Windows Yearly Updates: Insignificant or Essential?

A Microsoft job listing has confirmed the existance of ‘Windows Blue,’ an update for Windows on desktop and phone which will likely kick start a yearly release cycle. The Verge:

We already knew that that Windows Blue, Microsoft’s forthcoming OS update that will put the Windows platform on a low-cost, yearly update schedule, was scheduled to launch sometime later this year. Now, we’re seeing the first official mention of Windows Blue via a job posting on Microsoft’s careers site.

We’re looking for an excellent, experienced SDET to join the Core Experience team in Windows Sustained Engineering (WinSE) … Windows Blue promises to build and improve upon these aspects of the OS, enhancing ease of use and the overall user experience on devices and PCs worldwide.

Windows 8 is so controversial, and shipped with so many inconsistencies, confusing elements, bugs and graphical issues (as well as some innovations of course), the list of changes people are calling for grew very quickly, and has continued to to this day. Because it was such a dramatic change, Microsoft were bound to make mistakes, and this left them with far too many unsatisfied customers. The only way to change this, is to continually feed them customers with updates.

When OS X Lion was released, for example, many people hated reverse scrolling, gestures and mission control [1]. So, within a few months a developer preview of the next version, Mountain Lion, was available, which eventually sold for £13.99 and had generally positive reviews. It was a big fix for all the gripes in Lion, and added a few useful features too. Microsoft need to do exactly the same. Fix what their customers are complaining about, add some novelty features for those who were satisfied already, and sell it for cheap, or give it away.

Some may argue that updating Windows frequently would be insignificant. People have already been put off of the idea of Windows 8, and some won’t appreciate the fixes Windows Blue will contain. Though however small this update is, Microsoft have to get it right, not only to please tech bloggers, but to prove that they’re listening to their calling customers. Windows Blue is an essential next step for Microsoft.


[1] OS X Lion can be paralleled with Windows 8. Both required users changing the way they did basic tasks. The Verge’s original review had some concerns about “rewiring your brain.” http://www.theverge.com/2011/10/24/2510590/mac-os-x-lion-review