It would be fair to say that Windows 8 met with a rather lukewarm critical response. The latest Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) operating system was widely criticized for removing some of its most familiar features, most notably the ‘Start’ menu, and it was only a matter of time before Microsoft disowned it and released a replacement. Thus, it’s not surprising that Windows 9 is already seemingly on the horizon, according to recent leaks.

windows 9

Microsoft malaise

This is a particularly critical time for Microsoft, given the general move towards cloud computing which is forcing the company to evolve its entire business model. When Microsoft recently appointed its first new CEO in nearly fifteen years, Satya Nadella, the emphasis was on how his background was going to enable Microsoft to change.

Additionally, product lines haven’t gone as well as the company hoped in recent years. Aside from the malaise and criticism which Windows 8 experienced, their ‘next generation’ video games console the Xbox One, has been comfortably outsold by the Sony Playstation 4 all over the globe. And Windows Phones haven’t established the prominent position in the marketplace which Microsoft hoped; indeed, the corporation recently announced that it was slashing the price of its smartphones.

So if this is not quite a time of damage limitation for a company which remains the world’s biggest producer and seller of computer software, it is nevertheless one in which the public image of Microsoft must be restored, and the future direction of the company laid out in coherent fashion.

The first attempt to do this will be the forthcoming release of Windows 9. So what can we expect from this important Microsoft product? Leaks are already surfacing, and the latest screenshot obtained by Myce.com suggests that there are multiple versions of Windows 9 in the pipeline. Future versions of Windows and its companion software Microsoft Office would seem to include Windows 9, Windows 365, Windows Phone 9, Office 365 and Office Gemini.

Thus, Business Insider is reporting that Windows 9 is intended to fix many of the issues associated with Windows 8. Additionally, there will be a raft of new features are also planned. Unsurprisingly, Windows 9 is said to have more of a focus on cloud applications, and the most obvious cosmetic change to the operating system will be the inclusion of the voice operating system Cortana. This would bring Windows in line with its Xbox One cousin; with Microsoft having pushed voice operation included in the video games console very heavily.

Unified approach

Additionally, leaked documents show that Microsoft is looking to unify the Windows platform across all devices. Times have changed radically since Windows first established itself as a software heavyweight, and the contemporary computing climate necessitates a program which runs in an integrated fashion across multiple platforms. It is evident that Microsoft is currently working hard on this for Windows 9.

The city has largely hedged its bets on Microsoft lately, as evidenced by its fluctuating share price.

microsoft2

With Windows 9 apparently due to reach the shops around April, 2015, we may have to wait nearly another year to find out how effective Microsoft’s long-term plans are.