Microsoft may mimic Apple's operating system release cycle

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 28, 2012
Updated • Nov 28, 2012

So, Windows 8 has been out for a bit over a month and there is already talks on the Internet about the next version of Windows codenamed Blue that supposedly will come out in less than a year's time.  Tom Warren over at The Verge reports that Microsoft is planning to standardize Windows and Windows Phone updates in an effort to release updates more frequently to consumers.

According to Tom's sources - unnamed but apparently close to the company - Microsoft may be preparing a Windows Blue release for mid-2013 which will be priced at a low cost or free. The basic idea behind the plan is to get Windows users to upgrade to the Windows Blue platform which acts as a base platform for all future versions of Windows.

Windows Blue will ship with its own updated SDK and it will be at that time that Microsoft will stop accepting new apps designed with Windows 8's SDK in Windows Store. While apps are said to work under Windows 8 and Windows Blue, only apps created with Windows Blue's SDK will be accepted in the store from that time onwards.

Tom reports that customers need a genuine version of Windows to upgrade to Windows Blue and that protection will be integrated into the operating system that will block built-in apps and Windows Store from functioning if a pirated copy is detected.

Microsoft will push towards a faster update cycle, possible at an annual rate, to increase the system's competitiveness against Apple and Google operating systems that are upgraded more frequently.

What does it mean for customers and developers? Customers who just bought Windows 8 face a difficult decision next year. They can either upgrade to Windows Blue to keep using the store and new apps that are released for it, or stay on Windows 8 which basically blocks them from using the store in any meaningful way after the release of Windows Blue.

Developers are likely having issues with the process as well. They need to download and use a different SDK when Blue comes out and depending on whether that is just an upgrade to the existing SDK or something that is different from it, update all of the apps they develop to keep updates coming for them.

Information are scarce at the moment and Microsoft refused to comment when asked about it. I think it is a confusing time for Windows users as it becomes difficult to stay on top of what is happening right now. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft releases Windows Blue next year, if it will cost money, and what functionality it includes that is not part of previous systems.

What's your take on the development?


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. kalmly said on November 29, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    From bad to worse to worse yet.

  2. ilev said on November 29, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Enterprises, with 75% worldwide ,don’t even consider moving to Windows 8,
    won’t buy a new Windows OS each year.

  3. Gonzo said on November 29, 2012 at 2:40 am

    It looks like MS wants to move to a subscription based model. I’ve always suspected they would.

    I assume the first couple updates will be free. As soon as their store meets the quantity/quality of its competitors the fees will be introduced (basic economics).

    How aggressively they disable legacy apps remains to be seen but if they want Enterprises, users and developers to move away from Win32 this portion of the plan would be a bad idea. Not to mention how this will affect WinRT and Windows Phone 8.

    In the end Windows 8 could potentially cost more than Windows 7 depending on how often you upgrade.

    Martin, I assume you got this from The Verge? Why don’t you link to the original sources?

  4. rpwheeler said on November 29, 2012 at 1:25 am

    All the commercial vendors dream to bill the customers every now and then, for the every feature and every step customer takes. It’s clear that Apple model, billing customers for the updates on a regular basis, is lucrative.

    But I’m from the people who want opposite: do not pay as long as possible. So, no Windows 8, no Windows Store and no Windows Blue for me: I don’t buy it.

    For now there is no really urgent cause to look for the Windows 7 alternative, but if in future MS will go for harder billing model, I’ll get stronger desire to choose some more free OS (like I preferred Android to both iOS and Windows Phone).

  5. Nebulus said on November 28, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Windows XP is still working fine. Why would I change?

  6. berttie said on November 28, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    I’m not surprised that the next version might be low cost or free. It is probably going to be more akin to a service pack, and even more importantly, from now on it isn’t all about the OS for Microsoft, but the app store. That is where the rivers of gold are for the company as Apple and Google have proved.

    Those hoping for a return of the desktop are in for disappointment, I’m afraid. If anything, the ‘Metro’ interface will likely be integrated even more tightly. As much as possible Microsoft wants to keep people on Metro to encourage them to buy apps. It is easy money for the company as all it has to do is rake a fat percentage of the top from the work of others.

    1. rpwheeler said on December 6, 2012 at 9:00 am

      In fact there were some other companies dreaming of easy money and app sales – Nokia with N-Gage, Sony-Ericsson with Windows Mobile Xperia Panels (looked like Metro tiles, by coincidence), BlackBerry…

      If someone has money that doesn’t mean you would get them for you app.

    2. rpwheeler said on December 6, 2012 at 8:56 am

      2 berttie:

      Of course they want people to buy apps, but what if people refuse, and Metro apps sales would be disappointing like Windows Phone OS sales?

      So far there is no Metro apps users can’t live without — except you buy expensive Windows RT tablets, and I doubt that businesses would buy them as many as Windows desktops .

  7. Maou said on November 28, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Microsoft is changing so much lately.
    I fear this is only the beginning…

  8. ilev said on November 28, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    So just like with WP7 and WP8, Windows 8 user will be forced to pay and upgrade
    to Windows Blue to be able to use Microsoft Store and maybe even to use new
    Windows Blue applications ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 28, 2012 at 9:20 pm

      It is not known yet if the upgrade will be free or available for money.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.