Confirmed: Windows 8.1 is Windows Blue, free upgrade due later this year

By on May 14, 2013, 1:00 PM

Past rumors purport that Windows Blue and Windows 8.1 may actually be one and the same. At a conference today, Microsoft CFO Tami Reller validated those rumors, stating that Windows 8.1 is not only Blue, but 8.1 is on track for a summer preview release and will be freely available later this year.

The long-rumored Windows Blue project has been steeped in mystery; however, leaks from industry sources and job postings have continued to feed the rumor mill. As it turns out, a number of these rumors are reasonably correct: a preview release due this summer, Blue will be a free but major update for Windows 8 and will arrive in the second-half of 2013 launch.

"It will be easy to get from the Windows Start Screen," Reller told attendees. This is likely in reference to the rumored return of the start button -- just one change expected to be delivered by Windows 8.1. 

Acer chairman J.T. Wang expressed his belief that Windows 8.1 means Microsoft has finally evolved to acknowledge "how people on Earth think," suggesting the company had lost touch with its users (and perhaps its humanity).

Some questions regarding Blue remain though; in particular, what possible role will it play in other areas of Microsoft's ecosystem?

Although this latest bit of Windows 8.1 news is Microsoft's first official acknowledgement of Blue -- will it be as expansive as rumors have indicated? Industry sources have suggested Blue is really an umbrella project aimed at improving usability and uniformity across various Microsoft service and products, not the least of which include Windows Phone, Office and Outlook.com. Could we see other service-pack-like updates for those products or was Blue just Windows 8.1 all along?




User Comments: 14

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ddg4005 ddg4005 said:

This is certainly good news. I will install this update on both of my boxes when it becomes available.

JC713 JC713 said:

Great news.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

I'm surprised I haven't heard too much about compatibility issues. Must not be a problem this time around

TheBigFatClown said:

Great news for tablet nerds. Now they can "tweet" at their desk and on the crapper. No keyboard or mouse required. Awesome.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm surprised I haven't heard too much about compatibility issues. Must not be a problem this time around

How will you hear something like that from a product that hasnt even been out yet?

I'm not really surprised to see posts like these when it's about microsoft

1 person liked this | JC713 JC713 said:

How will you hear something like that from a product that hasnt even been out yet?

I'm not really surprised to see posts like these when it's about microsoft

I think he means Windows 8 (not 8.1). Computability was a huge issue with Vista, so I think that is what he is referring to.

distantreality said:

I sure hope this is more like an SP1 type of update for windows 8 just labeled as 8.1 blue whatever...as with any update release it is better to have the full install instead of updating from one os say 7 to 8 etc... cuz then all ya get are bluescreens and a bunch of messy errors lol but this has been the way of their updates since the start of windows

JC713 JC713 said:

I sure hope this is more like an SP1 type of update for windows 8 just labeled as 8.1 blue whatever...as with any update release it is better to have the full install instead of updating from one os say 7 to 8 etc... cuz then all ya get are bluescreens and a bunch of messy errors lol but this has been the way of their updates since the start of windows

It is more than a service pack since the main Windows Kernel is updated like it would from something like Win7 to Win8.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I think he means Windows 8 (not 8.1). Computability was a huge issue with Vista, so I think that is what he is referring to.

Oh in that case... my personal experience with windows 8 is marvelous, I tried it first on my notebook to almost instantly putting it into my main computer.

Guest said:

It is a service pack 1 for Windows 8. Sure it will be free. service packs are always released. but this time Microsoft ingeniously called it windows blue which made everyone excited.

this is the new strategy. Fast release of new operating system. catchy code words.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

but this time Microsoft ingeniously called it windows blue which made everyone excited.
Not everyone, I'd say hardly anyone but I will play along and allow you the delusion of majority excitement.

Guest said:

Balmeristhan

Guest said:

Let's hope this new "Blue Think" extends to Office. Changing the UI for the sake of changing the UI is a solution creating a problem, rather than a problem being solved by a solution.

Two things slow adoption - 1) high cost (which also promotes piracy;) and 2) difficulty in applying/training/using the product. Microsoft has total control over both these elements. Cutting the price may increase revenue as more units leave the shelf; and not making each iteration of Office a brand new learning experience may encourage people to step-up to the register and buy a new product.

What's true for the OS is true for Office too.

Guest said:

Microsoft will never do anything for free. What are they putting in 8.1 that we don't want?

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