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Will Windows Blue Give Apple the Blues?

Posted
5/7/2013 3:05:00 PM
By: Benzinga
Referenced Stocks:AAPL;MSFT

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) will release its long-awaited Windows 8 update, tentatively referred to as Windows Blue, sometime before the end of the year. Little is known about the operating system upgrade, but Tami Reller (Microsoft's Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer) has attempted to fill in the blanks.

During a Q&A with Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft's Communications Manager and the publisher of the Official Windows Blog, Reller provided a few teases about the upcoming Windows enhancements.

"Windows Blue is a codename for an update that will be available later this year, building on the bold vision set forward with Windows 8 to deliver the next generation of tablets and PCs," she told LeBlanc. "It will deliver the latest new innovations across an increasingly broad array of form factors of all sizes, display, battery life and performance, while creating new opportunities for our ecosystem.

"It will provide more options for businesses, and give consumers more options for work and play. 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. From a company-wide perspective, Windows Blue is part of a broader effort to advance our devices and services for Microsoft."

While Reller's explanation was certainly intriguing, it has created a little confusion among Windows fans.

In the comments section of Reller's Q&A , one user (who goes by the name "pirast") asked, "Will Blue be pushed as a Windows update or do I have to buy another Windows license for $90, just to get a usable Windows?"

Pirast is not alone. Tech bloggers have been trying to make sense of the Windows Blue concept since it first appeared on the rumor mill.

One of the more intriguing rumors suggests that Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 will be merged for a seamless computing and mobile phone experience. This could be difficult to produce given the differences in screen sizes between a tablet or notebook and a smartphone. If implemented correctly, however, it could create an OS that would give Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) a run for its money.

Many users have asked Microsoft to bring back the Start button, but that seems like a pipe dream. First of all, there are third-party plug-ins that have already brought the Start button to Windows 8. Second, Microsoft is committed to touch screens and their future in tablets, smartphones and PCs. While the Start menu may have been great in the '90s (when touch screens were limited to Palm Pilots), it is no longer a top priority for Microsoft.

Consumers may get one request, however: a free (or very cheap) upgrade to Windows Blue.

When launching Windows 8, the company initially offered the new OS for $39.99. Those who purchased a new Windows 7 PC could upgrade for just $14.99 .

Microsoft is likely to offer an even better deal when Windows Blue arrives to inspire new sales and to appease those who purchased Windows 8 last year and want to upgrade.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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