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January 14, 2014

Is Microsoft ditching Windows 8?

Windows 9 may see an early release.

By Ben Sullivan

In an attempt to cut its losses Microsoft may be moving on to Windows 9, dubbed ‘Threshold’, earlier than planned.

Windows 8, Microsoft’s current operating system, is now running on millions of computers and laptops but has mainly received negative reviews from frustrated users.

Industry sources believe that Microsoft will announce a new operating system, codenamed Threshold, in April.

If this is true, it will show Microsoft’s worry about its current OS, and may be trying to entice current XP users to jump straight to Windows 9.

April is also the month where Microsoft will end its official product support for Windows XP, which is still used on around 500 million PCs worldwide.

It has only been 15 months since Windows 8 was launched, which dramatically changed up what Windows users were used to. It features large, on-screen, interactive tiles to launch programs rather than the point-and-click method of Windows past. A mobile version was introduced onto the mobile platform, and while still not doing anything groundbreaking, I certainly doing better than its PC big brother.

Microsoft introduced Windows 8.1 last year in an attempt to appease disgruntled users. Changes included bringing back the Start button which has become synonymous with the Windows operating system.

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But some experts reckon the damage has already been done. Shira Ovide, cited in the Wall Street Journal, said that: "[The] launch of the [Windows 8] was supposed to be a milestone to catapult Microsoft and its allies into the market for new kinds of computing devices-including tablets and convertible products-and help generally get consumers more interested in buying new PCs. Six months after the operating software’s debut, it isn’t yet a hit by the accounts of some PC executives and research firms.

"One market-research firm, IDC, went so far as to say that Windows 8 did more than fail to revive the PC market-it actually turned off users with changes to basic elements of the widely used operating system."

Ranjit Atwal from analyst firm Gartner said: "The PC market continues to face many headwinds. The launch of Windows 8 had no impact on PC demand, especially as Ultramobile products were both limited in supply, as well as being priced too high."

Richard Holway, chairman of the industry researcher TechMarketView, told The Times newspaper: "Windows 8 is not getting a look-in from the corporate users and the consumers I’ve spoken to all say they are appalled by it. I don’t think Microsoft completely understood what people wanted to do with it."

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