Rumor: Windows 9 Already in Production

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Two months ago, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) released Windows 8, the long-awaited upgrade to its popular operating system. Somewhere around 40 million licenses were purchased in the first month. Sony (NYSE: SNE ) and Dell (NYSE: DELL ) were among the companies to benefit from the release of Windows 8. Asus was not nearly as lucky .

Microsoft executives maintain their view that 400 million Windows 8 devices will be produced in 2013. This includes the Windows Phone 8 platform, which is expected to grow by 150 percent next year.

With so much hype for Windows 8, it might be hard to imagine that Microsoft is already developing another upgrade. However, that is exactly what one rumor suggests. According to ExtremeTech , Windows Blue -- or Windows 9, as it may be called -- will increase the customization of the new user interface. Tiles will be "highly resizable," the publication claims, adding that the traditional Windows desktop will receive a visual update to conform to the "Metro style."

What's interesting is that this upgrade, which sounds rather mild, may be released one year after the current operating system. The idea is to provide consumers with a new OS that is essentially a more refined version of Windows 8. This could train existing users to download frequent upgrades, similar to the strategy Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) employed with the most recent versions of OS X.

While there could be some truth to this rumor (Microsoft would be foolish to ignore the opportunity to improve its products), it is unlikely that the firm will charge for an upgrade that is released this soon. Some Windows 8 users love the product -- some don't. The latter group (users who are not happy with their purchase) is the most crucial one that Microsoft has acquired.

The Windows maker cannot expect to realistically sell them a copy of Windows 8 this year and another upgrade in 2013. For comparison sake, Apple charges relatively lower prices than Microsoft for its OS updates, and releases them roughly every two years.

A more plausible scenario is that Microsoft is working to refine Windows 8 and will release a service patch to those who have already purchased the software. The deal might be temporary; Microsoft could impose a deadline to inspire its users to act fast, all the while encouraging newcomers to make the shift to Windows 8.

Microsoft may also plan to release these upgrades as part of the standard (free) updates, which means no one would pay for them.

Unlike Apple, which rises and falls on rumors of new iDevices, Microsoft's stock price is not typically impacted by Windows rumors or speculation. The company is currently trading down less than one percent. Year-to-date, Microsoft is up roughly one percent.

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(c) 2012 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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