Mary Jo Foley just posted a big rumour about Windows 9, aka “Threshold.” We prefer to avoid reacting to rumors, but Foley is usually reliable and the thought experiment is irresistable.
The rumor is that unsurpisingly, the primary interface in Windows 9 is expected to align with hardware. If you’re using a tablet, it’s the start screen. If you’re using a laptop, it’s the desktop plus a Modernized start menu.
The juicy bit is that Microsoft may make this update free for Windows 8 users and…get this, Windows 7 users too.
This would absolutely be the right move. Microsoft must win back user interest in Modern apps and regain developer support. The strategic benefits of offering free Windows upgrades for consumers far outweigh the financial cost, which won’t even be too large. Appeasing Windows 8 users who feel envy that Windows 7 users get to upgrade free is a simple matter of exclusive bonuses.
Microsoft is on the precipice — the threshold — of being made obsolete, and now is not the time to reticent. Microsoft must move aggressively if it wants to stay relevant long-term.