Here is everything we know about Windows 9 'Threshold' so far

On Tuesday, September 30, Microsoft will hold an event in San Francisco where the company will begin to reveal what is next for its Windows operating system (with a specific focus for their enterprise customers).

While there has been a ton of interest in the tech media of what the company will reveal next week, Microsoft is taking a decidedly low-key approach in publicizing the event. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella won't be there (he's scheduled to be in India at the time for another press event) and Microsoft isn't bothering to offer a live stream of the press conference, which will be attended by the company's operating system leader Terry Myerson and his right hand man Joe Belfiore.

So what can we expect from the next version of Windows? This article offers what we think is contained within the OS, but keep in mind Microsoft may have some surprises up their sleeve that no one outside the company knows about yet. Furthermore, features that are rumored to be included may not show up in the final build.

A quick history of Windows 8

windows 8

While Microsoft is not making much fuss for their official introduction for the next version of Windows on Tuesday, this was not the case when they first revealed Windows 8 over three years ago. The company re-launched its developer's conference as BUILD to help promote Windows 8 to software creators. During the conference, held September 2011 in Anaheim, California, Microsoft not only launched the first of three public previews of Windows 8 but it gave thousands of its attendees a free Samsung tablet prototype with an early 'developer preview' of the OS already installed.

However, the final version of Windows 8, launched nearly two years ago in October 2012, is largely considered a disappointment by the majority of users. Created under the leadership of Windows team leader Steven Sinofsky and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the OS was the most radical change for the software since Windows 95. The desktop UI was still there, but it was decidedly regulated to the background in favor of the default touch-based Start screen using Microsoft's Modern (previously Metro) user interface.

Many decisions made by Sinofsky and Ballmer were not well received by long time Windows users. The desktop UI in Windows 8 lacked the familiar Start menu, and Microsoft chose to force the OS to boot to the Start screen, with no way for the user to boot directly to the desktop. A cottage industry of third-party Start menu programs for Windows 8 cropped up, which proved that there was still Windows users who did not need or want Microsoft's touchscreen features.

In November 2012, just a few weeks after the launch of Windows 8, Sinofsky unexpectedly departed Microsoft. In 2013, Microsoft launched Windows 8.1, a free update to Windows 8 that finally allowed users to boot to the desktop. However, the company still failed to put in a real Start menu. Instead, it put in the Start button that let people quickly switch between the Start and desktop user interfaces.

At the moment, the combined market share of Windows 8 and 8.1 on PCs worldwide is at 13.37 percent, according to Net Applications. That is not only well behind that of Windows 7, but it is also behind that of the 13-year-old Windows XP, which Microsoft no longer officially supports.

That was then. Now, under Nadella, Myerson and Belfiore, Microsoft is about to begin the process of introducing the next major version of Windows to the masses. Myerson and Belfiore are both Windows Phone veterans, which means that fans of the mobile OS are likely to see many features added to the next version of the PC version of Windows. More importantly, Myerson and Belfiore seem to want to listen to the actual users of Windows far more than Sinofsky. This attentiveness means that the mistakes made during Windows 8's development will be unlikely a second time.

The name of Windows

What will the next version of Windows be named? We know that Microsoft has used the code name "Threshold" during its development internally. It has also been called "Windows 9" by the media and apparently by Microsoft itself. Most recently, the Microsoft website that went live on Saturday for the technical preview showed another name, Windows TH (for "Threshold" we would presume). However, it is also possible Microsoft could just call the next version "Windows".

There is evidence that the company is trying to consider the marketing of both its Windows and Windows Phone brands under one brand.

start menu

The return of the Start menu

While Microsoft has said little officially about the next version of Windows, the BUILD 2014 developer conference did show Myerson revealing two essential features. One is the ability to run Modern UI apps on the desktop UI in a windowed form. The other feature is a version of the familiar Start menu on the desktop, which generated a massive cheer from the audience. The Start menu that was revealed was a mix of the traditional one found on Windows 7 combined with Modern UI tiles of Windows 8. However, Microsoft may allow for users to change the layout of the menu so it does not show any Modern UI titles.

Windows Phone 8.1 features

According to both information and screenshot leaks from early build of Threshold, Microsoft plans to add many features found in Windows Phone 8.1 in the next version of Windows. The biggest one includes the Cortana digital assistant, which apparently is only available as an app in current builds. There's also evidence that Storage Sense and Wi-Fi Sense might be on board, as well as a Notification Center.

Even more additions

Microsoft might launch a new and flatter design for Internet Explorer 12 in the next version of Windows and the desktop might be getting a flatter design as well. There's evidence that the OS adds multi-desktop support, which should be of interest to business users. There have been rumors that the company will be ditching the Charms bar found in Windows 8, but recently leaked screenshots and videos of a recent build still show the Charms bar in place.

