Windows Threshold Event: 6 Things To Expect - InformationWeek

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9/27/2014
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Windows Threshold Event: 6 Things To Expect

Microsoft has much to prove when it shows off the next version of Windows at an event this Tuesday. Here's what to expect.

some had thought, but the biggest growth paths are still in the mobile sphere. Microsoft COO Kevin Turner testified to as much last summer at the company's partners conference, where he said Microsoft has around 90% of the PC market, but only 14% of the larger PC-smartphone-tablet space.

OS Group head Terry Myerson and corporate VP Joe Belfiore will run Tuesday's event, and the latter's presence strongly indicates some mobile talk; Belfiore is known primarily as the Windows Phone boss. Moreover, Nadella has said Threshold will converge Microsoft's various platforms into a single OS. If this is true, it should be difficult for Microsoft to discuss Threshold without at least alluding to mobile features.

In the desktop Threshold, even though Microsoft has backpedaled to a more traditional UI, the interface will still include traces of the mobile-oriented hybridity that drove Windows 8. Users will be able to configure the new Start menu as a single column, like in Windows 7, or with a second column of user-selected Live Tiles, for example. Will anyone use this second column? Windows Threshold will inherit Windows 8.1's "app gap," so if Microsoft wants to convince more desktop users to try out a few Modern titles, the Windows Store needs more compelling apps. Expect this topic to come up, even if only in the context of line-of-business apps, during Tuesday's event.

4. Microsoft will tell us Threshold's real name.
Microsoft recently announced that it will deploy more Windows feature updates via monthly releases, like it does with security patches, instead of through large "service packs" released at lengthy intervals. Thanks to this shift, Nadella's cloud focus, and a few rumors, some expect Microsoft to stop using numbered versions with Threshold; instead of Windows 9, 10, and so on, it could be just "Windows" from now on. Microsoft's advertising already takes this tactic; commercials refer to "the new Windows" or "Windows with Office," but never to "Windows 8.1."

But Microsoft employees have accidentally referenced "Windows 9" at least twice. The second instance prompted Microsoft to clarify that Threshold doesn't yet have an official name, which reinforces rumors that company leaders are still debating the issue. Some within Microsoft reportedly want to use Windows 9 in order to differentiate the new version from Windows 8's poor reputation.

5. Expect a Threshold version of Windows Server to be discussed.
Microsoft also reportedly is readying a preview of the Threshold version of Windows Server. Given the enterprise-oriented nature of Tuesday's event, it's likely Windows Server will be on the agenda. Support for popular Windows Server 2003 support ends July 14, 2015, setting up a potentially Windows XP-like scenario if Microsoft doesn't persuade customers to upgrade.

6. Expect a surprise or two.
Windows rumors have been flying fast and furious lately, and it's likely that some of the leaked details are either incomplete or misunderstood. Most intriguingly, references to "Windows as a Service" have been popping up for several months. Will this Tuesday be the day we finally find out what that means? If not, will we get our official first look at the next version of Office?

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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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PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
10/1/2014 | 9:42:53 AM
Re: Nothing new for the satisfied user
I think the ability to integrate with other windows devices and being able to use the previous UI as default would really drive people excited about the next windows.  Microsoft really needs to work on getting more apps to their library.  Microsoft really needs to work on their marketing if they want to catch up with android and apple in the smartphone market or may be it just too late.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
9/30/2014 | 10:30:08 PM
Re: Nothing new for the satisfied user
"Unfortunately, manufacturers whose products benefit from device integration are ignoring the touch-first side of Windows.  They advertise iOS and Android apps.  Once in a blue moon I see Windows Phone and to an even lesser extent, the touch side of desktop Windows."

Definitely true.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
9/30/2014 | 10:26:31 PM
Re: windows
@Technocrati,


Indeed! But after Halloween, OEMs won't be able to buy new Win 7 licenses from Microsoft anymore. I'm sure many of the manufacturers have amassed a supply-- but who knows how long it lasts.
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
9/30/2014 | 9:18:43 AM
Re: Nothing new for the satisfied user
Micheal,

It did offer new and exciting features -- the whole touch side of Windows.  However, ordinary folks need apps to leverage those features.  Unfortunately, manufacturers whose products benefit from device integration are ignoring the touch-first side of Windows.  They advertise iOS and Android apps.  Once in a blue moon I see Windows Phone and to an even lesser extent, the touch side of desktop Windows.

For instance, my cable company offers an app to view most of my cable channels on Android and iOS devices.  It works great with my Android phone (but refused to run on my iPhone because it was jail broken...but that's my own choice).  However, I've been waiting for a year for it to debut on Windows.  It's still a no show.

Maybe most folks don't care if they can watch TV on their mobile device.  I think it's a great feature and I can also Miracast the stream to a SmartTV if I want a bigger picture.
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
9/30/2014 | 7:57:24 AM
Re: Nothing new for the satisfied user
Michael "But even if Threshold is usable, will it be persuasive to those who are still happy with Windows 7?" That's a tricky one and it can only be answered by industry once Threshold is out in the market. I hope Microsoft realizes that and has a plan to tempt satisfied Windows 7 users.
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
9/30/2014 | 5:54:20 AM
Re: windows
Michael

Fair enough. If Apple wants to continue targetting a specific segment and it is happy doing that then there is no point of criticizing Apple. And yes, it isn't an excuse by Apple for having lower market share; they mean it when they say they have a specific target market. Now from the shareholders' perspective, return on investment is all that counts.
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
9/29/2014 | 1:17:18 PM
Re: Windows 8.1
@WilliamH263

It's called Linux, not  Linix.

"IT's NOT SAFE and IT'S NOT SECURE!"

No computer sitting at home, in a company or in the cloud is never totally secure.

And as someone mentioned it below, you don't need a Microsoft account to set up a Win 8 machine.
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
9/29/2014 | 1:02:37 PM
Re: windows
@Michael,

Excellent summary of the current state of OS use.

One comment is that one of Windows biggest cash cows is MS Office, which is fair to state that is the defacto office suite of preference by almost all users.

Yes, both Google and Apple have very good competiting products, but the overall widespread use and acceptances of office has made it to be more easilly adopted by most enterprises and personal use.

Now...that doesn't mean that they the competition won't stay put, reason why microsoft needs to be keep innovating and keep things fresh

 

And the fact that both Apple and Google offer cloud based versions of there office products free doesn't help microsoft
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
9/29/2014 | 12:54:14 PM
Re: Nothing new for the satisfied user
Another note,

Here's what competitors are able to do that I would love to do on windows.

The Chrome Cast allows to very easilly show whatever you're viewing in your web browser on the TV... that's cool.

If I was able to do that with Windows, to simply share me screen with one click, no cables, that's something to look forward to.

In fact, if Microsoft were to provide a downgraded version of the xbox one, to simply provide the streaming service of sharing your PC desktop to your TV, I think it would sell big!!!
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
9/29/2014 | 12:51:36 PM
Re: Nothing new for the satisfied user
@Michael,

First...great article, and it literrally sums up my own expectations of next windows isntallment.

To your question, will the latest windows be a good upgrade option for those on Win 7? I think it might if it provides a real value add for people to want to upgrade.

I personally didn't upgrade to windows 8 mostly because it was relient on touch (which sadly aside from the Metro UI and one or two apps, you can't really take advantage of it in a desktop environment)

Now...with Windows 9, people might not flock to upgrade, but it might bridge that gap between devices, and be more of an ecosystem between the different devices (mobile, laptop, desktop, Xbox).

 
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