If you’ve been hiding under a rock lately, then you should know that a new “version” of Windows 8 appears to be on the way. The program in Microsoft (not the product) is codenamed “Blue”. There’s leaks, screenshots, speculation, a new Build conference, etc.
I’ve wondered how will this new “version” be released? Will it be a service pack? Will it be a feature pack? Will it be an OS upgrade? Will it require a new license … and a spend to get from Windows 8 to Windows “8.1”? Apple does that, albeit with a “micro” payment for the new OS.
I cannot say what Microsoft is going to do; my magic 8 ball is on the fritz. But I did drink the fluid from inside of it and I’m having visions of the future – someone might need to call an ambulance
Two things hint to me that this will be a free upgrade:
1) Surface and other Windows 8/RT tablets are getting murdered right now. iPad is the desirable device and Android has everyone beat when money is a factor. Apple gives OS upgrades away for free. Android updates (when the manufacturers bother) are free too. Microsoft cannot afford to hand critics a baseball bat with 6 inch rusty nails driven through it. They need to make “8.1” free.
2) Customers who have invested in Windows 8 didn’t expect their OS to have a 1 year life as the primary version. We’ve been conditioned to expect 3 years. Consumers are one thing; enterprises are something completely different. Enterprises are still moving to Windows 7. Those few who might have jumped to Windows 8 will be delighted (that’s sarcasm, Sheldon) to hear that they should fire up MDT and app regression testing every 12 months. And yes, I am discounting Software Assurance here; the actual test/deployment of an OS is disruptive and costly. Everything here screams out that “8.1” will be a minor revision (free and released like a feature/service pack, with the usual updated & slipstreamed media), and we’ll have major revisions every 3 years.
Anyway, I think I can hear the sirens now so I’ll wrap up this post.