Until now, Microsoft and Apple have had different ways of updating their desktop operating systems, Mac OS X and Windows. Apple works off a 1-2 year release cycle and prices each consecutive update $30-$50. Microsoft, on the other hand, has no set release cycle. Microsoft releases new version of Windows whenever it wants, sometimes taking as long as five years (Windows XP -> Windows Vista) or as short as two years (Windows Vista -> Windows 7); the most recent Windows 7 -> Windows 8 took roughly three years. And, for each new release, with the exception of Windows 8, users typically have to pay $100+ to upgrade. It looks like Microsoft is now aiming to change this philosophy.
Quoting “several sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans”, The Verge is reporting Microsoft is now planning on moving to an yearly release cycle for Windows, due to increased competition from Apple and Google. These yearly release cycles intend on hastening the convergence of Windows and Windows Phone, plus introduce new features. To entice users to upgrade, Microsoft plans on selling the new versions of Windows at discounted rates, such as the current $39.99 Windows 8 upgrade promotion.
According to ZDNET, Microsoft is reportedly already working on the successor to Windows 8 — codenamed Windows Blue. Microsoft “will include UI changes and alterations to the entire platform”, using Windows Blue as “the next OS that everyone installs”… seemingly indicating Microsoft doesn’t expect very many people to take the Windows 8 bite. Windows Blue will reportedly use a different SDK (software development kit) than Windows 8, and Microsoft will push developers to stop developing Windows-8-only apps and instead focus on Windows Blue. But Windows-8-only apps will still run on Windows Blue.
Despite all these changes, however, The Verge says Microsoft will likely keep the “Windows 8″ name for Windows Blue, meaning it could simply be a Service Pack. Or, if Microsoft does indeed intend on going Apple’s route, Microsoft may charge for Windows Blue.
It isn’t entirely clear if Windows Blue will be the start of convergence of Windows and Windows Phone or if it is just another stepping stone on that path.
Interesting. Times are achanging ,eople. Better get used to it.