Like it or not, Microsoft Windows is the most-used operating system in the world. From international banks to suburban residences, the Windows platform has propelled the PC industry for years. Yes, there’s been the threat from Apple (Cupertino really scored big with the Vista debacle and the triumph of OS X Leopard). But one thing has remained at Microsoft: the Windows life cycle.
Like textbook perfection, every Windows release has been preceded by years of development, and then the final sale comes with a host of system requirements that somehow justify the upgrade to a new computer. Let’s not even talk about the price (although, with Windows 8, Microsoft has released the cheapest upgrade to Windows in recent times).
This long-haul product approach has been undercut by Apple’s rapid releases of OS X recently. The yearly approach and iterative update cycle to OS X (Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, the anticipated OS X 10.9) has meant that Apple has a far more dynamic operating system, and for many consumers, this makes Microsoft’s offering look old.
Things are set to change, though: rumours are abound that Redmond is thinking of moving to a yearly update cycle following Windows 8. The next offering of Windows is codenamed Windows Blue, and rumours suggest that it will re-enforce the text-based “Metro” UI of Windows 8. In essence, it will be a “stronger” version of the current and latest Windows 8.
But how will they get customers (especially corporate clients who would’ve already shelled-out for the Windows 8 upgrade) to justify the Windows Blue move? By pricing the next Windows really low, or even free. This way, they ensure that the optimum number of customers get the latest Windows OS, and inadvertently create a dynamic product that is set to put 1 Infinite Loop under immense pressure.
The one caveat: you’ll need a genuine copy of Windows 8 installed in order to upgrade to Blue. If not, then built-in apps and the Windows Store will cease to function.
This strategy seems concurrent with the “new” Microsoft: a company attempting to reinvent itself in an age where their once titanic dominance has been severely threatened by the likes of Apple and Google.
What is your opinion on this latest move from Microsoft? Share your thoughts in the comments.
I'm a young writer from South Africa, chronicling the changing tides in the ever-flowing river of technology. Focusing mainly on Apple-related technologies, I enjoy sharing my opinion and giving a few tips and tricks here and there on the latest and greatest from 1 Infinite Loop. I'm an avid blogger, and an even more avid reader.