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Microsoft confirms Windows 8.1 is a free upgrade

Microsoft confirms Windows 8.1 is a free upgrade

Microsoft's Tami Reller has confirmed that Windows Blue will launch as Windows 8.1, and be a free upgrade for existing Windows 8 and Windows RT users.

Microsoft has confirmed that its upcoming Windows Blue operating system will launch under the name Windows 8.1, and that it will be free for all users of existing Windows 8 products.

First hinted back in February when a job advert went live asking for a software development engineer to work on an at-the-time unannounced product dubbed Windows Blue, numerous leaks have provided a tantalising glimpse of Microsoft's plans for the next-generation operating system. Sitting somewhere between a full release and a Service Pack, Windows Blue is thought to be part of the company's plans to better compete with rival Apple through a more rapid release schedule: rather than launching a full operating system refresh every three to five years at a high price, Blue will be followed by annual updates at a much lower cost.

While that fact has not yet been confirmed by Microsoft, which is playing its cards as close to its chest as possible when everything it does gets leaked all over the place, the company has confirmed an earlier rumour: Windows 8.1 will be made available to Windows 8 users as a free update.

Speaking at the JP Morgan Technology, Media & Telecoms Conference, Microsoft's Tami Reller - chief marketing officer and chief financial officer of the company's Windows arm - stated outright that Windows 8.1 will launch as a free upgrade for Windows 8 and Windows RT users. Reller also confirmed that a public preview of the upgrade will be released at Microsoft's annual Build conference in June, ahead of a full launch scheduled for a pre-Christmas window.

While not a ground-up redesign of the operating system and its divisive Modern UI - based on the tile-style Metro UI first developed for Microsoft Windows Phone platform - Windows 8.1 is expected to bring numerous improvements to the user experience for those who interact with their systems using a keyboard and mouse. Although Microsoft's focus remains on creating a user interface that works well with touch-screen devices, it's clear the company is listening to feedback regarding the difficulties less technical users have in making the migration from the WIMP (Windows, Icons, Menus and Pointers) experience of Windows 7 and prior to the more gesture-driven Windows 8.

What Reller did not disclose is how the launch of Windows 8.1 will affect retail pricing and availability. It is though that Windows 8.1 SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) will simply replace Windows 8 SKUs - meaning there'll be a Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows 8.1 Enterprise, along with Windows RT.1 or however the company decides to massage the version number into its OEM-only product's name. As a result, pricing for retail releases of Windows 8.1 should remain the same as that of Windows 8 - and there's unlikely to be a repeat of the cut-price offer that saw users upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8 for as little as £15.

8 Comments

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Snips 15th May 2013, 11:13 Quote
"Free!" I like free things :)
runadumb 15th May 2013, 11:28 Quote
Ah, shame you think they won't do a limited time special offer to give more people a reason to get off of windows x and onto 8

I would be tempted this go around for £25.
Gareth Halfacree 15th May 2013, 11:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by runadumb
Ah, shame you think they won't do a limited time special offer to give more people a reason to get off of windows x and onto 8.
That's just a guess on my part - they could well run another £15/£25 time-limited upgrade offer. I wouldn't bet on it, though - the beancounters will be panicked enough over it being free for Windows 8 users...
Snips 15th May 2013, 13:47 Quote
They ended up doing the same thing for Flynn O.......oh err Encom OS12
KidMod-Southpaw 15th May 2013, 16:53 Quote
I'm definitely looking forward to this! I just hope there's improved multi monitor support.
runadumb 15th May 2013, 17:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by KidMod-Southpaw
I'm definitely looking forward to this! I just hope there's improved multi monitor support.

What's wrong with multi monitor support? My desktop uses 3 screens so this is something I should read up on before thinking about windows 8.

I have windows 8 on my HTPC but its basically an Emulation station and I only got windows 8 as it was cheap.
stuartwood89 15th May 2013, 18:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by runadumb
What's wrong with multi monitor support? My desktop uses 3 screens so this is something I should read up on before thinking about windows 8.

Multi-monitor support is fine. In fact I would say it's actually very good in Windows 8. Where it fell short for me, was that due to the charms menu being in the top-right of the screen, it was very easy to accidentally move the mouse to the other monitor and close the sidebar. That of course only matters if you tried to use the left monitor to access charms like I did. You can still access it on the right-most monitor if necessary.
Corky42 16th May 2013, 02:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuartwood89
Multi-monitor support is fine.

Depend on what your definition of fine is, i would say its not very good at all in 8.
They are working on it for 8.1, the beta shows it's still a little buggie but those bugs should be squashed come release time.

Winbeta done a quick showcase of whats new with multi-monitor support in the betas.

cGFbK0--HRQ
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