Microsoft plans to release low-cost yearly updates of Windows with the next version carrying the name Windows Blue according to a report from The Verge.
The new version of Windows will ship next year for a low cost, or it could even be free to speed up adoption.
Windows Blue, due out in mid-2013 will feature some UI changes as well as changes to the entire platform and pricing. The end goal for Windows Blue is to make it the version that everyone installs, almost like Windows 7 which saw high adoption rates.
After Windows Blue comes to market Microsoft will update its Windows SDK and no longer accept apps in the Windows Store that only work in Windows 8. The Windows Blue app likely won’t work on Windows 8, but Windows 8 apps will work in Windows Blue.
Microsoft will require an authentic version of Windows to upgrade to Windows Blue. If the user tries to upgrade a pirated copy of Windows built-in apps and the Windows Store won’t work at all.
The move to yearly releases mirror’s Apple’s plan to release a new version of OS X every year for a low cost. The change will also help Windows remain competitive with iOS and Android which both have yearly releases. Microsoft will continue to support the desktop with Windows, but Windows is also its tablet OS. Other tablets receive updates once a year so it makes sense for Windows tablets to receive the same treatment. Tablet software updates on iOS and Android are free to device owners.
If Microsoft continues with its tablet and desktop strategy Windows Blue will likely keep the Modern UI and Live Tiles of Windows 8. It’s not clear how the company will change the Start screen, but if Windows Phone 8 and the Xbox 360 are any indication the Modern UI isn’t leaving any time soon.