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back to article Big Windows updates may ship this summer – and every summer

Rumors that a major feature update for Windows 8 will arrive this summer have been flying around for months. But if the latest buzz is to be believed, what Microsoft is actually cooking up could be something much bigger than your typical Service Pack. According to an anonymous source who has been whispering in Redmond-watcher …

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Gimp

Re: MS copies Apple's release once a year OS update strategy

@eadon .. exactly what i was thinking. to a "T"

spot on

although the "Blue" codename could be a refernece tonthe type of screen you will get even more used to seeing.

Naming Fail !!

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Windows

Licencing or Leasing

I get the impression from the article that they are actually gearing up for "annual fees". Rather than the usual pay once every 5 years they are now looking at "leasing" their software or maybe even the lowest of the low "Monthly" payments.....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Licencing or Leasing

I got the same impression. I expect that they will keep patching security holes for free, but any other bug fixes or improvements will require a subscription. Expect the overall cost of ownership to increase.

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Re: Licencing or Leasing

In other words the software will still be crap. But instead of paying a lot for it every year or three, punters will pay monthly.

MS is trying to become a utility, without any actual utility.

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Anonymous Coward

Five mentions of Microsoft

Five mentions of Microsoft and only one mention of Windows .. come on elReg ...

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Coat

Rumour has it...

Microsoft's clutch is slipping.

Mine's a mac.

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Re: Rumour has it...

Macs are stale, not really moving forward for a while, besides the odd under the hood tweak. They may not be successful every time, but at least MS are trying.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Rumour has it...

"but at least MS are trying."

It is because I found MS trying that I gave them up

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Rumour has it...

> Macs are stale,

Customers like it that way. The psychology I've observed in Mac owners is that they want an uncomplicated system that is well made and hassle free. Rather like Mercedes card of years gone by.

OTOH Windows and Linux are rather like the way American and British cars were like in the 1960s. The American carmakers used the same basic ladder chassis every year, and changed the flashy bodywork from year to year so as to drive sales by making previous models look out of date.

British cars were technically advanced by comparison, and one basic design would be sold with various "cosmetic faces" - e.g. Austin, Morris, Riley, Wolseley, etc. And were comparatively high-maintenance...

It's a free world, people can choose an OS that suits them.

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Trollface

Re: Rumour has it...

hmm...

nissan micra, or frog eyed sprite? :-)

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There is a reason for your car having steering wheel instead of joystick

Once you get the idea that Mac is itself a very conservative Freebsd/next distribution and the disaster named win8 proved that desktop users don't like revolutions...

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Re: Rumour has it...

all cars used to be high maintenance - and user customizable.

When was the last time you were expected to apply the grease gun to your car's suspension or could add another guage or switch to your fascia?

There was could be more to British badge-engineering than cosmetics. Riley and Wolseley's would have different engines and sometimes significantly different bodies - the Hornet and Elf having only different grilles at the front but a larger boot than the Mini parent. On the other hand, it was mostly interior decor and engine size that set the Wolsely and Riley versions of the ADO 16 apart from the Morris and Austin 1100s.

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Holmes

Re: Rumour has it...

Stale???

I bought a MacAir 11" the second they came out, because I need to have something with me 24*7 and like it or not, this is an indestructible machine that defines the market segment. Own one and carry it every day for a couple of years and you will get the idea.

As for OSX? It took me about 10 seconds to get used to the interface and I have no problems switching between the office Win7 machines and OSX.

I have OSX 10.6.8 installed and I have not seen any compelling reason to upgrade at this point. There are all sorts of tweaks and changes - or so I am told - but nothing that makes me want to spend the 25 bucks.

Stale is a matter of opinion. Some of us prefer stuff that doesn't change every 5 minutes

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Anonymous Coward

where have I seen this before

Project 'Blue'? So thats like Github behind a paywall?

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The last time I visited Github it was an SCM service.

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FAIL

The only reason for this is $$$$$$

MS think that they can screw more $$$, £££ Euros etc out of the poor gullable consumers by changing this.

There will be a new coloured desktop every year which will become the latest 'shiny-shiny'

And lots of people here slag off Apple for changing their phones every 18/24 months. Pah.

I for one will never take out a subscription for windows. I am sure I am not alone here...

