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There will be an update to Windows 8.1 sometime later this year, which isn't surprising because Microsoft never stops working on Windows. Beyond that, however, Microsoft is reportedly gearing up to announce Windows 9 during its Build 2014 developer conference in April. Should things go plan, Windows 9, or "Threshold" if you prefer to use the codename, will launch to consumers a year later.
This is according to Paul Thurrott, who says that "Windows 8 is tanking harder than Microsoft is comfortable discussing in public." By Thurrott's figures, Windows 8.1 is installed on less than 25 million PCs, and one thing Windows 9 desperately needs to do is find a better balance between traditional PC users and those who are adopting newer touch-friendly form factors.
"In short, it needs to be everything that Windows 8 is not," Thurrott says.
But will it be? Well, one of the reasons Microsoft is dropping the Windows 8 brand in favor of Windows 9 is to distance itself from its current OS. A name change alone won't get things done, and while details are light at the moment, Thurrott says the Windows team will focus on maturing and fixing the Metro design language. A windowed mode that works on the desktop could be in the cards.