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Windows Blue May Be More Than the Next Microsoft OS

Another aspect of Blue could be a kernel update that eases interoperability between Windows 8/Windows RT apps and Windows Phone apps.

As Microsoft retools to face the challenges of mobile computing, it may also be reworking how it updates its operating systems.

Whether that would be good for developers and IT workers is another question, however.

The rumored "Windows Blue" may not just be an emerging flagship operating system from Microsoft, but it could also be a wave of more frequently issued updates to various Microsoft products, according to a press report.

Veteran Microsoft blogger and Redmond columnist Mary Jo Foley offered some new details about Blue, based on an unnamed source, in a Thursday blog post. In addition to being a new OS, Blue may turn out to be a platform update for Windows Server, Windows Phone, Internet Explorer and various Microsoft services (such as Office.com and SkyDrive), as well as integrated Windows 8 apps, such as Bing, Calendar and Mail, according to Foley's article.

Blue is also the code name for a Windows 8 "feature-pack" update. That update is expected to arrive either this summer or in the fall, according to Foley. Changes to the Windows 8 kernel could facilitate easier porting of Windows 8 applications and Windows RT applications to the Windows Phone platform, and that capability could be enabled through the Blue update, according to speculation by Foley in a Friday blog post.

The Blue updates could be pushed through the Windows Store, according to Foley's source, and they might be released on a yearly or more frequent basis. The aim for Microsoft would be to ensure backward compatibility with Windows 8, according to Foley.

Microsoft has typically released its new desktop operating systems every three years or so. Consequently, the Blue wave release approach would represent a major shift for the company, as well as for busy IT pros trying to keep pace.

Analysts at Directions on Microsoft, a Kirkland, Wash.-based independent consultancy that tracks Microsoft, have recently speculated that Windows 8 could have yearly interim updates (such as R2 and R3 releases) instead of more traditional service pack-type OS updates. Microsoft's R2 interim releases tend to include new product features, and not just the functional improvements that are found in service packs.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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