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Windows

This could be the beginning of the end...

Now, I know I'm not the average (Windows) user because my approach is both private & business use alike. But even so; one of the reasons I ended up on Windows (after having used Linux on the desktop for years (personal use)) was because of the faster upgrade cycle which Ubuntu & Debian had. And although Ubuntu provided their LTS versions which would give you 3 years of continuous updates, the update which followed often turned into a disaster (meaning: you'd end up doing a clean re-install anyway).

Most of all for my business I don't want change to happen every year (or every 3 months or sooner). I want my programs to do what I require of them and when a new version comes out then sure; I'll evaluate to see if it suits my needs and if I like it.

I could live with such a scenario if Microsoft wouldn't have the reputation of both being quite the maintainer (13 years of XP is IMO impressive) but also quite the changer and ruiner (developers don't need colour in icons, that's only distracting; they need several vague forms looking almost the same).

This could be quite dangerous; its the same crap you get on the PS3. When an update arrives which changes quite a bit then sure; you don't /have/ to put up with it. But if you don't you'll automatically lose the option to take the PS3 online and play games with other people. Worse: you also won't be able to go online to use your PS3 like a chatter box (videochat with the PSEye, quite amazing) because the same limitations apply. You simply can't go online, period.

So you'll just have to go along with them because you don't have much of choice.

I don't really look forward to this same model being applied to Windows where you'd also have to pay for it.

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Re: This could be the beginning of the end...

"So you'll just have to go along with them because you don't have much of choice."

And therein the problem. Some people are shouting and screaming for new glitz and eye candy; some are shouting for what they've learned and are used to, and see no need for new toys. But because the UI is so deeply tied into the OS, with Windows you simply have no option. And because MS refuse to supply a choice of OS - once a new one is released, and the pre-loaded images on existing new PCs are all gone, you will get the latest and allegedly greatest whether you want it or not.

I'll say again - if Windows works for you, that's fine. These days, any antipathy is largely reflex or a matter of taste - and the current UI is most definitely not to my taste. Perhaps they'll change it when the new SP comes along, perhaps they won't. But I predict that what *won't* happen is a decoupling of the UI from the kernel, that the user won't be able to have W8 with a choice of user interfaces, and that there will be the people who both love and hate the new updates.

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Anonymous Coward

It's Microsoft Linux!

commentards brains melt...

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A Blue??

A Porterhouse Blue no doubt.

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Stop

It sounds ghastly

If they write into stone the idea of yearly updates they will then be under pressure to release something whether they have it or not.

This means arbitrary UI changes or a new colour scheme or some stupid widget that inserts a twitter feed into your word processor or into media player so you can look at baby pictures while you work.

Since stable functionality is often critical in business situations they will need to come up with a system for refusing updates. ooh How about a running task which constantly pops up a full screen providing you a list of cryptic codes for the current updates you haven't installed each with it's own paypal button. Once a day?

Just imagine if this is how they had deployed the metro gui?

Personally I would prefer to choose whether I want to buy into Microsofts flavour of the month, rather than have them foisted up on me or having to jump through hoops to avoid them.

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Re: It sounds ghastly

One of the reasons Win8 looks so unfinished is that pressure to release, with code still being hurriedly ripped out of desktop mode a week before RTM. Pray that MS don't pick the Xmas selling season as their annual update deadline or we'll face year after year of hurried hacks.

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Win8, reinventing the (steering) wheel.

In 1916 Cadillac created what eventually became standard car controls; three pedals, hand gearstick. Before then manufacturers went their own way, such as a tiller instead of steering wheel or the Ford T with what, today, seem hilariously odd controls.

Macintosh and Windows 3 standardised the present way of doing things with computers. The major change since then coming with the touchscreen that's essential for more advanced tasks on handheld devices. I speak as a Nokia E71 user that lacks touch.

Touchscreen probably won't find favour with users of large screen computers, so it was a bit daft to try foisting it on them.

As for incremental updates -- just another way of protecting the franchise from freeloaders and (presumably) charging regular users more frequently.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Win8, reinventing the (steering) wheel.

Let me try and remember ...

1: Accelerator stalk on the steering column

2: Spark advance on the steering column (other side)

3: 1 pedal, down for first and up for second

4: 1 pedal for reverse

5: 1 pedal for gearbox braking.

