An official unveiling of Windows 9 might be closer than many expect, according to one report.
Sources that spoke to The Verge said that Microsoft is planning a press event on September 30 to fully detail the changes to “Threshhold.” The sources that spoke to The Verge also said that a release to developers would occur shortly thereafter, perhaps on even the same day.
While it’s unclear how much different Windows 9 will be from an architecture standpoint; improvements to the Windows kernel are not something users largely requested. This next version of Windows will largely be a refreshed user interface, with a new version of the Start Menu and the absence of the Charms bar.
For Microsoft, Windows 9 represents a great “step backwards” for the Windows ecosystem. Microsoft’s attempt to make a hardware agnostic operating system — to bring Windows to the growing economy of smartphones and tablets — represented a failure on two fronts: Microsoft could not get the big-name hardware wins it needed with mobile devices, and the Metro UI alienated many PC users. To quantify how much of a failure Windows 8 was, consider that Windows 7 still commands half of the total operating system market while the ancient Windows XP has 13.74% market share.
In the desktop world Microsoft has no threat to the hegemony of Windows. Despite all the gains Apple has made with the Mac platform in the last five years, the platform, quantitatively speaking, is still relatively niche. Apple wants to keep it that way and has no plans to alter its pricing structure. However, Microsoft still needs a solid revenue stream from the Windows division. Simply put: the company needs a way to convince users to pay for a new version of Windows twice a decade. Windows 8 wasn’t a compelling enough reason for many to upgrade from Windows XP or 7, which means that Microsoft needs to do its best to create a product that people not want, but need, to buy.