Windows 8.1 released to limited fanfare a few weeks ago. But what’s next for the world’s largest software company? Is it Windows 8.2? Or Windows 9?
For the purpose of this article, we’re going to assume Microsoft is working on Windows 8.2. Windows 8 could certainly use one more update before Microsoft releases Windows 9, as there are plenty of problems to fix.
Whether it’s Windows 8.2 or Windows 9, here are some of the issues Microsoft needs to address moving forward:
Bring back the &$%#! Start button: Microsoft removed the Start button in Windows 8. They “brought it back” in Windows 8.1. Unfortunately, Microsoft was just trolling its users when it brought back the Start button. In Windows 8.1, the Start button doesn’t go to any sort of usable menu; instead, it brings users to the little-used app drawer. Thanks Microsoft! Windows 8.2 might be the time when Microsoft actually listens to consumer feedback and brings back a real, working Start button.
One Microsoft and one app store: Windows 8 has suffered immensely from its lack of apps to a point where the app-only Windows RT can hardly be considered a modern operating system. With Windows 8, Microsoft should be formally introducing its One Microsoft policy that outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer so eagerly wanted. That means one app store and one united operating system for consumers. We might have to wait until Windows 9 for that one operating system dream, but Windows 8.2 could be a good first step.
A friendlier interface: With Windows 8, Microsoft bizarrely assumed that everybody owned touchscreens. This was a massive mistake because it made Windows 8 virtually unusable for non-touchscreen users, which is most of Microsoft’s userbase. This idiotic move alienated Microsoft’s core users and sent them scurrying back to Windows 7. In Windows 8.2, Microsoft will likely make its apps and interfaces easier for non-touchscreen users to use, although this move will be made far too late to make any real difference.
Although nothing is confirmed, you can expect the next version of Windows 8 to be released approximately two years after Windows 8 and one year after Windows 8.1 (i.e. fall 2014).
Windows 8.2 will almost certainly be free. Microsoft has earned the nickname Micro$oft for a reason, but I can’t see them nickel-and-diming users for an incremental upgrade like this.
I would bet money that Microsoft pumps one more upgrade into Windows 8 before they abandon the failed operating system and move onto better things. Windows 9 might only be two to three years away, but I would expect one major upgrade to Windows 8 before Windows 9 is ever discussed.