Microsoft might add interactive live tiles to the Start screen for Modern UI apps. Microsoft might even offer users a more direct way to send feedback about builds to the company. Finally, alongside Windows 9 could also come DirectX 12, the next major upgrade for Microsoft's gaming graphics API, along with support for display that have up to 8K resolutions.

What will stay the same?

It is looking like Microsoft's Modern app strategy continues with the next version of Windows. There has been no indication that the company plans to ditch or substantially alter those apps or the Windows Store that is currently in Windows 8.1. We suspect that apps like Skype and OneDrive are built in Threshold, again as they are part of Windows 8.1.

Desktop or no Desktop?

While people who use the next version of Windows will be able to access the desktop UI on a regular PC, there are some rumors that claim those users might never have to access the Modern UI unless they want to. Conversely, if Threshold is installed on a tablet device, the user might never have to access the desktop UI. It apparently all depends on the size of the screen and/or it is touch enabled. This change should solve some of the problems of Windows 8, which tried to offer both user interfaces, no matter which devices it was installed.

htc one

Will Windows RT get updated and what does this mean for Windows Phone?

Microsoft launched Windows RT at the same time as Windows 8 in 2012. Windows RT only ran on devices that used ARM's processor designs, which meant that it could not run any of the older programs made for previous versions of Windows. With Threshold, there are rumors that Microsoft might try to merge that OS with Windows Phone, which already runs on ARM-based chips. Indeed, one story claims Microsoft will launch a preview of the ARM version of Windows in early 2015, and that it could run on Windows Phone devices.

That would seem to suggest that the next version of Windows Phone could be the Windows RT version of Threshold. There is simply no way of knowing for sure at this point, but that would be a logical assumption to make. If that is indeed the case, the launch of Threshold will be just as important to Windows Phone fans as it is for PC desktop, tablet and notebook owners.

Will the next Windows be free?

There are some rumors that claim Microsoft is considering a plan that would allow the final version of Threshold to cost $0 for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. This price drop would be a massive change in Microsoft's business model for the operating system. However, the company already offers Windows Phone 8.1 free to OEMs, as well as Windows 8.1 for tablets that are smaller than nine inches. Dropping the price of its desktop OS would certainly help to boost its market share almost immediately.

Will the next Windows also be the last?

Microsoft's previous business model had the company launching major new versions of Windows, with lots of improvements and changes, every few years. Now there is speculation about the company altering its update schedule for Threshold that would make it technically the last version of the OS. Instead of introducing new features in one big release every three or so years, Microsoft might update the OS every month with new additions, along with bug fixes and security improvements.

When will it be released?

While Microsoft is currently expected to hold its next Windows press event on Tuesday, it might wait until sometime in early October to release the enterprise preview build of the OS. Microsoft already has a website in place for the download, which it is calling Windows Technical Preview for Enterprise. It is important to note that the 'early preview' will most likely not have all of the features that Microsoft plans to put inside the final build of Windows 9. Now, the current rumors claim that the final version of the next Windows OS will be presented to the public sometime in the spring of 2015.

surface 2

Will Microsoft launch new Surface tablets alongside Threshold?

Microsoft released Windows 8 in the fall of 2012, and it included the release of Surface for Windows RT. It was Microsoft's debut PC hardware product, and it was followed up by the launch of Surface Pro, running Windows 8, in early 2013. In October 2013, alongside the launch of Windows 8.1, Microsoft also released the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablet. In June 2014, Microsoft started selling the Surface Pro 3, a large 12-inch tablet.

There has been almost no buzz at all about Microsoft launching a Surface 3 this fall using Windows RT 8.1. Microsoft may be simply holding off on releasing new tablets until the release of the final version of Threshold. Nonetheless, Microsoft could surprise us and release a Surface 3. In a few weeks, we should know for sure.

What about touch-based versions of Office for Windows?

Microsoft has already launched ports of Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Apple's iPad, and there are rumors the company may do the same for Android tablets before the end of 2014. It is conceivable Microsoft might wait until the final version of Threshold is released before also launching touch-enabled versions of Office apps for Windows tablets and touchscreen-enabled notebooks and all-in-one PCs. All we know is that this version of Office is coming.

windows 9

Wait and see

In the end, there is not much we can do but wait for Microsoft's reveal on September 30. Again, the company is not going all out to hype up this press event, so our expectations are low in terms of getting a ton of news. However, there is no doubt in our minds that Microsoft wants to win back all of its current PC users who decided to bypass Windows 8 and 8.1. That may be why they are targeting enterprise customers version with this event, rather than developers or consumers. Microsoft wants all those Windows 7 and Windows XP IT managers who work at large companies to ditch those older operating systems in favor of what is next.

