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6/30/2014
02:23 PM
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Windows 9: Desktop Resurgence?

Next version of Windows will remove Live Tiles from traditional PCs and laptops but keep the Start screen for hybrids and tablets, according to reports.

allow users to drill into an app's contents without launching the app into full-screen mode. The Email app, for example, might allow the user to view her inbox as a dynamic feed displayed on the tile itself. Microsoft subsequently removed the video. The company did not respond to inquiries regarding why the video was taken down, and it's not clear if the new Live Tile feature is part of the company's active plans.

The newest reports echo several earlier rumors, many from the same sources. The previous reports also pegged Threshold as a spring 2015 release that will feature an increased emphasis on the desktop UI and come in versions configured for different device types and use cases.

Microsoft allegedly hasn't determined whether to call Threshold Windows 9. Windows 8.1 has been better received than Windows 8, but the company has had trouble shaking the original version's mixed reputation. According to Web tracking firm Net Applications, Windows 8 and 8.1 combined in May for less than 13% of desktop PC users, trailing not only Windows 7, which snared over half the market, but also Windows XP, which Microsoft no longer supports.

According to yet more rumors, Microsoft could show its hand sooner than later. The online Russian group WZor, a frequent source of prerelease Windows information, claimed via social media that Microsoft might use its upcoming Worldwide Partner Conference -- slated to run July 13 to 17 in Washington, D.C. -- to announce both a second Windows 8.1 update and a beta of Windows 9. Several other reports also claim that Microsoft will soon release another major update for Windows 8.1, though a number have said the company might not actively publicize the update. It will reportedly include mostly tweaks and background fixes, and could be rolled into August's Patch Tuesday.

Other recent rumors indicate Microsoft could be experimenting with rebranding efforts not only for Windows, but for its entire mobile strategy. Known Windows tipster @evaleaks recently claimed Microsoft will retire its Surface brand and instead release all tablets and smartphones under the Lumia banner, which is arguably more recognized internationally. Other reports claim Microsoft plans to delay Threshold until summer 2015, so until Microsoft confirms its plans it's best to take these details with a grain of salt. The company recently took a stance against leaks, prosecuting a former employee, who was ultimately sentenced to three months in jail, for passing confidential information to a journalist.

InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of the Internet of Things. Find out the way in which an aging workforce will drive progress on the Internet of Things, why the IoT isn't as scary as some folks seem to think, how connected machines will change the supply chain, and more. (Free registration required.)

Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio

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tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
7/7/2014 | 2:23:48 PM
Win8.x is terrible
The extreme hubris displayed by MS when it released Win 8 was breathtaking. That was the worst thought out software release I have ever seen. While 8.1 is a small improvement, MS should build one OS for touch and mobile devices and have the traditional Win interface for desktops and laptops. Perhaps this will happen now that Ballmer is out. Working on a Win 8.x device is extremely unpleasant.
UberGoober
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UberGoober,
User Rank: Strategist
7/2/2014 | 10:51:38 AM
Re: Congratulation M$!
Is your Google broken?  Here, let me help:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_8

Win8 was released October 26, 2012, after long and extensive previews; even the general release is closer to 2 years old than one.  We've known what was wrong with it for much longer than that.  The problem was, I've said fromt the beginning (and M$ recently admitted), largely fueled by the arrogance to believe that M$ could force people to accept a product they didn't like, all in aid of trying to boost the sales of Windows phones and tablets via a common user interface.

As the folks at AA say, the first step is admitting that you have a problem; I applaud M$ for finally getting with the program.  They've had a flaming disaster with Win8 so far, and I hope they learn more from history better than some others who shall go unnamed.
anon1768698819
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anon1768698819,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/1/2014 | 8:38:29 PM
Re: windows 9 desktop resergence
Desktop and legacy absolutely suck on tablets. They weren't built for touch, they don't have the UI for touchk, and they never will. Nobody with any sense wants to fool with traditional legacy crap on a tablet. Ditch full Windows for tablets and create a new OS for tablets by merging RT and Windows Phone. Remove the desktop and all legacy code from it.
anon1768698819
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anon1768698819,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/1/2014 | 8:36:28 PM
Re: Congratulation M$!
Windows 8 isn't even a year old. So how exactly is Microsoft years too late? Microsoft is removing the metro start screen entirely from desktop and laptop pcs.
cafzali
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cafzali,
User Rank: Moderator
7/1/2014 | 4:27:47 PM
Re: Branding is the key
@countryclubrepublican The Metro interface was Microsoft's lazy attempt to make us all forget about the fact that they had no plan for mobile for years. It was as if they wanted us to believe that Windows 8 was an instant recognition of the available of "Internet everywhere."

We all see how well that worked out. 
MichiganJeff
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MichiganJeff,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/1/2014 | 2:44:40 PM
Great, but will they fix the 8.1 networking issues that I can't seem to resolve since "upgrading?"
Glad they've finally seen the light and will stop trying to force the Metro interface on everyone.  Now, if they'd only help resolve the networking issues that 8.1 caused me (and many others).  Even tried replacing my "cheap, included" wi-fi card with one from Intel with the latest and greatest drivers... doesn't matter, network access is sporadic, at best.  I'm about to bite the bullet and deal with the pain that going back to 8.0 will cause... since they "forgot" to include a way to rollback the "upgrade."
UberGoober
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UberGoober,
User Rank: Strategist
7/1/2014 | 11:29:39 AM
Congratulation M$!
If the reports are true, Microsoft will have actually listened (several years late) to its customers.  While I hate the aesthetics of the new interface, at least it brings back the functionality that every other desktop OS has had for the last couple of decades.  And all it took was to kick Ballmer to the curb...
UberGoober
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UberGoober,
User Rank: Strategist
7/1/2014 | 11:25:56 AM
Re: Branding is the key
That would be utterly contrary to M$'s expressed 'Windows Everywhere' strategy.  Frankly, there's no reason why you need multiple versions for Intel, anyway.  If it offered a choice between a real desktop and the clown makeup, it could easily support both creators and consumers of information without making them irritated (to utterliy minimize the hatred that Metro engenders in most users).
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
7/1/2014 | 9:39:43 AM
Re: windows 9 desktop resergence
I think MS is trying to get the best from both desktop and tablet world. Its demo of Windows 9 startup menu indicates this. This is not easy but something needs to be done - it makes no sense to create silos by forgetting about good desktop options on tablet.
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
6/30/2014 | 8:01:07 PM
Re: windows 9 desktop resergence
@anon, That's a good point, A similar feature is the latest android allowing for multiple users on the same device (which is nothing new on a windows pc) So if microsoft allows to toggle between different UI layouts, it would allow for a greater level of customization for users
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