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1/15/2014
12:05 PM
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Windows 9: What We Know

With Windows 8.1 floundering, Windows 9 rumors have picked up steam. What can you expect from the next version of Windows?

4. The Windows 9 reports reflect questions about Microsoft's leadership
As Thurrott notes, the ongoing evolution of Windows reflects changing leadership within Microsoft. Windows chief Steve Sinofsky abruptly left the company shortly before Windows 8 was released. Many of his perceived allies have since left Microsoft or been reassigned to new divisions, leading some commentators to speculate that Sinofsky, who said he left for personal reasons, was forced out. Windows 8.1's changes, meanwhile, were implemented by Julie Larson-Green and Tami Reller, who shared Sinofsky's duties after he left.

Larson-Green now oversees Microsoft's device efforts, while Reller has moved on to lead the company's marketing. Terry Myerson, who previously ran Windows Phone, currently heads Microsoft's OS efforts. Those efforts are thought to include an update to Windows 8.1 and the release of Windows Phone 8.1 before development on Windows 9 begins in earnest.

Myerson has allegedly investigated eliminating licensing fees for at least some mobile versions of Windows, which could represent a dramatic change in Microsoft's strategy. That said, reports also indicated that last spring, before Myerson had assumed command, Microsoft cut deals with OEMs to encourage the production of low-cost Windows 8.1 mini-tablets -- a contention supported by new, affordable devices that come pre-loaded with Office, such as Dell's Venue 8 Pro.

While it's impossible to say whether Windows is evolving iteratively or being reimagined as new leaders gain influence, Microsoft's OS roadmap could play a role in its ongoing CEO search. Reports indicate some candidates for Steve Ballmer's job have been uneasy about their abilities to change the company's strategy if given the role.

Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He graduated from Stanford in 2005 and previously worked in talent representation, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher.

Incidents of mobile malware are way up, researchers say, and 78% of respondents worry about lost or stolen devices. But though many teams are taking mobile security more seriously, 42% still skip scanning completely, and just 39% have MDM systems in place. Find out more in the State Of Mobile Security report (free registration required).

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Matt Healy
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Matt Healy,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/9/2014 | 8:31:16 AM
Like New Coke and Coke Classic
So in 2015 Microsoft may bring back features they introduced in 1995!
wht
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wht,
User Rank: Strategist
1/28/2014 | 7:05:19 PM
Re: On purpose?
That's a bad thought.  I happen to like Win 8.1, waiting for 9 to be even better.
wht
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wht,
User Rank: Strategist
1/28/2014 | 7:01:10 PM
Re: The fun REALLY starts in April
If Win 9 is free or just a few $$ I would upgrade, and not wait.  Will likely cost more later on.
CesarQ425
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CesarQ425,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/26/2014 | 3:45:13 PM
windows upgrades
i dont understand users , personally i am a windows 8.1 user and im absolutely love it. I dont need the start button and im tired of using floating icons. Dont you get tired of using the same appearance for me metro interface was not bad at all. I personally think some people are just afraid of new things. We got to change this attitude or and embrace new innovatoons and stick to old ones. Moving forwards creates new things .
concrete
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concrete,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2014 | 5:41:24 AM
Re: The fun REALLY starts in April
Fingers crossed they'll add in some of Jays great fixes for Windows 8. Not sure im happy with 'apps' being usable in floating panels tho... it seems like too much of a compromise. There should be a clear split between finger friendly apps and mouse users... something thats fixed on installation and gives either use the best possible experience IMHO.
susheelkumar
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susheelkumar,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/17/2014 | 2:57:22 AM
Windows 9: Good to know
It doesnt matter how advance the OS is, but it should be easy to use and simple. I am a windows 7 user, windows 8 was good but had few issues like simplicity and what is where. I am working for a big MNC but our IT department is not recomending the 8th OS. Lets see how it goes with 9.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
1/16/2014 | 4:35:53 PM
Re: Not Sure I Agree...
Thanks for the great thoughts.

"Does bumping a product's version number indicate the prior version is a failure?"

I definitely see your point-- and I agree: bumping a product's version number doesn't intrinsically signal that the previous version failed. But Thurrott's source seems to have indicated that Microsoft is opting for Windows 9 expressly to differentiate the product from Windows 8. In the context he presented, the implication isn't that Win 9 is just a new iteration; it's that Win 9 is a new iteration that has to undue the bad will caused by Windows 8. It's not quite the same situation as iOS bumping from version 3 to version 4, or something like that.
moonwatcher
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moonwatcher,
User Rank: Strategist
1/16/2014 | 3:19:09 PM
Re: Microsoft should buy some good will and now is the time to do it.
Not free maybe, but how about say $39 for for a limited time for those upgrading from XP to Windows 7. Many with XP did not take advantage of the $39 Windows 8 upgrade deal because there was some confusion as to whether you could even install it on a motherboard that didn't support UEFI. If they could offer Windows 8 for $39, surely they wouldn't be losing much by providing Windows 7 for the same price. 

Don't forget that Vista was received badly, perhaps even worse than Windows 8, so people had little incentive to upgrade to it. Later on when Windows 7 came out, people were by then just comfortable with XP and stuck with it, seeing little benefit in upgrading. But now that XP has reached end of life, people DO have valid, imperative reasons to upgrade.

Either that, or go out and buy a new box with Windows 7, throw a flavor of Linux on the old box, and wait and see if Microsoft will throw out a "deal" for Windows 9 in 15 months.

I just hate to see all these millions of XP boxes end up in landfills simply because people didn't perceive them as being worth upgrading, hence making that upgrade "cheap" might allow them to be used for several more years.
rradina
IW Pick
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
1/16/2014 | 2:04:12 PM
Re: Microsoft should buy some good will and now is the time to do it.
While I won't disagree that the cost of a Windows license is hard to swallow, for over a decade they've provided free XP patches.  It might be reasonable for them to offer XP folks a reduced-cost license.  Oh -- wait....didn't they already do that when Vista debuted, again when Windows 7 debuted and yet again when Windows 8 debuted?  While Microsoft can certainly afford this and I agree that it would build good will, it certainly isn't because Microsoft doesn't deserve something from XP folks.  There's also those folks who are still running on original XP-class hardware.  I think they've more than received a fair value for their initial purchase and other than keeping the good will of a loyal customer, I can't see how Microsoft owes them a free upgrade.
moonwatcher
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moonwatcher,
User Rank: Strategist
1/16/2014 | 12:08:02 PM
Microsoft should buy some good will and now is the time to do it.
Given that millions of PCs are still running XP and that Microsoft is pulling the plug come April 8th, they ought to provide Windows 7 upgrades for nearly free to this vast installed user base. That would at least win back some of the consumer good will they have lost with the Windows 8 fiasco.

This would also help prevent the proliferation of malware due to all those unpatched XP boxes.

If Microsoft truly cared about their customers they would at least entertain this idea.
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