

LOL@the threats to go Linux. Pathetic.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Hahahanoobs said:

"LOL@the threats to go Linux. Pathetic."

Obviously the above poster/troll is someone who is unable to distinguish threats from facts.:) I will migrate to Linux if Microsoft continues to blindly treat desktop users like tablet users in Windows 9. That's not a threat. It's a fact. Once Valve has Steam working reliably on Linux most gamers will drop Windows 8 and their tablet OS. Microsoft had stated that Windows 7 support will continue through 2020. That gives me 8 years in which I have the choice and the freedom to do absolutely NOTHING. Until I see an operating system worthy of taking the place of my Windows 7 Ultimate installation that is exactly what I am going to do for the next 8 years. Nothing. I got a free key to Media Center for Windows 8 thinking it would compel me to install Windows 8 and try it out. I basically have power to install Windows 8 right now for free with Windows Media Center and still have not done so. The desire to try Windows 8 rose from about 0 percent to 3 percent after the key. At this point, it just isn't gonna happen.

You wanna know what's really funny? People who upgraded to Windows 8 because its boot 3 nanoseconds faster. Now that is hilarious. You wanna know what else is funny? People who "PAID" for an operating system so that they could "PAY" for applications. LOL.

Microsoft set the price so low on Windows 8 because they knew, just like cellphone companies know, that they'll get you back from behind through the app-store. That's why they are "now" going even cheaper on their "blue" OS(whatever the hell that is)and giving it away for free. You may not be dropping your pants to get the "blue" OS but you will be dropping your pants for Microsoft once you install it through their app store.

I'll say it again for the last time, MIcrosoft. If I had wanted a ******* tablet on my desktop, I WOULD HAVE BOUGHT A ******* TABLET. What part of that dont you understand?


Sphynx Sphynx said:

Once Valve has Steam working reliably on Linux most gamers will drop Windows 8 and their tablet OS.

As mentioned above, just making Steam available in Linux is not going to turn Linux into a viable gaming platform. And most gamers will rather stick with Windows 7 than migrate to Linux or any other OS.

Guest said:

All we need now for the devs to port apps to other OS platforms so we ..the consumers have a real OPTION ...

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