Microsoft is gearing up to unveil the next Windows operating system tomorrow which looks to be released as a free upgrade for existing Windows users.
Microsoft Indonesia’s president, Andreas Diantoro, confirmed to an Indonesian news site that Windows 9, as the release will likely be named, will be a free-of-charge upgrade for all users currently on Windows 8.
This strategy points towards Microsoft taking notice of the increasing use of free upgrade rollouts by operating systems such as Android and Mac OS X.
Rumours hint at the return of the Start menu, as well as Cortana voice-assistant integration and numerous UI improvements. Invitations were sent out for an event on September 30 where the beta for Windows 9 will be shown off as a technical preview, with a full version shipped with tablets, phones and PCs to come in April 2015.
In Microsoft’s mobile first, cloud first long-term plan, the release of Windows 9 is yet another move to usher users away from its legacy operating systems such as Windows XP and Windows 7. Windows 8, and its subsequent 8.1 update, have still not had the migration impact Microsoft was no doubt hoping for.
As of August 2014, Windows XP still grasps onto a 23.89% desktop operating system market share, with Windows 7 claiming a 51.21% share, according to Netmarketshare. Windows 8 and 8.1’s shares are dwarfed by the older platforms, with 8 and 8.1 staking 6.28% and 7.09% respectively.
When it comes to Windows Phone, Microsoft will also look to attract more users with a Windows 9 update. As of August, Windows Phone accounts for 2.69% of the mobile operating system market share, compared to Android’s 45.01% stake and the 44.34% share of Apple’s iOS.