Microsoft needs the next version of Windows to be a success in order to help ditch the bad reputation that Windows 8 generated in the past two years. Myerson and Belfiore will be on the front lines of this launch. It is going to be interesting to see what the final reaction will be from both enthusiasts, and the public based on their management and development efforts. It is also an essential part of Nadella's overall leadership of Microsoft and his "mobile first, cloud first" strategy.

Are you excited about what may be announced on September 30 and do you plan to try out the next version of Windows when Microsoft releases a preview version of the OS? Sound off below!

John Callaham
  • Really nice article, John.
    Hope it'll simply be called "Windows" if it's the last version. But then, Microsoft still needs to make the headlines from time to time so they need to have something to announce. They could release a slightly bigger update once a year, call it the '20xx update' and release the new generation of Surfaces and a few Lumias alongside.
  • Yep, and leave him alone for the typo
  • typo(s)
  • "Surface" would've been a great name for their touch OS... if they weren't already using it, I guess.
  • Touch OS maybe?
  • Surface was the name of their tabletop touch environment until it just kinda disappeared.
  • Very well done article, indeed!
  • I think that the problem of calling it just windows won't help people realize that this is not windows 8.
  • Being the last version of Windows means they can move away from the version number in the name. They can't really ditch the Windows name because many users would be worried the new OS won't support their software (so you'll need to educate them that it actually is Windows).  The Windows One (stupid but it was also stupid for the Xbox), Windows X (a little close to OSX?) and Windows names would all make some sense.  We don't have to wait much longer, unless the preview would still cary the internal name Threshold (Vista was initialy released for testing using the Longhorn name)
  • Windows One would actually be a good name if you think about the marketing slogan: "One Windows, for all your devices"
  • Wating for WP 9
  • I really hope my 925 will be able to get the new update as well as all of the features. Hopefully it won't be like WP 7.
  • Most likely it won't, it's based on over 3 year old hardware when the new windows is available
  • That's disappointing. I guess we all better start saving up then.
  • That's what I'm doing now.
  • Mee too..:-)
  • The 925 hardware platform considerably younger than 3yo.
  • But the processor was available in early 2012..... So it will be 3 years old when the new windows is released.
  • and because of that, it won't get updated? The Moto 360 wants to have a word with you...
  • Since leaving Android more than 2 years ago, It has nothing it can say that I want to listen to, so tell your Moto360 to talk to itself instead.
  • Wow, you clearly havent been paying attention to the news.   Microsoft themselves have stated that ALL WP8 devices can install the Wp9 update when its announced/available. they did also say that not all features may be avaiable for older models.
  • Which means that the first Gen WP8 phones will get practically nothing most likely. Look at the denim update as an example
  • 1) Denim is a firmware update not an OS update 2) Thats the case for every device in the market, even for apples products, eventually the older ones get less features, either for technicall reasons, hardware reasons, or marketing reasons. that arguement is just pulling at straws..
  • I totally agree, but when a phone gets an new version of an OS they think they are getting all of the features.
  • thats just not a good mindset to have lol   i think whats gonna end up happening, is, while microsoft i dont think will block certain features, I think it will start coming down to companies releasing drivers to take advatange of certain features, for example, hey cortana.
  • After WP DP 8.1.1 on multiple Lumia 521s, it becomes obvious that people shouldn't want all the features active on older devices. The lag is now surpassing many of my older Andriod devices. I'm about ready to put 8.0 back on some of these. If not 8.0, perhaps one of the earlier versions of 8.1.
  • They also said that all WP8 lumias will receive black, which 810 didn't get. Maybe they said all are eligible to receive wp9, but we all know that in the end not everyone is going to receive it.
  • But thats not Microsofts problem. The OEMs (and cariers) need to push updates. Microsoft wil only make them available. I think its safe to say, from a OEMs perspective, now that Microsoft owns the Lumia line, all Lumia WP8 devices wil get Treshold (if its not for cariers blocking it). I would think HTC would offer it to. But all the new 'private label' OEMs in upcomming markets, not so sure!        
  • ^this guy knows what he's talking about
  • I know that Microsoft wants it to be on all Lumias, but I'm saying that dumb carriers like t mobile will be like, "it's EOL so you don't get it" while all the other carriers still support it.
  • Update support for at least 3 years means it can be for longer too.  Right now it doesn't look like there will be any new hardware requirements (WP8 required a TPM chip which made WP7 hardware incompatible). With newer devices being released with weaker CPUs the performance issue should be a problem either.  I'd say the chances of WP9 update for all current WP8 devices in spring 2015 is very likely
