Foley expounded on Wzor's revelations, adding several of her own. Here's what she said, quoting unnamed sources:
- The as-yet-unnamed Windows 8.1 Update Update could be available in August.
- The Update Update "may include a version of a new Start menu which Microsoft showed off during its Build 2014 developer conference in early April. But according to my sources, this second update is unlikely to include the ability to run Metro-Style apps in floating windows on the desktop."
- "Last I heard from my contacts, Microsoft was hoping/planning to get Windows 9 finished by spring 2015. The aforementioned Metro-Style apps floating in desktop windows -- something Microsoft execs also showed off in early form at Build 2014 -- is supposedly one of the features likely to be part of Windows 9."
Reading between the lines, I think it's clear that in August we'll see (yet another) Update to Windows 8.1 Update, which will incorporate a Start8-like Win7 style desktop Start menu. Windows fans have been clamoring for that feature for more than two years -- ever since the first leaked copies of Windows 8 hit. With dozens of Windows 8 add-ins that bring back the Start menu widely available, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
If Microsoft can incoporate the tiled Metro space to the right of the Start menu, that would be interesting, but I don't expect it will reverse Windows 8's fortunes.
Similarly, the advances in Universal Apps (pay for an app once, run it on any Windows platform), and progress toward API parity (where programmers only need to make small changes to build cross-Windows-platform apps), and better OneDrive, and new Metro apps, and on and on. They're great developments, but without an enthusiastic Windows user base they won't reverse Windows 8's problems.
While there's much to be said for Microsoft accelerating the pace of Windows updates -- Foley makes excellent points in her article -- the fact is all the Windows 8.1 Update Update Updates in the world won't help much in getting Windows back on its feet. The term "Windows 8" is anathema in the market. Everybody, from CEOs to 7-11 clerks, from Tallahassee to Timbuktu "knows" there are problems with Windows 8. Microsoft has to find a way to get a truly new version of Windows -- Windows 9, Windows X, Windows whatever it's called -- out the door quickly.
The good news for us Windows diehards: The way things are shaping up, Windows 9 may be a very good product.
This story, "Microsoft may actually be on the right track with Windows 9," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.