Microsoft expert Mary Jo Foley expects Microsoft’s latest offering to be called Windows Blue – an update that could be out sometime around mid-2013. Foley speculates that it could move Microsoft away from its traditional style of offering a new OS every 3-4 years and become more like Apple – providing evolutionary updates to its OS every year.
These annual releases would include both updates and changes to the user interface, but will be on a much smaller scale – something that users would find easier to adapt to. The way Windows 8 upgrades were priced also could be the norm – having each of these annual updates priced between $20 and $30, instead of an entire OS overhaul priced at over $100. Windows Blue will also bridge the gap between Windows Phone and the PC version of Windows, similar to what Microsoft has attempted to do with Windows 8.
Microsoft’s strategy to introduce a brand new OS update every few years is turning to be a risky option for the company – like the failure it experienced with the launch of Windows ME or Vista. It’s not just a good idea for Microsoft, but is a daunting task for its customers as well, particularly businesses. Enterprises end up spending millions of dollars upgrading their thousands of PCs, which takes up a lot of time and also involves considerable business risk. Apple’s point-release strategy has worked out better, both for Apple and its customers.