  • Well, as for those WP7 users, they can't upgrade to WP8 and they're left with this dying platform. I spent, like, $1000 on my Lumia 900 when I got it and, even though my Lumia still looks good today, it sucks spending a lot of money on something that didn't last long.
  • Why would you pay a 1000 Euro for a phone. Not even an iPhone is that expensive, and thats like the most expensive mainstream smartphone out there.... Did Nokia really sold the L900 for that insane price? Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • I remember when I was stuck on WP7 for a while and I was so jealous of everyone on WP8. I had a then-midrange Lumia 710 which I actually got on the day it came out, but it didn't cost a lot so it wasn't too difficult to let go of it. My mom is using it now so at least it's not just sitting there collecting dust. You really are missing out of you're still on WP7, but if you can you should wait until the next version of WP. It's not like there are any great Lumia flagships out right now anyways. They are all good, not great. Everyone is waiting for a true flagship which combines the best of all Lumias into one and is available on all carriers. Maybe 5" and 6" screen versions.
  • After more than 2 years I still use a Lumia 710 as my daily driver. I bought and set up a 520 for my wife eight months ago. Both function perfectly well for our needs. I find the 710's only serious drawback is battery life but I anticipate he 710 will last long enough until WP9 or whatever label Microsoft gives to the next phone operating system generation.
  • $1000? Really?
  • @Lance_Lumia900 Dude that is because the Kernal changed from CE to NT and the techies who thought CE was going to last were incredibly naive. @Michael Bennik, really? what is going to stop a vendor from selling it at an inflated price? Here is one example :P
  • Microsoft has promised that the current gen Lumia (running Cyan) will get at least 3 more updates.
  • Sure, but you are overlooking the carrier's role. Microsoft promised that we would get cyan this summer, but Verizon didn't bother releasing either WP 8.1 or Cyan to anyone. I have a flagship Icon, which is essentially he exact same build as a 930, which has both 8.1 and cyan, but Verizon says that they can't releaase either until they are "done testing." If it's up to Verizon alone, I would still be running WP 8.0. Fortunately Microsoft has provided the Preview for Developers program as a workaround, but that shouldn't have to be the primary way to receive OS updates, and even though Microsoft now builds the hardware they don't include firmware updates in the PFD program.
  • HE HE HE
  • Seriously I miss the start menu.
  • Then download one... Wow, that was hard.
  • Personally, I don't miss the start menu at all.
  • I have an Apps view sorted by most used when I press the Start button and all my programs are there, so technically, there's no need for a start menu for me
  • I don't miss the start menu either. I love being able to arrange the tiles by category and according to preference. Even with mouse and keyboard. Mouse wheel is awesome when it comes to scrolling through apps and the start screen.
  • I would really LOVE to have Windows RT on my phone!
  • Yeah #1320 & #1520
  • Why, isn't windows phone better with a wider range of apps or are you being sarcastic.
  • I'm not being sarcastic, I really like how RT performs and looks, and when RT and WP merge the apps are going to be the same anyways.
  • Most of the apps on WP right now are silverlight apps. These apps won't be merged automatically. Developers would need to migrate their apps to store apps first. It makes more sense that Microsoft would support old silverlight apps on RT (and actually allow these apps to run on RT tablets, assuming those would still exist)
  • They are going to have to support existing WP apps if they want that to work (otherwise people would upgrade their device and find half their apps are no longer there). 
  • Hell yeah, I would also love to have the OS take up 13GB of storage on my 16GB device. Wouldn't that be cool?
  • Rt takes 16 gb? Hell no. There is 16 gb 8.1 (not rt) tablets
  • Even the new full windows tablets only take about 4gb. See the Encore Mini.
  • Your OS taking up 13GB of storage in your device?!! What ever device you're using must not be from planet earth!
  • Yeah, I feel you. Which phone are you using?
  • Hue hue hue hue
  • Nice usernam
  • Well why thank you.
  • I wish its named as threshold......
  • I really hope it isn't. That's a good internal code name, but a terrible release name.
  • WP central keep going on about threshold code name for Windows 9.
    Funny thing is, Windows 8 was also code name threshold.
  • No it wasnt, we knew about threshold during W8's development, but, it wasnt the codename for W8, back then it was a codename for the idea of merging all the services into one, due to the nature of what the next version of windows is doing, it naturally became the codename for the OS itself. W8 is an odd case, as I'm pretty sure it had no internal code name, if it did, it may have been metro, but I cant see anything anywhere on the net that calls that its codename. so more than likely, windows 8's code name, was... Windows 8 
  • ask Mary Jo Foley, she probably knows what the Win8 codename was
  • Excellent article
  • CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!
