Rumors around Windows 9, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s upcoming OS, are gathering steam. The Windows 8 and 8.1 couldn’t entice customers to upgrade, let alone encouraging them to buy new PCs. The Redmond-based software giant stayed away from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month. But a flurry of reports about Windows 9 indicate that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is back in the limelight.

windows 9

Windows 9 with two significant changes

Windows 9 is expected to come with two significant changes that may help the software giant regain consumer confidence. They are the Start menu and the ability to run Metro apps. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) removed the Start menu in the original version of Windows 8. After widespread criticism, the company brought back the Start button with Windows 8.1, but the Start menu is still not there. The “boot-to-desktop” mode in Windows 8.1 allowed users to bypass the Start screen that is more suitable for tablets. But the upgrades did little to win customers.

Windows 9 is likely to unify Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s various platforms. With SkyDrive, the company already streamlines data across various services and devices. A unified code in Windows 9 may take the agenda further. The company is rumored to merge all three of its operating systems (Windows, Windows Phone and Windows RT) into one to create a strong ecosystem. According to ZDNet, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) may split the operating system into two versions, one focused on consumers and another on enterprises.

Microsoft to reveal Windows 9 plans in April

Though Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) hasn’t officially said anything about Windows 9, sources with an exceptional track record have revealed a lot about the upcoming OS. Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet said last month that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is planning a number of Windows updates in a project code-named Threshold. Foley said the updates are likely to hit the markets in early 2015. It will be offering high value activities across platforms such as IT management tools, Bing, Office, games, apps and content. Foley reported in another post that the new version of Windows will be a lot friendlier to loyal Windows users. It indicates that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is trying to woo the keyboard-and-mouse crowd.

Paul Thurrott of Windows SuperSite said, citing inside sources, that the upcoming Windows will bring back the Start menu and accommodate Modern apps. Thurrott said earlier this month that the software giant is likely to introduce Windows 9 on a “vision” level during its Build conference for developers. And the operating system itself will be released in April 2015. The company is highly likely to name the new OS Windows 9 in an attempt to distance itself from Windows 8/8.1.

Windows 9 speculations tag Windows 8/8.1 as failures

Intense rumors around Windows 9 have painted Windows 8 and its successor 8.1 as failures. Though Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) fixed a number of problems with Windows 8.1, it couldn’t help gain market share. According to Net Applications, only 3.6% of desktop users had installed Windows 8.1 as of December 31, and more than 7% are still running the original Windows 8. In contrast, Windows 7’s performance was much better than both 8 and 8.1. Even in the enterprise market, demand for Windows 8.1 is almost flat.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) stock jumped 0.19% to $36.83 in pre-market trading Thursday.