Microsoft: YES! You can have your desktop back again for FREE!
No, no, no need to thank us - we love you all
Microsoft has confirmed that it will issue its Blue update to Windows 8 without charge, with first code scheduled at the company’s Build conference starting on June 26.
This is in line with Redmond's previous policy in which users have been charged only for an entirely new iteration of the Windows OS, not for service packs and updates to existing versions. It's also possible to suspect that the software colossus is keen to win over existing and future Win8 customers and wants the revisions out into the world and onto people's machines as soon as possible.
Windows group chief marketing and financial officer Tami Reller told Wall St on Tuesday that nothing’s going to get in the way of the physical install process.
“It will be easy to get it right from the Windows Start screen through the app store,” Reller told the JP Morgan Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in New York.
She also revealed that "Blue"'s official name is now Windows 8.1 and that it will be finished and released “near the end” of the calendar year.
Reller did not say what features would be wrapped in Windows 8.1, but last week she revealed that the company’s planning major changes to key parts of Windows 8 following “customer feedback".
A significant proportion of that feedback is centered on customers' difficulties with the fact that Windows 8 has dumped the classic desktop at startup in favour of the new, Metro touch-oriented UI.
Reller revealed the Windows 8 changes in an interview with the Financial Times. Separately, she told Mary-Jo Foley:
"We feel good that we've listened and looked at all of the customer feedback. We are being principled, not stubborn," about modifying Windows 8 based on that feedback.
Reller reckoned Windows 8.1 would “advance the bold vision” Microsoft set forward with Window 8 and will give enterprsies “more confidence” to deploy Windows 8.1 tablets and PCs. ®