Windows Blue, the operating system update that has been rumored for months and now reportedly on its way to the Windows ecosystem later this summer, is generating some excitement and anticipation in the PC market.
Despite Microsoft’s recent troubles keeping up with Apple and Google in mobile technology, the software giant is still the biggest and most important show in town in operating systems. And whenever it gets ready to announce an update, people tend to listen.
What is surprising, though, is the relatively small number of people who realize just how important Blue will be to Microsoft, Apple and the entire operating-system market. The software might still be in its development phase, but depending on how well the update is put together, Windows Blue could have a profound impact on the marketplace, especially if it helps Microsoft finally get Windows 8 into more offices and homes.
Read on to find out why Windows Blue will be such an important launch when it’s made available later this year:
1. Windows 8 isn’t appealing to consumers
There’s an issue Microsoft is experiencing that needs to be addressed quickly: Windows 8 isn’t appealing to consumers. In fact, the number of people actually buying Windows 8 PCs for home use is not nearly as high as the software giant would like. To boost sales, Microsoft has offered its Surface Pro tablet, but whether that’ll turn things around remains to be seen. With Windows Blue, Microsoft might finally find a way to appeal to consumers.
2. Enterprise users are ho-hum about the software
Enterprise users are wary of Windows 8. They’ve found that the operating system’s new design makes it difficult for their employees to pick up and use, making it a non-starter for many IT decision-makers. According to reports, Blue attempts to address that problem with some improvements that will appeal to enterprise users.
3. It’ll tweak the user experience
The user experience in Windows Blue is expected to get a relatively large update. Microsoft will improve the user interface, making things a bit easier for users to find and eliminate all of the extras in the interface that they don’t need. Tweaking the user experience could be enough to improve Windows 8 adoption.
4. Built-in apps will get an upgrade
In addition to the operating system design, Windows Blue is expected to boast improvements to the apps that come bundled with the software. So, Internet Explorer, Bing, and Windows Explorer should be a bit easier to handle when Blue launches.
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5. Microsoft can find out if the Apple model works
Microsoft is following the Apple model with its operating system updates. The company used to offer up new versions of its software every few years. Now, it’s planning to deliver one major upgrade every few years and smaller, lighter updates between those periods. With Blue, Microsoft will find out if Apple’s model, which is essentially the same release strategy, will work for its customers.
6. Developers should have better tools
A key component in Windows Blue, according to reports, is improvements to the application development tools for the operating system. That means that software makers will be able to quickly update their programs and ensure that they’re able to offer an experience that customers on all different kinds of devices can enjoy.
7. Bing integration
Bing is expected to take on a whole new level of importance in Windows Blue. In fact, the search will be fully integrated across the operating system to give Microsoft a leg up on Google, which will only be available when folks open up the browser. It’s not clear how that integration will impact Microsoft’s relations with federal regulators, but it might improve Bing’s standing in the search market.
8. More screen sizes will be supported
With Windows Blue, Microsoft will deliver full support for smaller tablet screen sizes, like 7- and 8-inch displays. That’s important. An increasing number of companies are finding value in jumping into the tablet market with smaller screens, and Windows 8 will finally be able to accommodate those displays with Blue. It’s about time.
9. It puts pressure on Apple’s pricing model
Although Microsoft has remained tight-lipped on pricing plans for Windows Blue, an increasing number of reports have suggested that this software update, adhering to long-established Microsoft practice, will be available at no charge. What that means is Apple’s software updates, which usually set customers back around $20, could come under fire. After all, if Microsoft can deliver a free update, why can’t the world’s most successful company? Apple may face some resistance for its pricing if Microsoft delivers Blue for free.
10. It builds renewed hype for Windows
When Windows 8 launched last year, the hype surrounding the operating system was palpable. But now months later, it’s being ignored by individual users and businesses because they are still happy with Windows 7. Windows Blue might revive some measure of the market anticipation that surrounded Windows 8, which might encourage people to give it a second look. Hype is important. And Windows Blue might just bring it back to Microsoft.