Microsoft to extend Blue codename to other products, switch to yearly platform update cycles

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While it's already known that Microsoft is supposedly working on an interim update for its desktop operating system, Windows 8, codenamed 'Windows Blue', ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, now reports that the Blue reference will also be extended to other Microsoft platforms such as Windows Phone, the Windows Services - like SkyDrive, Hotmail - and Windows Server.

The report also hints at Microsoft going the Apple way for delivering updates. It mentions that instead of releasing RTM (Release To Manufacturing) versions with OEMs, Microsoft might deliver the updates through the Windows Store directly to the end users. As another ZDNet report mentioned earlier, Microsoft now intends to update its platforms yearly, in a manner similar to Apple's OS release cycle, instead of carrying out major updates every two to three years.

Although not much is known about the exact changes that the update will bring, the report mentions that updated products and services will likely offer user experience related changes, new versions of Internet Explorer, Mail, Calendar, Bing and other first party apps, in addition to changes to the development platform. It will also offer some kernel and driver-level updates to optimise battery life and overall performance, and Microsoft would push for maintaining backward compatibility with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, as per Foe's sources.

Microsoft launched Windows 8 in October 2012. While the operating system received a mixed response from tech reviewers and analysts, a Microsoft executive recently claimed that it had sold 60 million licenses and upgrades for Windows 8 in the 10 weeks since its launch, though it was not clear if this number included upgrades by Windows 7 users, and bulk orders by OEMs. A recent report by Web tracker Net Applications recorded Windows 8's market share at 2.26 percent. Analysts have also been blaming the decline in PC sales for the damp response to the new OS.

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