Windows Blue Now in Alpha Testing, What Might This Mean for Businesses?

When it comes to Microsoft updates, we’ve become accustomed to major versions releasing every few years and that’s that. This sort of model works well for a big reason: Many of Microsoft’s customers are at the enterprise level. Sure, Microsoft is also king of the desktop world, but part of why it stays on top in the enterprise is that it has an upgrade schedule that works well for businesses.

When it comes to deploying a new OS, it takes IT departments a pretty long time. They have to do isolated tests with their specific software solutions, and make sure that everything that they will use (hardware, software, etc) will play nicely with the latest Windows version. This is why many businesses take their time and even skip versions of Windows altogether— such as many companies sticking to Windows XP after all this time.

This is what makes Microsoft pretty awesome, they keep the upgrade schedule spread out and they continue to offer support for these older operating systems. It is nearly 2013 and many modern games and programs are just NOW starting to require something newer than Windows XP to run.

The model here is considerably different from mobile devices and Apple’s OS X. With mobile devices and OS X, you see a new version released every few years. With Android and iOS, there seems to be a pretty long-term support for older versions, but OS X often requires you to have a version that is no more than 2 or 3 years behind.

This is probably why most business machines are PCs, not Macs. Interestingly enough, Windows Blue might see Microsoft move to a yearly upgrade schedule.

What Windows Blue Might Look Like and Mean for Businesses

The first rumors of Windows Blue hit quite a while ago now. So why mention it now? According to Ubergizmo, we now have a bit more information on what to expect. According to a supposed leaker via a forum, Windows Blue is already in the alpha testing stages right now and is currently at build 9622.

What’s expected to change? While not a lot of information is offered up about Blue, the supposed leaker says that the design of Metro/Start will be more “flat looking” after the update and will offer a much higher level of customization than ever before. Other changes are said to be bug fixes and other minor changes.

If this is all that Blue brings to the table, this is good news indeed– especially for enterprise customers. Based on these details, I would expect Windows Blue to officially arrive as “Windows 8.1” or something along those lines. Furthermore, these changes seem awfully small and therefore should be optional enhancements not full-blown changes.

This is good because they will likely require VERY minimal testing by IT departments before rolling out these minor upgrades. Basically, if this is all Windows Blue brings to the table, think of it as a Service Pack with a little more OOMPH than normal. IT departments don’t have to go through huge lengths to ensure Service Packs will work with their organizations, and hopefully these new “yearly updates” will work similarly.

Does this mean that we could have Windows 8 for 3-5 years before Windows 9, with multiple minor yearly changes? This is possible, and if true, it could actually work out pretty well for businesses. These changes would be more frequent but could possibly require less work and time to roll-out and therefore might make major corporate software roll-outs less bothersome than they are now.

What do you think of Windows Blue based on the little we know right now? If executed correctly, could it actually prove to be good or at least a neutral move when it comes to the enterprise world?

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