Windows 9 (Threshold) Beta Expected By The End Of This Year

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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is working to bring Windows 9, code-named Threshold, to users by spring 2015. Not surprisingly, the company has officially announced the end of support date for “business” Windows 8 users. According to ZDNet, business users will have to upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 8.1 Update 1 by August 12, 2014 if they want to keep getting fixes and patches from Microsoft.

Leaked features of Windows 9 garnering positive reaction

August 12 is the software giant’s Patch Tuesday, when the company is expected to release a number of updates. Anyway, Microsoft would want to get over the Windows 8 debacle as soon as possible. Recent leaks clearly suggest that most of the features Windows 8 emphasized upon, such as Charms Bar, will be scaled back in Windows 9. Reports suggest that the beta version of Windows 9 will be released by the end of this year, and the final OS will hit the markets in the first half of 2015.

Windows 8 focused dramatically on mobile computing. Meanwhile, Windows 9 is going to establish a balance between the mobile capability and desktop muscle, says Alex Wilhelm of TechCrunch. That fits well int the bigger picture of the computing market where PC sales have started to stabilize while tablet growth is slowing.

That doesn’t mean Windows 9 is going to ignore tablets. The focus will be more even with the next-gen OS. Many leaked features of Windows 9 are already garnering positive reactions from the user community. Microsoft is expected to bring back the Start menu and ditch the much-maligned Charms Bar with Windows 9. The new OS will also reportedly have the virtual desktops feature, which is wildly popular among enterprise customers and power users. Ubuntu and Mac OS X already support virtual desktops.

Existing Windows users could get Windows 9 for free

But Microsoft won’t entirely go back to the desktop. The company won’t back down from the Windows Store. The Start Screen and Live Tiles are here to stay. Microsoft is trying to provide a Windows 7-like desktop experience, while combining that with its mobile-friendly interface and apps. That’s in line with previous reports that Windows 9 will have Metro apps running in a windowed fashion.

Moreover, veteran tech reporter Mary Jo Foley recently said that Microsoft will give existing users a compelling incentive to upgrade to Windows 9, which includes the possibility of giving it away for free.

Microsoft shares rose 0.42% to $43.38 in pre-market trading on Monday.

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