Personally, I am thankful for Cadillac for having come up with the now ubiquitous "right" combination.

Paris: Because I think I would be able to manipulate her standard controls without problem

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Anonymous Coward

Increasing the pace of global business disruption

There is a fundamental tension between the needs and aspirations of "consumer" users, many of whom can't wait to get their hands on the latest Windows "innovations" and those of corporate organisations for whom every new release, with its new set of bugs, incompatibilities and completely re-jigged user interface just means COST - cost of technical upgrades, with the domino effect of incompatibilities entailing upgrades to other software); cost of retraining and user support, as the latest UI "innovations" leave Users wondering how to do things they could do perfectly well before; cost of business disruption, while all the little (and some large) things that have stopped working are fixed. And they propose to enforce this disruption even more frequently?

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Re: Increasing the pace of global business disruption

And that is why Apple doesn't do Xserve any more I guess, consumers proved more lucrative to them.

Microsoft is in a position where it has to please both the server and infrastructure userbase, and consumers & company desktops.

Not an easy position. It would perhaps be better divorcing its consumer & business divisions, which should each have their own engineering sections with a common kernel developed by a separate division. Kinda of like I perceive linux distros. Common kernel fiddled about with to meet the needs of disparate customers.

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FAIL

Am I out of touch? [guffaw]

"If Microsoft can switch Windows to a similar release model, the whole concept of a Windows 8, followed by a Windows 9 and an eventual Windows 10, could disappear. Instead, the product would simply be Windows, with Blue being just the first of many major upgrades."

If I'm reading this right, it means that people who decided to pass on Windows 8, hoping that Microsoft would come to their senses and ditch not-Metro, when they released Windows 9, are out of luck.

It sounds like "Windows 8 Forever!"

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FAIL

Re: Am I out of touch? [guffaw]

I'm already moving family and friends towards a Linux based set up.. dropping as much Windows only stuff as I can and getting them used to more cross platform software. I banished windows from my desktop some time back and now only have a token install on a laptop (rarely used) and a basic win 7 set up on my imac which I never seem to need.

This does indeed look like a move to subscription based model with no physical media involved (or only available at a huge premium.)No thanks Redmond.

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Re: Am I out of touch? [guffaw]

As far as I'm concerned it's Windows 7 forever.

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Big Brother

Re: Am I out of touch? [guffaw]

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever."

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Anonymous Coward

Lack of customer interest will do away with major releases just as well.

You wait and see.

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Megaphone

Of course the steering wheel must go in the center!

Eureka Feature! The steering wheel is now in the center, where both front seat occupants can uitlize it! One accelerator touch-panel on each side of the dash, pressure-touch controlled of course ... slide up for fast, down for slow, and a simple thumb-finger grasping motion for braking! No bothersome pedals on the floor. You'll love it! Automatic updates quarterly, revisons annually!

Wait until you see our new instrumentation display!! Here, slip on these glasses .. you see? There's the speedo on the right lens, the tach on the left lens, and in a neat row divided equally between the two in a 3D Ribbon Strip ... the gauges! Multi-colored warning lights duplicate every instrumentation function! Eliminating the bothersome analog/digital interpretations, elegant function-coded light bursts yield instant heads-up alerts.

And best of all ... AUTO-matic updates, delivered wirelessly while you drive! No more stopping at service centers, or making appointments. It's a Seamless, Ehanced User Experience for every driver!

And for next year, the MS-747 MagnetoYoke! Our engineers have completely dispensed with cumbersome, anti-intuitive circumferential torquing movements. Our Patented Ultra-Responsive Intention Sensor Technology provides instantaneous directional response. Combined with a Command Ocular Movement Director, your driving experience will be unlike anything previously experienced!

MicroSoft AutoWinMo~88, the Vehicular Interface of the Future, here today! Because you KNOW we care!

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Anonymous Coward

Sounds great, but cant see how it will ever work in practice.

How will they distinguish between supported kernal/platform/application versions? By that i mean at what point do the platform updates (ie dotnet and its various layers) become no longer supported on which years kernel and how do they explain that to the user. Thats kinda the whole point of version numbers, so taking them away makes the whole situation confusing for everyone.

