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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Please Leave Your Comments Below...

  • http://twitter.com/jdcsocial José Cruz

    Microsoft must say something, I want to know if it worth developing now for they plataform. For now, I’m developing for Android and iOS and waiting for Microsoft…

    • http://www.facebook.com/jmgroft John Groft

      Jose, there’s no point in waiting until after ‘Blue’ to develop. Most likely, there is nothing in that package that will negatively impact any development you do now. Even if there was, Microsoft is now and always has been about backward compatibility. They just built a whole new operating system (Windows 8) that is centered around touch and full-screen fluid apps – but still has a desktop in there for old apps. Windows Phone 8 was just reworked to share a core with Windows 8 – but still runs apps designed for Windows Phone 7. On other fronts, XBox 360 was built so that it still ran XBOX games. Even Windows XP which was their most significant platform break with their past, still had a compatibility mode for running apps designed for Windows 95/98/ME. I think you’re more than safe.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jmgroft John Groft

    Actually, you kind of lost me at “This is probably why most business machines are PCs, not Macs.” Not sure how old are you, Andrew, but here’s a quick history lesson:

    Most businesses run PCs for the same basic reasons they always have: cost. When PCs were first introduced, Apple was already on the market. Even then, Apple had a snazzy GUI while PCs had DOS. The difference is that PCs had an ‘open-architecture’ meaning that other companies could license the architecture and make components and peripherals. Apple, being all about the hardware, didn’t do that. So, in the PC world there was lots of competition – driving the cost down. Businesses could buy lower cost machines and replace components themselves rather than buy expensive machines and send everything back to Apple for repairs (kind of like today). So PCs became ubiquitous.

    Next, Microsoft decided to enter the server and networking market, slowly but deliberately improving their software and taking market share away from companies like NetWare. Eventually, Microsoft became the leader in that area too. Everything from back-end servers to desktop machines run Microsoft software and it all plays well together (for the most part). That, in turn, means fewer problems and lower cost.

    It wasn’t until 2007 that Apple produced a product that caught businesses’ attention again – the iPhone and then again in 2010 with the iPad. In both cases, these products created a brand new category in the marketplace. Time will tell whether Microsoft wins over in these categories as well, but if they do, it will most likely be for the same reason that made them successful before: cost. There has to be a compelling cost story to make Windows devices a better choice for companies.

  • stephen bates

    lets get this right there are manyoperating systems out there some free based on linux or other direct systems and dos is still used by some companies of its bsic use for some kinds of operation and the main reason its the use of resources being so low but a lot of companies want microsoft for one reason and one reason only its ability to fit all purposes for them but so far only xp and npw 7 can do that vista was crud fror aything inall aspects so windows 8 is now around but so far after testing it i would say its future is doubtfull because microsoft as tried to jump into the world of ios and android and the only way theyll do that is making to different op systems one for that world and develop it and for the old world like xp and 7 of which yes they could intergrate them together like with 8 but make it a option from the boot up not where it is now so that it will reain as 2 operting sytems but can be put together if wanted and even do what others have done have ios or android and even windows on the same computer.
    there needs some serious thinking before windows 9 or blue is released
    cheers