Since last weekend’s leak of Windows Blue our understanding of what the new OS means for the future of Windows has become much clearer than ever before – or has it? The truth is that despite the list of features and options that we’ve learned will come with Windows Blue, we still don’t exactly know what Windows Blue means for the update release cycle or how it could affect the company’s future direction and plans.
Okay, we know that Windows Blue brings many new features that improve the experience of the Modern UI, but beyond that? Is Windows Blue a free Service Pack+? Is it a one time deal, or is this the beginning of a whole new yearly update scheme?
Based on what we now know, let’s take a look at a few of the more likely scenarios for how Windows Blue plays into the bigger picture:
Windows Blue as a Service Pack+
Under this scenario, Windows Blue is 100% free. New computers might ship with Windows 8 Blue and you might even be able to buy a copy of Windows 8 with Blue included – but by and large, it isn’t much different that an over glorified service pack.
This path makes a lot of sense and could be done yearly, or just once per a major OS release’s life, just like how some versions of Windows had one service pack, while others had several.
Windows Blue as a successor to Windows 8
Is there still a possibility that Microsoft will market Blue as the first of many new yearly releases of Windows, and therefore the official sequel to Windows 8? Maybe. The problem with marketing Windows Blue in such a manner is that Windows 8 isn’t exactly well-loved, and hasn’t had the time needed to win over customers.
At the same time, calling Windows Blue a new Windows could make people give it a chance, just like those who shunned Vista were willing to give Windows 7 a try.
IF Microsoft adopts a yearly schedule, expect it to be somewhat OSX like. In other words, Blue, ‘Red’, ‘Orange’ and other colors that get turned into versions of Windows would still be Windows 8.x variants, just like every cat-named version of OSX is still OS 10.
Under this model, Windows 9 would be a distant goal that would deliver a whole new experience that would likely completely move beyond the desktop. This yearly update scenario makes some limited sense, in that all of these future OS updates could build up to and properly transition the change to a desktop-less world within 5-10 years.
Windows Blue as a one-time wonder
It is also very possible that Windows Blue could be a one-off used to fix some of the perception problems of Windows 8. It might simply be a collection of features that were intended for Windows 8 to begin with but didn’t make the cut as Microsoft wanted to roll the OS out sooner, rather than later so they could start getting a piece of the tablet pie.
If this is the case, the existence of Server and Phone versions of Blue might have just been added to make the patching of Windows 8 not seem to desperate. This is probably the least likely scenario, but you never know.
What do you think?
Based on everything we’ve learned about Windows Blue, how do you think that it fits into Microsoft’s long-term vision? Just an easy way to add a few new features and nothing more? A whole new approach with yearly OSX-like updates? Service Pack+? Share your thoughts below.