  • I love windows on my desktop and my phone but it is annoying as all hell on my surface rt. Hopefully windows 9 rt (or whatever it will be called) will bring it some needed performance boosts!
  • That's more the specs. The Surface 2 runs great.
  • Doorstep.
  • Dubstep
  • Two step
  • Authentification?
  • Two-step
  • Denied?
  • Twostep
  • Microsoft marketing team is plain bullshit,A new team would take Microsoft to a whole new level!!!
    I mean come on,windows TH!!??
  • Remember Longhorn? Threshold/TH is a temporary codename.
  • Lol,well,what about the Bing MSN changes,msn died why revive?and Bing is getting better why kill!!??
  • I assumed market research for web browsers. Sure Bing Apps are great but changing it to MSN branding doesn't change content. Since MSN is older and more recognizable I could the decision to change. Bing still has it purposes but more as technology than a brand for right now.
  • I read a comment on this branding change that made a whole lot of sense.
    "Bing" is a TECHNICAL BACKGROUND INFRASTRUCTURE, powering Microsoft's services, like, for example websearch (obviously) or Cortana.
    But the finance app, weather app and their ilk are CONTENT.
    In this regard the "Bing" branding for the apps didn't make an awful lot if sense in the first place.
    To separate content from Infrastructure they already dropped "Bing" from the app's names before the rebranding to "MSN".
    The question if "MSN" is a good brand, is a completely different topic.
    They certainly lost some brand recognition over the, but, according to Alexa, they're still ranked the 34th most visited site globally.
  • How is that different from Windows ME or Windows XP?
  • Woooow, we know alot about W9, I'll be really surprised if there's more features we don't know about it
  • Surface 3 at 12" would be nice for me.
  • Really excited
  • From the rumours, I deduce that the next version of Windows will be friggin' awesome! I do have a Q and may be bashed by a lot of users for saying this (or not, since I am supporting Windows)..... Will Bootcamp support the preview for Windows on a mac running Yosemite beta?
  • John, the release years of the Surface Pro and the Surface Pro 3 are one year early.
  • Fixed, thx
  • Super excited
  • If Microsoft found A way to run exe files on rt and WP, I would easily upgrade everything without an x86 or x64. Even my calculator.
  • Free for 7, seems legit. Since id never upgrade to 8 .3.
    And I don't quite understand RT and ARM. Time to research o3o
  • Does surface pro 3 runs Windows 8.1 RT?
  • No, hence the 'Pro' designation.
  • I thought Daniel wrote this article. Great one, John.
  • new start menu + windowed metro apps(no,i don't want modernmix) + DX12 = WANT
  • Capitalism.
  • I would like to try Windows 9 in my office desktop... Hope Windows 9 will replace its predecessor Windows 7
  • I'll be installing it right away. A VM isn't enough for me ... I'll be dual-booting so I can try it as my daily driver but still switch back to 8 if I have issues.
  • Me too + all the tools for developing WP apps - no reason why they should not all just work as now, but never know.
  • Also retaining the original install means we still have something official to upgrade when the final release comes out.
  • The official W9 will launch with WP 9 introduction?
  • Yes from here on out all Windows versions will be unified.
  • April 2015...perhaps
  • It was an easy transition for me to windows 8 with a touch screen computer, so I never understood all the fuss. I just want the new version to succeed, so if it means adding the start screen, so be it. I'm more excited about the merging of rt and WP. Maybe I'll finally be able to take meeting minutes on my Lumia phone using my Bluetooth keyboard! Won't have to take a separate tablet from home.
  • i dont get the fuss either.. at least 8.1 and the updates make it awesome. you can right click the new start menu to get to your dear old start, or left click to enter surface mode. access to apps like viber on my computer is awesome... charms is useless for me the way it is. If they let me customize what to put there, then it will be ideal. But the real feature i cant wait for is multiple a previous mac user, i know this feat is  MUST.. i hope they integrate 4 finger trackpad control to dismiss and bring back windows. Also if they allow us to pick what our hot corners trigger, that would be the PERFECT system.
  • Stick to just calling it Windows and give it for free. Just charge for office nd other services. Makes more sense in the long run. More people would use the OS for sure.
  • Why would you name your last version of Windows, TH?
  • He said just call it Windows, not TH
  • I would put TH before Windows, and then rename TH to The, therefore giving The Windows. Much better.
  • office can be used online too. login to outlook and u get all those good features.
  • Hmmm...if you have a surface 3 and you use it with a secondary screen will it hide desktop when used as a tablet and visa versa ?
  • It checks to see if you're using a mouse + keyboard to determine that
  • And how did you know ? 
  • Are you talking about de upcomming Surface 3 with Windows RT (or whatever it will be called). Then it will never have a desktop, everything will run in the modern environment. When you are talking about the Surface 3 Pro it will never hide the desktop. That would make Intel Windows Tablets no better then ARM Windows Tablets and would make absolutly no sense. Off course Microsoft wiil try to push you towards using the modern interface.
