The Windows blogosphere lit up like a Christmas tree yesterday at the report from Paul Thurrott, one of the top Microsoft watchers out there, that Windows 9 was looking to be a clean break from the mistake that was Windows 8.
There are two Windows products in the pipeline: Update 1, which I recently blogged about, that looks more like a rollup of bug fixes and minor tweaks. That will likely hit this summer. Then there is codename "Threshold," which is considered a major update. Now it's looking like a whole new OS branding.
Thurrott reported that Microsoft is setting April 2015 as the target date for Windows 9, aka "Threshold," and the new version number is no accident. "To distance itself from the Windows 8 debacle, Microsoft is currently planning to drop the Windows 8 name and brand this next release as Windows 9," he wrote. Can't say I blame them.
He went on to provide some details about the release and that it would be discussed at the Build conference this April. All told, it jives with what Russian snitch WZOR said last September, except for one difference: Thurrott said there would be a new Metro-like interface, an update to the one in Windows 8, while WZOR said Aero would return in a unique way.
If the new Windows staff is indeed looking to jettison all of Sinofsky's mistakes, then it would make sense to dump the UI associated with that failure. I've never heard of a desktop OS with two interfaces, unless you want to count all that ridiculous Unix desktop fragmentation of the 1990s. The only reason to continue supporting the Modern UI (aka Metro) is to support apps built for it. Were there that many to justify it?
Plus, one of the rumors around either Update 1 or Threshold is the ability to run Modern UI apps in a window on the desktop. So why keep the UI?
We in the tech press love to make sport of guessing and ferretting out information on upcoming products, and Microsoft makes it a little easier than others. So this speculation will go on for a while. The one thing I expect is this group to be much more responsive.
When Windows 8 debuted in public beta, it was vilified and castigated from the get-go and Sinofsky never changed course. That's why he's enjoying early retirement. If Threshold/Windows 9 coughs up a hairball and users revolt, I am a little more confident that Microsoft will hit the brakes and change course. And if they don't, more fodder for me.