Speculation on Windows 8.1 codenamed “Blue” Update

We have read for the most part of this year; roughly since around early February, that Microsoft plans to release a new build of Windows. This “refresh” of Windows 8 has been codenamed “Windows Blue”. Microsoft have this month only officially confirmed some facts on this update expected to ship in August 2013; about one year on from the RTM of Windows 8 and that proceeding wave of products.

The speculation has grown and rumours have flowed in the blogosphere about what has been included in Windows 8.1 update and what cost it will be and how it will be shipped.

I understand and accept the trend that as technology becomes more consumed, you generally see a more demanding customer base. That being said, I am becoming frustrated with the way technology enthusiasts and journalists alike are quick to fall victim to speculation and rumours in terms of writing further takes on the same speculations and rumours just to play to the readers eyes. I guess that’s their job in a online media world. This article is not aimed at this, but rather to focus on some obvious facts that readers and technology enthusiasts out there need to understand. I should make comment to the fact that I have no inside source, these points are simply my observations from the existing rumours and speculations already posted on the internet.

My list of points in no particular order:

  • In the past Microsoft have always given their major operating system updates (service packs) a codename before they reach RTM, this is nothing new.
  • Microsoft’s Windows Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller, during an appearance at the May 14 JP Morgan Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, shared the pricing news. She pointed out that the Windows 8.1 update will be FREE. One could conclude that this is not much different to any other Service Pack, they are free too.
  • At this same conference, points were made in the tone that this refresh is a roll-up package of updates to the existing Windows 8 operating system.
  • We now have confirmation from Microsoft that the update will be labelled as Windows 8.1, but still referred to Windows 8 as a ‘high-level’ product family. This is much like the versioning used after subsequent service packs have been released.

I could go on and on, although I think I make my point clear. This release is nothing more than a service pack with a new consumer marketing approach. The major take away from all this speculation and discussion is that Microsoft are changing the way they sell, market and support their products and services. We are now noticing very aligned product lines and simplified software update management across all products. In my opinion these alignments are just improvements on what Microsoft started back from the day Windows Vista was launched, the process has just been refined significantly.

Everyone just needs to start reading between the lines, before jumping to conclusions. I will conclude by saying that out of all the rumours and speculation that you may read on the internet about this new Windows build, please remember to also place yourself in the shoes of Microsoft and think long-term business strategy, not short-term seasonal gimmick sales. Microsoft does listen to its customers, but will only invest in improvements that suit their long-term goals. Amongst the criticisms is a true technology leader; who is making bold investments to meet the longer term needs of tomorrows technology consumers.

As always comments on this editorial are welcome.

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