  • I'm always excited about getting the newest version of Windows. It's the one area where you can be WAY ahead of most people you meet. "Oh, you're still on XP?"
  • Or, Oh you're still on Windows 8.1 Update?
  • Hope there'll be an option to disable Start menu. It's like in XXI century people would like to send a telegram or so.
  • There is. At least according to the video leaks from winfuture.
  • It would be awesome if we could run start screen (with same background image as desktop) with taskbar activated and windowed apps.
  • Nice article :)
  • Hopefully this means that windows phone will finally get the parental controls from regular windows.  My wife and I both use windows phone and love it, but all three of our children that have phones are all on Android by my insistence, since there is no way for me to make them accountable for their web browsing and texting on a windows phone.  On Android I can install a program (Funamo) that allows me to set time limits, block risky sites, and overall make them accountable.  I know some people find parental controls offensive, for various reasons, but it seems that many of those people don't actually have children and some of those that do don't realize how much trouble kids can get into with unfettered internet access (yes, we have activated web filtering with our carrier).  I like allowing my children freedom to make choices, but to make them accountable for those choices and to help protect them in situations where their young brains aren't myelinated enough to protect themselves.
  • Well..u r doin great..!!
  • Great summary article. I think windows made too many changes too fast and they cant expect for enterprise business to dish out cash again for this. Make the upgrade really cheap or free.
  • Appreciate the effort done in article. Waiting for the Windows TH
  • Here is everything we *guess about. . .
  • Far from it. Leaked early builds definitely showed new features.
  • Hey Dan I have sent you a PM, please check it out
  • Definitely excited and would want to try it.
  • I can't wait to upgrade, and I can guaruntee Microsoft will not be calling it " Windows Th "... I mean ... C'mon man.
  • My 620,PC and laptop are ready.
  • If it is the last big version of Windows, I am hoping that it called Windows else call it Windows OS 9. I am hoping that the Consumer Preview is released in January. I am hoping that Microsoft will release the touch version of Office for Android this year so that it will not interfere with any of the Windows announcements next year. I am hoping that all the other platform releases from Microsoft is done this year or the 4th quarter of next year. I am hoping the all of Microsoft rebranding is done by the end of the year. I want all focus next year to be on Microsoft software, devices and the merging of the Windows and the Windows Phone OSes (ARMS or INTEL). I want an 8" Surface Mini with pen support and micro USB support (I want to use a 128 go card). I also want the Surface Mini to have LTE. I want Windows Store apps from my banks. I want The Room and Mahjong and Friends apps converted to Windows Store apps. I want a full featured xBox Music app that will see ALL my music, not just the music it can match.
  • Whoa...u need too much!! ;)
  • Not really. It's things I have seen consumers ask about in the past. I'm pretty sure there are people who would love a Surface Mini with Mini Surface Pen. One Windows for phone, tablets, and PCs is very welcome. I would love for my banks to release a universal app. Hell I would love for all devs to update their apps to universal apps.
  • I would love to see Microsoft ditch the old way of releasing several versions of windows. Home, professional etc. If they really are indeed planning to unify Windows for PC, tablets and phones, i would love to see it named Windows OS One... :) #justmy2cents
  • I would love to see the new name being just "Windows". That is, if it's going to be updated regularly like speculated.
  • SD Card!!! Does this new version of Windows support installing store apps to SD Card? Because this one feature will squashing storage issue on the small storage devices (16GB ones).
  • and even solve problems for full solid state drive computers
  • Patiently waiting... I really really think that LG and Lenovo, both confirmed launching phones for Windows are holding up until Windows Phone 9 gets released.
  • Congratulations John, this is by far your best article to date.
    As for me, I won't be testing Windows 9 until the final version is out. Windows is a platform far to important for me and in which I rely way too much to give myself the luxury of messing with test versions and then have to clean install everything again.
    But I'm really anxious to get Windows 9 and if Terry & Belfiore manage to deliver our expectations, maybe I'll even forgive them the less than desirable pace of development of WP.
  • I can't wait for the next Windows. Also, I hope they make office for Windows Phone better. It doesn't have many features.
  • I just want an unread number of emails on my taskbar icon, so I don't have to open the app to see if I have an unread email.
  • yeah that would be great. although i think it already does something similar as i see my unread mail # on my laptop lockscreen when i turn it off and on again.. just not the taskbar :(
