Microsoft's Windows Blue to be available later this year

The update to Windows 8 will be delivered across a variety of form factors and display sizes

Microsoft's update of its Windows 8 operating system, code-named Windows Blue, will be available later this year, supporting a variety of form factors and display sizes, and providing more options for both businesses and consumers.

"The Windows Blue update is also an opportunity for us to respond to the customer feedback that we've been closely listening to since the launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT," said Tami Reller, Microsoft's chief marketing officer and chief financial officer in a post on Tuesday on the progress of Windows 8.

Microsoft shipped Windows RT for ARM-based devices and Windows 8 for devices based on Intel processors in October last year. The update to Windows 8 comes in the wake of sometimes adverse user feedback about the operating system, which is said to have failed to boost flagging PC sales.

First quarter PC shipments, for example, totaled 76.3 million units, down 13.9 percent compared to the same quarter last year, in part because Windows 8 failed to boost sales, and also because of the popularity of alternative computing devices like tablets, research firm IDC said in April.

Reller did not provide details on the features of the upcoming version of Windows 8.

Microsoft has recently crossed the 100 million licenses sold mark for Windows 8, about six months after its general availability, which includes Windows licenses that ship on a new tablet or PC, as well as upgrades to Windows 8. "This is up from the 60 million license number we provided in January," Reller said.

The company has also seen the number of certified devices for Windows 8 and Windows RT grow to 2,400, and is seeing more and more touch devices in the mix, she added.

"While we realize that change takes time, we feel good about the progress since launch, including what we've been able to accomplish with the ecosystem and customer reaction to the new PCs and tablets that are available now or will soon come to market," Reller said.

The decline in the PC market in the first quarter was worse than the 7.7 percent drop previously forecast, and the market could be headed into further contraction, IDC said in April. Reller, however, continues to be optimistic about the PC business.

"The PC is very much alive and increasingly mobile," she said. The PC part of the market is evolving fast to include "new convertible devices and amazing new touch laptops, and all-in-ones," she added. Some of these PCs are coming into the market now, and they are more affordable than ever, Reller said. The Microsoft executive said Windows 8 was also built to address a broader market consisting of devices like tablets.

Microsoft has also seen the number of apps in its Windows Store grow six-fold since launch. Over 250 million apps were downloaded from the store in the first six months, with almost 90 percent of its app catalog downloaded every month.

The company claims to be doing well in some of its other services too. It announced Monday that over 250 million people are now using its SkyDrive online file hosting service. Microsoft now has 400 million active accounts for its webmail, after completing the transition of Hotmail users to the new service. The company plans to add more features to, which started with the integration of Skype which is being phased in throughout the world. It now has over 700 million active Microsoft accounts using its services, Reller said.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftWindowssoftwareoperating systems

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

D-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 Gigabit Network Kit

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Xiro Drone Xplorer V -3 Axis Gimbal & 1080p Full HD 14MP Camera

Learn more >

D-Link TAIPAN AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router (DSL-4320L)

Learn more >

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q – Reign beyond virtual world

Learn more >

Crucial® BX200 SATA 2.5” 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things


Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

ASUS VivoPC VM62 - Incredibly Powerful, Unbelievably Small

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Best Deals on PC World

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?