Microsoft to roll out Windows Blue, an update to Windows 8, this year

Infotech Lead India: Microsoft will roll out an update to Windows 8 — Windows Blue — by the end of this year.

The software giant is keen to improve market share and the new version will be compatible with smaller tablets.

Microsoft has already sold 100 million Windows 8 licenses in the six months since launch.

Windows 8, the first Microsoft operating system primarily designed for touch commands, has failed to dent in a tablet market dominated by Apple and Samsung Electronics, Reuters reported.

IT market research agency IDC expects that Microsoft will capture around 10 percent market share of the tablet operating system segment by 2017.

Though Microsoft sold 100 million Windows 8 licenses since launch on October 26, matching Windows 7 sales three years previously, it looks unlikely that the new system will see progressively rising demand, as Windows 7 did, hitting 240 million sales in its first year

Microsoft’s last Windows 8 sales update was in early January, when it broke 60 million, suggesting only around 40 million license sales in the last four months, well below Windows 7’s average sales rate.

Windows 7 was helped by the fact that it replaced the generally unpopular Windows Vista, whereas Windows 8 has confused many potential customers with its new-look ’tile’-based start screen and the omission of the traditional ‘start’ button.

“We’ve considered a lot of different scenarios to help traditional PC users move forward as well as making usability that much better on all devices,” said Tami Reller, co-head of Microsoft’s Windows unit.

IDC said Android and iOS, the number one and number two ranked smartphone operating systems (OS) worldwide, combined for 91.1 percent of all smartphone shipments in Q4 2012.

Windows Phone/Windows Mobile made market-beating progress in Q4 and 2012. The addition of Nokia’s commitment behind the platform was the key driver in Microsoft’s success. The relationship has benefited Nokia, which amassed 76.0 percent of all Windows Phone/Windows Mobile smartphone shipments.


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