A look into Microsoft’s recent past does not bode a successful future. But the tech giant is putting its faith in a new software roll out and corporate shake up that could usher in the next era of Microsoft.
The key to the change? A project code named Threshold that is thought to be the next generation of Microsoft operating systems. In other words: Windows 9.
Tech blogger Paul Thurott wrote Monday that Microsoft is set to introduce its newest OS at its annual BUILD conference in April, with a full release date set for April 2015.
Though details are scant so far, he had several predictions for the new operating system that have been echoed around the tech world.
“This is the release my sources previously pegged as being the one that will see the return of the Start menu and the ability to run Metro-style apps on the desktop alongside desktop applications,” Mr. Thurott writes. He also says Windows 9 will likely be released in three milestones before the official release, in order to further develop the software.
The BUILD event will likely feature not just a new operating system, but also a new “vision” that will hopefully excite customers about what is to come from Microsoft.
Thurott says the last time the company rolled out something this extensive was the infamous Longhorn, otherwise known as Windows Vista, in 2003. That didn’t go so well. Following this, he says, the Windows 9 roll out will be an uphill battle.
“Threshold needs to strike a better balance between meeting the needs of over a billion traditional PC users while enticing users to adopt this new Windows on new types of personal computing devices,” he writes. “In short, it needs to be everything that Windows 8 is not.”
But changing Microsoft’s trajectory will be no easy task. Microsoft has had issues keeping on the front end of mobile, tablet, and software innovations as its biggest competitors, Apple and Google, have outfitted millions with smart phones and tablets.
Though many praised the usability of Windows 8.1, the most recent Microsoft OS, adoption rates have been sluggish, only reaching 3.6 percent by the end of 2013. Its lower-powered operating system, Windows RT, has been phased out of nearly all smart phones and tablets it once inhabited, and its Surface tablet has had issues finding commercial success in an increasingly saturated tablet market.
However, Microsoft is also in the process of replacing CEO Steve Ballmer, and recently abandoned its strict corporate structure (which many say fostered an environment of competition over collaboration).
Change is in the air.