Microsoft may be switching to annual operating system upgrades as early as this summer.
Just last month, Microsoft finally launched its Windows 8 operating system after three years of development. Some reviewers love it and some game developers hate it, but most people probably expect Windows 8 to be the default Microsoft OS for at least a few years. According to recent reports however, Microsoft may actually be planning to launch a new Windows client as early as 2013. The potential OS, code-named Windows Blue, could replace Windows 8 by mid-2013 and kick off a series of annual OS upgrades from Microsoft.
Windows Blue was first uncovered by ZDNet last August, but new sources for The Verge are confirming a great deal of the original information. According to the sources, Blue will be released as a low-cost or free upgrade for pre-existing customers that changes the Windows UI and alters the entire platform. The upgrade will reportedly continue to support Windows 8 apps, but Microsoft is expected to update the Windows SDK and stop accepting applications for apps designed specifically for Windows 8.
If this is accurate, then why would Microsoft launch a new OS client less than a year after Windows 8? According to both ZDNet and The Verge, part of the reason may be a new focus on annual upgrades. Previous versions of Windows have generally been released every few years, but in a world where competitors Apple and Google frequently upgrade their own clients, Windows may need the shorter development cycle to keep its edge.
There's been no confirmation from Microsoft on anything relating to Blue, so the above should be taken with a grain of salt. After all, it's possible Blue will act as little more than a service pack instead of an entirely new Windows platform. Still, considering the increased competition from Android and iOS in recent years, I wouldn't be surprised to see Microsoft's release schedule fall in line with its rivals. Whether that will be successful or not for the company remains to be seen.
Source: The Verge