It would be fair to say that Windows 8 wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. This wouldn’t exactly be the first time that a version of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s flagship operating system didn’t exactly meet with universal approval; perhaps most notably Windows Millennium Edition was perennially criticized for instability, compatibility and design issues.

windows 9

However, if critics of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) thought that they’d learned from their past travails, Windows 8 seems to have put this concept firmly to bed. The interface associated with the software has been roundly criticized, and this criticism has even been acknowledged officially by Frank X. Shaw, a Microsoft corporate vice president. He asserted that the reviews had been “extreme”, but that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was listening to feedback and improving their product.

Unquestionably, many people will have viewed this as the worst kind of inane corporate spin. Releasing a premium product, proclaiming it to be a massive improvement over its predecessor, and then finding out that the majority of people consider it to be useless; only the company that manufactured the product could possibly take any positives out of such a process!

Windows 8 issues sped up time frame for Windows 9

Nonetheless, the floundering of Windows 8 is not entirely bad news (except for those that have shelled out for a copy) as it has forced Microsoft to address the issue pretty swiftly. It is in this context that it is already being reported that Windows 9, the natural successor to Windows 8, is already under production, and is expected to be released by April, 2015 at the latest.

This new Windows release will form part of the new ‘Threshold’ wave of updates. This is an apparent codename for the new Windows code, although whether this represents anything more significant than marketing gimmickry remains to be seen.

It is worth noting that this hasn’t been officially confirmed by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) yet. The software giant is expected to officially announce Windows 9 at the company’s Build 2014 developer conference, which is scheduled for April. Thus, any talk about how Windows 9 will build upon the foundation of its previous iteration is largely speculative at this juncture, but some of the top Microsoft bloggers have nevertheless already posted their thoughts on the subject.

Nonetheless, the markets have already responded to this news, with Microsoft’s share price trading up nearly 2 percent on the news.

Some bloggers have already suggested that Windows 9 will include a windowed mode that works on the desktop, but many users will in particular be looking for the re-instatement of the Start menu, which was left out of Windows 8 to the confusion of virtually everyone that has used it. It does seem an extremely odd decision to change a basic layout that is both extremely familiar and popular, but it could be said in Microsoft’s defense that if no one ever took a risk then many tech breakthroughs and software innovations would never have occurred.

Windows 9 plans in final stages

It has been reported that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is now in the final planning stages for Windows 9, and plans to introduce three key development points during the aforementioned conference, with physical work on the OS actually beginning shortly afterwards. It’s a pretty daunting prospect to consider the massive coding job involved with this piece of software, but thankfully I don’t have to work on it…

Paul Thurrott, a popular Microsoft blogger, has suggested that this new version of Windows is actually a reworking of Windows 8, and was originally destined to be called Windows 8.2, but the company has since decided to distance itself from the Windows 8 brand name, due to what Thurrott describes as the software being a “debacle”.

Of course, the software market, and for the matter the desktop computer market, has hugely diversified in recent years. Apple have established themselves as no less than the world’s top brand, knocking Coca-Cola off the top spot after thirteen years on top of the Interbrand list of the world’s most iconic brands. Thus, consumers are starting to seriously consider a Mac desktop as an alternative to PCs, and if the price is sometimes prohibitive, the legendary design qualities and slickness of the Mac Lion OS have attracted plenty of adopters over to Apple’s side of the fence.

Price of Windows 9?

Thus, Microsoft will be only too aware of the need to preserve the primacy of Windows and its market share. It is interesting then that many analysts now believe that Windows 9 will be given away for free as Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) radically alters their business model.

This may sound like insanity considering Microsoft has previously charged in excess of £100 per copy for Windows, but the corporation could be forced to face the facts, much as print newspapers have been forced to develop new business models in the face of digital competition. Apple doesn’t charge users a single penny for its revered operating system, while Google Chromebooks have provided another very serious competitor for Microsoft, and one backed by another huge brand.

When you’re up against Apple and Google, you can’t take anything for granted no matter how big and established your reputation is, and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is re-adjusting to a world in which price is the primary driving force for consumers, and Microsoft can no longer be assured of attracting custom via familiarity alone.

Undoubtedly, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) won’t exactly be overly keen on this idea, but they will have to accept that the PC operating system market is becoming more diverse. In the ultra-competitive technology jungle there is only one certainty; adapt to the prevailing situation, or expect to get eaten.