Windows Threshold, the next-generation revision to Microsoft's operating system, could be released as a free technology preview as soon as October according to multiple anonymous sources.
Microsoft's Windows Threshold is rumoured to be launching as a free technology preview in October, with a full commercial launch as Windows 9 in the spring of 2015.
Potentially planned to launch next year as Windows 9, confirming Microsoft's new commitment to a more rapid release cycle that mirrors those of many Linux distributions or Apple's OS X platform, Windows Threshold is claimed to include numerous improvements over Windows 8.1. Some of these, like a Mini Start Menu for those who find the Start Screen objectionable but who don't want a third-party software solution, are purely visual; others, like the rumoured integration of Windows Phone's Siri-like Cortana voice-activated assistant directly into the operating system, are more fundamental.
Microsoft hasn't said anything official about its plans for Windows Threshold, but multiple independent sources have spoken to ZDNet
's Mary Jo Foley on condition of anonymity to state that a technology preview of the platform will be launching sooner rather than later. These sources have pointed to a release in late September or early October, giving users plenty of time to feed back on the OS and its new features ahead of a true launch in the spring of next year.
The technology preview will be freely available to all interested in upgrading, at least one source has claimed, but there are still no confirmations about how Microsoft plans to launch the OS. Previously, it has spaced its major releases years apart and charged a high fee to move from one to another; a move to an annual update cycle would need to come with a dramatically reduced upgrade cost to interest buyers, but the company is unlikely to match Apple's policy - paid for by tying the software to the purchase of high-profit hardware - of allowing most users to upgrade for free.
Microsoft has not commented on the rumours.