windows 9

Microsoft just announced Windows 10. It’s a horrible name, and Microsoft is setting itself up to be made fun of just like they did with Surface’s “no compromises” tagline.

Here’s a joke already making the rounds: It’s Windows 10 because 7 8 9. Argh. Every time Windows 10 fails, and it will inevitably fail for something sometime, Windows 9 will be the easy barb.

Why not just go with something like Windows X? It even implies the number 10.

Name aside, Windows 10 looks promising. I’ve been sketching ideas on OneNote with my Surface Pro 3, and redesigning Windows 8 is a favorite subject. High up on my wish list is a touch mode and desktop mode; triggered when you detach or attach a keyboard to a 2-in-1 device. That’s in Windows 10 and which Microsoft calls Continuum. It looks good.

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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.

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