Microsoft Working on Major Update to Windows 8
If you're among the droves of Microsoft Windows users who have been confused and frustrated with Windows 8, some of your issues might soon be solved. The tech giant is planning a significant update to the popular operating system the company said, which is expected sometime later this year.
When Microsoft released Windows 8 last fall, it was seen as a somewhat radical departure from the previous iteration, Windows 7. Instead of the traditional "windows" format with menus, Windows 8 -- both the desktop and mobile versions -- features a tile-based interface called Metro that's used to control and navigate the system. At the same time, it launched Windows RT, a version of Windows 8 for Microsoft's tablet, the Surface.
What's more, the operating system was designed without the popular Windows Start button and menu in the lower left of the screen. Users found this, and many of the other new features confusing and difficult to get used to.
In an interview published on Microsoft's "Blogging Windows" blog on Monday, Chief Marketing Officer Tami Reller said the company has been working on something called Windows Blue, a "codename" for an update to Windows 8. "The Windows Blue update is also an opportunity for us to respond to the customer feedback that we’ve been closely listening to since the launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT," she said in the post.
Regarding the update, Reller didn't elaborate on specific changes Microsoft is working on other than to say that it will be available later this year. Meanwhile, research firm IDC says worldwide shipments of PCs fell nearly 14 percent during the first quarter, compared to the same period last year. It attributed the decline, in part, to the lackluster reaction to Windows 8.
"While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the UI [user interface], removal of the familiar Start button and the costs associated with touch have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices," IDC Program Vice President Bob O'Donnell said in a statement last month. "Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market."
Microsoft is holding its annual developer's conference in San Francisco in June, during which more details about Windows Blue might be released.