Microsoft confirms ‘Windows Blue’ will be officially called Windows 8.1

14 May 2013

Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 8.1 will be the official name for the impending update to its latest operating system, previously know by the code name Windows Blue. A public preview of 8.1 is expected on 26 June.

In a blog post, senior Microsoft communications marketing manager Brandon LeBlanc referred to a speech by Tami Reller, chief marketing officer and chief financial officer of Microsoft’s Windows division at today’s JP Morgan Technology Conference in Boston, where she said Microsoft’s goal is to create a richer experience with every Windows update.

“Today at the JP Morgan Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in Boston, Tami Reller shared with the audience that the update previously referred to as ‘Windows Blue’ will be called Windows 8.1 and will be a free update to Windows 8 for consumers through the Windows Store,” LeBlanc confirmed.

LeBlanc said Microsoft now has more than 70,000 apps in the Windows store, including Twitter, eBay, Neflix and games like Temple Run and Angry Birds Star Wars.

He said OEMs like Dell, Lenovo, Sony and Acer have stepped up to the plate with incredible and unique new form factors.

In recent weeks, Reller revealed that Windows 8 had sold 60m licences by the start of this year, just more than two months after its release in late October last year. Now, after a half-year on the market, the operating system has reached 100m licences, counting both new devices sold and upgrades, and there are 2,400 certified Windows 8 and Windows RT devices available on the market.

The evolution of the PC

“As PCs continue to evolve for this world of mobile computing, so does Windows 8,” LeBlanc said.

“Windows 8.1 is part of that and continues the journey we first began with Windows 8 last fall. Windows 8.1 will help us to deliver the next generation of PCs and tablets with our OEM partners and to deliver the experiences customers – both consumers and businesses alike – need and will just expect moving forward.

“Today, there are more devices – and choice – allowing you to pick the right Windows 8 device that meets your needs. Windows 8 provides a great experience for consuming and creating content, for both work and play and on the go. And you’ll immediately benefit from continual updates – whether it’s from app updates through the Windows Store, performance updates through Windows Update or the Windows 8.1 update later this year.

“We have much more to share about Windows 8.1 in the coming weeks. We will also be making a public preview of Windows 8.1 available starting on June 26, timed with the Build developer conference in San Francisco. The preview will be available for Windows 8 and Windows RT,” LeBlanc said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years