I’ve been reading lots of rumor coverage lately about what’s coming in the next major version of Windows, which has picked up a Threshold code name/moniker in some reporting. My favorite story in this vein is from Windows (and Office) maven Woody Leonhard who’s been nailing quite a few gems in his InfoWorld coverage of late. The story is entitled “Cause for hope: Windows 8 gets the heave-ho in the next wave of updates.” While I strongly recommend interested reader also consult the original, I will recite the primary items that the story visits and speculates upon, very much in a vein with which I agree, and which I also endorse with some degree of fervor. Woody himself draws on (and points to) recent reporting from Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrott, themselves often sources of Windows insight and juicy rumors about upcoming changes and revisions to the OS.
Here are the juiciest tidbits, somewhat out of order from the original (Woody’s take on items numbered 1 and 2 combined is that this is “the biggest, best Windows story this decade”):
1. Metro apps will be made available running in Windows on the desktop. Anybody already familiar with Startdock’s ModernMix already knows what this looks like.
2. The return of a real Start menu, not just a way to get to the so-called “Start screen” in the Windows Store UI for Windows 8/8.1. Here, Stardock’s excellent Start8 illuminates this principle nicely.
3. Enterprise and consumer versions of Windows that enable it to operate directly (and entirely) from the desktop, possibly with support for Win32 APIs for legacy application support (Woody calls this “an updated version of Windows 7 to ease everyone into the Metro world”).
Woody also expresses the hope that Microsoft might decide to purchase Stardock as a step toward what he calls “its move to a better future.” I already use Start8 and ModernMix on all of my production Windows 8.* PCs, so I couldn’t agree more, though I’m not sure that being purchased by MS is the realization of anybody’s dream of ultimate success. But all of these rumored moves seem like Microsoft is indeed figuring out where the bleeding is, and at least thinking about taking stops to fix the problems that caused all that hemorrhaging. The timeframe on this stuff isn’t until mid-2015, though, so they still have plenty of time to change their minds and screw things up further. Here’s hoping that they stick to this rumored vision, and don’t decide to do something different…