Windows 9 is rumored to hit stores in the first quarter of 2015, according to a new screenshot leaked by a well-known Microsoft informant.
Monday that leaker "Faikee" posted a shot which shows a slew of potentially new products from the Redmond technology giant, including a cloud-based, Windows-as-a-service product called "Windows 365" as well as a free version of Windows 9 that might be offered to Windows 8.1 users.
The cloud-based Windows appears to be in the very early stages of development, with the status "Alpha based on Windows Core" listed on the leaked document. A cloud-based version of the OS would be a step in the direction a lot of enterprise computing is already moving toward, mainly that of virtual desktops.
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The document and predicted release times for the new Windows products would land roughly a year after previous updates, suggesting Microsoft is moving toward a more rapid release cycle, Softpedia.com commented in a write up of the new screenshot
The tech community expects the next release of Windows to feature deeper and more intelligent integration for Microsoft's new voice-driven personal assistant, Cortana, which was launched this year for Windows Phones. A Windows 9 launch would be a great time to bring that feature to the desktop.
If the new screenshot and rumors bear out, Microsoft will likely seed a beta version of the new operating system to developers in the coming months, perhaps not long after the Windows 8.1 Update 2.
In any case, the next major release of Windows will be a crucial release after Windows 8 and its ultra-modern interface were met with hostility by consumers.
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