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Perhaps they will sneakily use version numbers (or revision numbers) internally... and just tell customers "you Windows is too old, you need to cough up^H^H^H upgrade"...

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Stop

Copy Cat!

Reading some of the comments on this article is making me cringe. Is this the same tech site where we all come together to bash lawyers/corps that file patents for everything and that accuse everyone else of copying? Now a company can't even change its release system, something that hardly affects features, without getting accused of copying someone else.

I am aware that it is considered that Apple make 'cool products' but has it got to the stage where Apple have made accusations of copying a cool way for fans of company <x> to bash company <y>?

And Linux/FOSS types, one of the concepts FOSS was founded on was the idea of adaptability and alternatives, not to mention that quite a few ideas in the area of Linux desktops have been taken from Windows over the years. You can have your open principles for all providing they are for all.

If something a company puts out is an exact feature for feature replica then that's fine, yell at them, but having a go for a change of release model is just petty as hell.

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FAIL

Still in shock*...

...after the revelation that Windows 8 Pro does *not* have a wifi profile manager GUI last night. Command line via cmd window - not something visible when you're troubleshooting wireless issues in a crappy multiple wifi environment.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/manage-wireless-network-profiles

Now, I did find a 58k program/patch to stop the instant fdisk&format back to Win7 enterprise, but damn it! It should have been already there.

;(

.

*5 hours later... App-themed OS models are useless on a device that must actually perform tasks reliably IMO..

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Re: Still in shock*...

Rereading my post and wish to condemn the planned stupidity of the Start tile screen - getting closer to the conclusion Windows 8 is for morons with big fat fingers to watch midget porn and not an OS suitable for IT professional work.

;(

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Re: Still in shock*...

So, days of oems/Intel putting "wifi manager" third party non standard stuff is back?

Didn't Intel release "Intel proset wireless" for win 8 yet?

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Re: Still in shock*...

The issue seems to be that it doesn't display all the wifi profiles setup on the machine - only those that it might be in a position to connect to. I'll guess that they expected that mobile users would not want to be distracted by a long list of every hotel and coffee shop wifi they've every connected to.

Sounds like something that Microsoft could change - if they wanted to. Perhaps by a KB or SP to offer the option.

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Thumb Up

Makes sense to me

Shipping a new release is a relic of the era or retail boxed software distribution and only makes life more difficult for the producers and end users. I wish they'd thought of this earlier so the incremental improvements added between Windows 7 and 8 could be available to me without having to (shudder) use Windows 8.

In a way they've already done this before - there were at least three different versions of Windoes 95 over its lifespan, with incremental improvements and no great fanfare. One of the main reasons for that, as I recall, was because they couldn't get Windows 97 (which became Win98) finished in time due the effort of developing IE4.

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This is about circumventing the uptake problem. If Windows 8 had been a success, Microsoft would have taken a successful step toward the walled garden 30%-of-all-apps profit utopia. They're looking at using Windows versions as a loss-leader so they can wrestle total control over the platform of the day and reap the ultra-profitable, user-screwing benefits. They ain't so smart.

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So, they gave up this madness

A win with start menu will ship this Summer, "lets put a touchscreen interface to laptop" gang is on their way out.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So, they gave up this madness

Win 8 has a Start menu - it's just so big that it and the desktop can't co-exist. What it lacks is an obvious button on the desktop to take you to it.

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Coat

New Windows 8 bundled apps!

Wow! I can't wait for updates to IE and bundled Windows 8 apps. I really look forward to extra stuff that I will never use and......

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Pint

Re: Business model

I think it was *Apple* that invented the concept of omitting Copy & Paste from their UI.

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Pint

Recommendation...

They may decide to downplay major releases. But I recommend that they trumpet the next or later release that will (inevitably) back away from the Metro interface fiasco. It may be slightly embarrassing for them to highlight it, but I've decided that I'm simply not buying Windows 8 - nor any hardware that includes it. So make sure I get the memo when they're back to their senses.

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Facepalm

Of course! THAT will fix everything

A really unbelievable head in the sand approach to the problem, don't you think? Can anyone image what would have happened had the Windows 8 "feature set" been rolled out, without advance warning, on a regular Patch Tuesday? Stunning.

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Facepalm

Maybe it merely means that hardware advances will be supported within dot.number improvements rather than new OS releases?

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