Is Microsoft gearing for ‘Windows 9’ release?

Still leery about Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 8 operating system? Some industry watchers, who believe the Redmond, Wash. software firm is eager to get past its criticism-plagued OS, said that in the next few weeks Microsoft will likely announce plans for a 2015 release of a new OS, to be called Windows 9.

Earlier, Microsoft named its October 2013 free update “Windows 8.1.” Some analysts predict that Microsoft is now ready to drop that naming convention and move on Windows 9.

In a recent blog, Microsoft watchers Paul Thurrott reported that according to anonymous sources, Microsoft will reveal its plans for Windows 9 at the Build developers conference in San Francisco, set for April 2nd. He said the company intends to ship the update in April 15.

There had been earlier talk that Microsoft would restore the Start menu and bring back the “classic” desktop and enable Metro apps to work on the desktop mode when it releases its Windows 8 replacement.

Microsoft failed to capture the hearts of PC users when it launched its touch-focused Windows 8 OS. Many users bemoaned the absence of the familiar Windows Start button and disliked the new interface and tiled look. Some analysts have even blamed the PC sales slump on Windows 8

Michael Silver, analyst for Gartner Research, said Microsoft may want people to forget the Windows 8 name but he said users should not expect too much from the replacement. For instance, he said, when Microsoft brought out Windows 7 after its 2007 flop Vista OS, there were no major changes. Silver said Microsoft just “polished up” Vista and “packaged it better.”

Windows 8 has not been selling very well since its release. The Internet measurement firm Net Applications reports that Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 captured 10.5 per cent of the computer user market in December 2013 and 11.6 per cent of all those running some form of Windows OS. That’s less than half of what Windows 7 achieved after its launch.

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Nestor E. Arellano
Nestor E. Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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