  • Maybe a stupid question but if RT or Threshold or whatever it's gonna be on Windows Phones next...does this mean we can get better versions of Facebook and Skype etc like the ones on the Surface Tablets etc compared to WP versions?
  • See, this is key. I'm not convinced that Microsoft has figured out how to get Windows RT onto phones yet, or they would have done it already. And aren't the differences pretty substantial?   If all it requires is an update, is Microsoft actually saying that you can run the full Windows RT browser on a Lumia 520/820/920/1020 device?    I'm pretty dubious about that.  
  • If they can pull this off and match functionality 100% on WP and Windows 9 (Skype I'm looking directly at you) then you can expect consumers to appreciate it a lot more instead of having different experiences of the same app on different devices. They might have waited to do so for the next version of Windows because Windows 8.X has already been tarnished by the general public. Also gives them time to polish it if they did figure it out.
  • Of course I'm excited as the computing world should about the Windows OS refresh, but I'm not sure it makes good business sense to not release updated version of the Windows OS periodically as it has been rather than minor updates and bug fixes, which it also does currently, by the way, in addition to the major releases. Personally, I think it makes a ton of sense to differentiate the versions of the Windows OS for proper identification by the lay people if for nothing else. Plus I don't understand the "free" part as a business proposition when it comes to OSes. These things cost a ton of money to develop and somebody has to pick up the costs somewhere, right?  Is MS going the Google way full steam or this is just a temporary measure to play the catch up game with Google and Apple? Microsoft does not need to play that game but stay focused on its game plan, but what do I know?
  • Just give me -the idiotically cancelled- WinFS, dump the Registry in favor of compartmentalized settings, being able to fully uninstall programs, without needing to manually delete components, less reboots for installs/updates/settings changes and continuity features and it'll be heaven!!!
    Then, device-wise, launch Surface Pro 4, Surface 3 LTE, with 64-bit processor, 10" screen in 3:2 aspect ratio and pen support (don't care much for mini tablets) and a Lumia 940/1530, again, with a 64-bit processor!
  • Am I the only one who love Windows 8?? Actually I like it more than 7.. ! Maybe coz I am just a basic user.. But 8 is really good (at least for me)..!
  • Windows 8.1 on my Surface RT is awesome for sure. We are in agreement.
  • I would like to have access to desktop through the mobile as well.
  • I'm downloading that baby the second it comes out! I have faith it'll be AWESOME!
  • If all Windows 9 is going to add is Start Menu(with tiles), windowed Metro apps and virtual desktops that's not going to convert consumers. OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 work so beautifully together through Continuity that's world class right there. On the low-cost front you have Chrome OS which is already virus-free, hassle-free and getting more offline options all the time with a user-friendly GUI since day 1. Honestly unless you have legacy applications, there is no compelling reason to stay with Windows when you look at the current other options.
  • Nice opinion but I would never use Google/Android anything, ever and although Apple is good its far too limited for my purposes. So Windows for the win.
  • Please explain what is limited by OS X? For whatever Windows apps & games you need, just buy Windows 8.1 for $110 on Amazon and Parallels for $80 and you're all set.
  • Kidding right. Bought my Lumia 930 for £9.99, that included a wireless speaker and charger and spare wireless battery. Bought my Surface for a fraction of OS hardware, does everything I need. So go spend ridiculous amounts of money on iWhatever. OS X does more than Windows, seriously!
  • i love the modern ui.  and really most of windows 8.1.  Have touch screen all in one  and surface pro, hope they dont change everything!
  • True multitasking /multi window with pen support for a 5.5-6" WP being able to switch between the touch screen and full desktop guide along with true stereo speakers on the front 2k resolution 4gig ram 128gig internal storage with support for the next SD card upgrade to 256gigs on the 810 chipsets as well as having a leica top end lens with true mechanical zoom capabilities manual shutters and ois on it's own processor and a 4000meh quick charge removable battery. No phone could come close to it. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • We still need an much needed Office suite updated for Windows phone!
  • I dont miss the start menu at all, kinda glad its gone, windows 8.1 is fresh and not as boring as the desktop. Love the tiles love evrything about it. if people love the desktop so much then stick with W7.
  • who is myerson?  he was a nobody last year when their were more known speakers.  i was hoping juliē larson would lead windows or windows phone, but even joe belfoire is MIA.  what was his last job
