The evidence comes courtesy of a Russian blogger (and serial leaker) named WZor, who this week posted screenshots of what he said was Update 1 to Windows 8.1. Included in the screenshots is an image of a desktop apparently running Metro apps in the taskbar – "Metro," of course, is the now-defunct term for the design language used in most of Microsoft's recent operating systems, including Windows Phone, Xbox, and Windows 8.
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft isn't talking. But in a post on his SuperSite for Windows, the well-sourced blogger Paul Thurrott confirms that Microsoft is "moving to further integrate Metro and desktop and create a more seamless environment." That integration, he says, will involve a paving over of some of the boundaries between Windows Phone and the desktop Windows operating systems.
"Microsoft is improving Windows in Update 1 so that the Metro environment works better with traditional PC hardware," Mr. Thurrott writes. "And while these improvements will take many forms, some subtle, some not, I can confirm one new feature: Metro apps will now include a close box, similar to that seen on desktop applications, which can be clicked with a mouse so that the app closes completely."
In related news, Microsoft has an earnings call scheduled for Thursday, and some have speculated the company will use the occasion to announce a replacement for outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer. Earlier this week, in an interview with Bloomberg Television, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said only that "the board is working on it.... There's nothing new to say."