Rumors of the next major Windows release codenamed “Threshold” have been circling for some time now, but Paul Thurott has now revealed further details on the next version of Windows.
Threshold will reportedly bring a number of major changes to Windows 8, such as the return of the Start Menu and the beginning of a converged platform encompassing Windows Phone and Windows RT. The company is also working on delivering a single app store across Xbox, Windows Phone and Windows.
Thurott mentions that “Threshold” will likely be titled Windows 9 to “distance the company from the Windows 8 debacle” because “Windows 8 is tanking harder than Microsoft is comfortable discussing in public.”
It’s true that Windows 8 has struggled to gain rapid adoption; even with the major tweaks in Windows 8.1 (which is free) the company has not seen more than 25 million PCs install the update, according to Thurott. Windows 8 adoption still lags behind that of Windows 7, despite having been on the market for over a year.
Traditionally, Microsoft releases a preview of an upcoming version of Windows at its BUILD conference (which will be held in April of this year). Instead of previewing a full new version of Windows this year, Thurott believes that the conference will see the release of an interim update labeled “Windows 8.1 Update 1″ alongside the release of Windows Phone 8.1.
Thurott’s sources believe that Windows 9 will be delivered in April 2015 with major changes that refine and develop the Modern UI interface (please, give us windowed mode for Modern apps!) as well as potentially splitting Windows into consumer and enterprise versions.
Delivering Windows 9 in 2015 means that Windows 8 will have been available for almost three years and may mean that consumers will look elsewhere for tablet devices.
Microsoft has its work cut out; three major platforms (Xbox, Windows Phone, Windows) will need new features this year to bring them closer as a family of products before Threshold seals the deal.
Image: Joe Radle/Getty Images
By Owen Williams