  • ehmm Terry Myerson IS the "Executive Vice President, Operating Systems". if you saw, there are no more "presidents" of divisions at Microsoft, everyone is now "Executive vice president" and they will talk directly to the CEO. that's how the re-organization ended up being. which is good. but pretty much he is now the new leader of Operating Systems, that means, Windows, Windows phone, etc etc... and that's why Threshold is expected to unify the platforms, because now they are under the same leader and not different leaders like before. Before this he was the one in charge to make Windows Phone and be the leader there, but of course it wasn't good since (again) windows and windows phone were two different platforms. and he was the one getting Joe Belfiore on board.   so I really don't know what you mean by "who is Myerson", if he is like the most important person in a Microsoft division today, since now he controls like everything related to Windows phone and Windows desktop Xbox, their apps and games and etc etc. In other words, he is the one that knows more what is happening around the next version of Windows in any platform.
  • Shoring up Xbox Music should be a high priority project for the threshold release. Get it right and put this thing to bed already.
  • I have three PCs, two laptops and a Surface Pro 3.  I want Windows to operate the SAME way on ALL my devices.  I do NOT want the desktop to be my default method.  I want the Start screen as it is, and I don't want any Metro apps running on the desktop.  If Windows 9 can give me that, then I might be able to stomach the rest of the GARBAGE they are doing to it.  If I can't, then I'll be staying with Windows 8.
  • Wouldn't be surprised if a Windows 9 Home edition (or whatever they call it) is made available for free to Win 8 users.  But it is hard to imagine that MS would let a Server version be available for free to busineses and advanced users.  No way, no how. Subscription model for Server edition is more like it.
  • I would say "Nothing" but oh well :)
  • Sounds great. especially start manu and  conventional format. 
  • I wouldn't be surprised this is the last version boxed version of Windows.  There going to go the way of Adobe, update your Windows, once or twice a year.  It will only be Windows. Cortanta on the desktop, that will for sure make Cortana extremely well known.
  • Windows 9 is include all, this is highlights news
  • If windows 9 is out before Verizon releases Lumia cyan... Idk what I'm going to do
  • Can't wait to try it !
  • hmm... that sinofsky... he purposely did it, don't you think? #conspiracy #sherlockwannabe
  • That guy is cute, :-*
  • Problem with the OS versions you mention is NONE ARE ENTERPRISE!!! Only Windows will work in Enterprise. Chrome OS is Dead Man Walking!
  • What's the time for its release? Am eagerly waiting for Windows TH ! Is there gonna be a live broadcast?
  • "Microsoft wants all those Windows 7 and Windows XP IT managers who work at large companies to  ditch those older operating systems in favor of what is next"   Does this include iMacs running in Apple (The Phone Bendable Innovation company) testing and designing work area as well right??? :P
  • What about "MediaCenter"?  Wil those feature be include in Windows or will it still be a add in of some sort?  Currently I use Ceton Tuners in Media Servers connected to my TV that server as my cablebox\DVR and movie server.
  • Surface y not come in India
  • I've not read anything about it, but instead of or in addition to allowing placement of Live Tiles on the Start Menu, why not merge them with the Gadgets from Windows 7 and let us put them on the Desktop. Then they can be alawys visible (to monitor the "Live" info), give an option for "Always on top" (defaulted to disabled), and be clickable to open the full app for more details. Live Tiles on the Start screen or Start menu have limited value except on a phone, because users only go to the Start screen or menu to launch a program. On Windows Phone, they make sense because we pull the phone out of our pocket and look at the Live Tiles to get a quick glance of what's going on. That's our "home" location. That's not the case on a PC. The desktop or mail program or whatever app is in use is the main screen, with Start just a brief waypoint between apps. So the logical place for Live Tiles with regularly updating and scrolling informatoin (weather, news, new e-mails, new messages, etc.) on a PC is on the desktop, where the information is always visible. This just seems like obvious common sense to me in any discussion of Live Tiles and a PC version of Windows. Am I missing something? Am I the only one who thinks this is a clear requiremet for any merged Windows UI?
  • This is all good news for Microsoft! Now all I need is a Android named Cortana to do all my daily tasks! ....."Cortana get me a beer....", "yes sir, I hope you enjoy it!" < hands me a beer >
  • Nice write-up, John! I'm really looking forward to the future of Windows.
  • I think Microsoft should call the next OS either "Windows One" or "Windows All" a play on "one OS for all devices."  I can see the commercial now: "Windows One from Microsoft, the one operating systerm for all of your needs, on all of your devices."
  • Pretty good article and was a great read, decided I'm going to run it under VM before to check it out before installing it under a dual boot.
  • My bet is Windows One to follow the Xbox One idea.
  • believe MS wont ditch Wp8 users as the Wp7 users were once done..and bring faster updates for wp8  
  • Wouldn't be surprised if they go one step further to making it free. "Install Windows 9 today and you'll get a $100 cheque, Starbucks gift voucher, Office package for iPad and Minecraft for XBox."
  • A Good Read  Thanks John