Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is set to unveil its latest version of Windows at an invite-only event in San Francisco on Tuesday — just a month shy of the two-year anniversary of the release of Windows 8 to the general public. While rumors in the press have suggested a number of things about what this new version of Windows will or will not be, the fact is that going into this event there is little confirmed.
The most trafficked rumor about the upcoming Windows 9 release is that it will be offered as a free upgrade to users of Windows 8. While this rumor has been circulated through the press as gospel, the fact is it’s far from confirmed. The rumor comes from BGR, which cites Indonesian technology news publication Detik, which quotes Microsoft Indonesia president Andreas Diantoro who apparently says “the Windows 9 upgrade will be available free of charge to all existing Windows 8 users once it’s released.”
Having Windows 9 as a free upgrade for Windows 8 users would effectively be the same as Microsoft acknowledging that Windows 8 was so poor it was worthy of a free upgrade. It would be an embarrassing mea culpa — and likely this statement isn’t accurate. While Indonesia is an emerging market that has a healthy appetite for phablets, tablets, and low-cost notebooks, having the president of Microsoft’s regional operations for the area make an announcement of this scale is not in Microsoft’s standard operating procedures.
Regional presidents of companies, particularly those in smaller markets, are known to make erroneous statements. That’s the reason why major announcements tend to come from the company’s home country and top executives.
The fact is going into the launch of Windows 9, currently codenamed “Threshold”, there are more questions than answers right now. It’s not known if Microsoft will continue its strategy of marketing Windows as a hardware agnostic platform; Microsoft may realize its mistake from trying to create “one Windows to rule them all” and once again split the mobile and desktop versions of Windows.
But until Windows 9 is officially unveiled on Tuesday in San Francisco, there’s only speculation.