Microsoft confirms public preview of Windows Blue in late June

Microsoft confirms public preview of Windows Blue in late June

Summary: Microsoft Windows engineering chief Julie Larson-Green says a public preview of Windows Blue will be out for all Windows 8 users at the end of June.

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Microsoft will make available to anyone who has Windows 8 a preview of Windows Blue in June.

JLG

That's according to Julie Larson-Green, the head of Windows engineering, who made those remarks during the Wired Business Conference on May 7.

The timing isn't a surprise, given that Microsoft's Build 2013 developer conference is slated for the last week of June. Larson-Green said that Windows Blue will be available at the end of June to anyone with Windows 8 via the Windows Store.

Update: Does this also mean there will be a public consumer preview of Windows RT Blue at the same time? I asked and a Microsoft spokesperson told me the company had no comment. Tipsters have said previously that there will be a version of the Blue update for Windows RT later this year, however. 

According to previous tips and leaks, Microsoft is close to completing what's believed to be the second internal milestone build, known as the Milestone Preview, of Windows Blue. Shortly after that, Microsoft is expected to make its one-and-only Windows Blue public preview available to consumers.

Earlier this week, Microsoft officials said to expect the company to make Windows Blue available by holiday 2013. I am still continuing to hear Microsoft is on track to release to manufacturing (RTM) Windows Blue by August 2013 or so.

Larson-Green emphasized -- like her Chief Financial Officer counterpart Tami Reller -- that Microsoft plans to be "principled but not stubborn" with coming modifications to the Blue update. Neither Larson-Green nor Reller promised that Microsoft would add back the Start Button to Windows Blue, but neither of them ruled out this possibility.

There have been rumors that both the Start Button and boot straight to desktop options are coming back to Windows Blue.

"The Start Button might be helpful," Larson-Green acknowledged during her remarks at the conference, and provide users with more of a "comfort level." She did note that the team has had "meaningful discussions" about bringing back the Start Button, but users shouldn't interpret that as meaning the old Start Menu would be coming back.

She noted that the Start Button today is basically hidden. "Some would like it showing up on the screen all the time," she said.

One Wired conference attendee asked Larson-Green at the end of her remarks if she'd consider following Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft. Larson-Green said she wouldn't rule out such a possibility, but acknowledged she was new to her role in Windows. She said "ask me in another year."

Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft, Tablets, PCs, Microsoft Surface

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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164 comments
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  • More nimble

    If Microsoft wants to stay competitive, they need to be more nimble. Windows "Blue" (Windows 8 Second Edition, Windows 8.1, whatever) should have come out in Q1... Q2 at the latest. Frankly, people just don't care anymore. It takes waaaaayyyyyy tooooooo long to see updates. People lose interest. This is why Microsoft has lost mindshare with consumers amongst other things.
    cmoya
    • What are you smoking?

      Look at the competition, it takes them all just as long? So does Apple or the makers of Ubuntu have the same issues? Wow - too many anti-MS fanboys on this site. Try coming up with something constructive and intelligent to say instead of a silly post like that.
      BruinB88
      • What wasn't constructive about his post?

        It's his opinion and what's to say it's not a valid one?
        ye
        • ye../.I agree with you that cmoya made a fair and logical conclusion

          even if you don't agree with it it wasn't a typical flame you usually get at Zdnet.
          Over and Out
          • Wow

            Love my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online.(Click Home information)
            http://goo.gl/ixtDh
            AmandaElly
          • SPAM

            Wow
            AmandaElly
            8 May, 2013 00:29

            Lifetime opportunity
            Kathy52
            7 May, 2013 23:03
            Webminotaur
      • Actually...

        I'm a fanboy. I just don't think MS has been listening to us for a while. Also, neither Ubuntu nor Apple (which is primarily a hardware company) have the developer manpower that Microsoft has. I mean, they are a behemoth of programmers. And what they come up with is IE10??? Virtually unchanged from IE9? Little annoying bugs in Office 365 that take months to fix? No, I'm sorry. Things have to change over at Microsoft. On the plus side, Visual Studio 2012 is pretty good once you get used to it (although it's not all that much better than 2010, it's still good).
        cmoya
        • Apple

          has all the resources it needs financially to put out releases just as often as MS.
          rmark@...
          • Financially yes,

            Financially yes, but actual existing manpower no. They have to split their resources between hardware, r&d, and software. Also, yes, some software things that Apple does runs rings around Microsoft in the usability department (although not always technically). Just compare Time Machine to Windows' File->"Restore Previous Version" that nobody even knows exists. Sure, Windows' shadow copies feature is technically better than Apple's backup utility but do people even use it? Or how about Expose compared to the useless flip3d?
            cmoya
          • I have to agree with rmark on this.

            Apple has all the resources they need.
            ye
          • All?

            Tell that to their "cartography" department.
            rhonin
          • Cartography Department

            LMAO
            bob.perrone1@...
          • Flip3D

            I actually loved flip3D. That was one of the tools I used moat often with windows 7. Its also the only feature I miss about the old desktop. I much prefer using flip3D over the standard alt-tab because you get a more comprehensive view of your windows. I wish they would find a way to bring this into windows 8 for use on laptops that don't have touch. I don't miss it on my surface but on my touch- less laptop it would be nice.
            tharok2@...
          • I overstated..

            I shouldn't have called Flip3d useless. I actually liked it over regular Alt+Tab. But, it wasn't as useful as when I've used Expose on a Mac or the even better Mission Control.
            cmoya
        • @cmoya

          Ever since Bill Gates stood down at the helm of Microsoft, and Steve Ballmer took over; all MS is interested in is $$$$ at the expense of quality control and assurance and the consumer.
          MS could care less whether an OS works properly or not; all they will do is release a SP to fix whatever stuff ups that have occured in the hope that it will fix the issues.
          Bringing out a touch-screen OS certainly helps the major hardware manufacturers to make money as well...all at the expense of the consumer.
          MS no longer have empathy for their consumers.
          Sending Windows XP to the scrap heap next year is a typical example of MS trying to dictate to users, by forcing them to buy their so called new OS Windows 8 (Windows Blue) or whatever you want to call it.
          This OS needs at least a further 12 months of testing to ensure stability.
          Why can't consumers have the choice of using Windows 7 in stead of this lemon Windows 8?
          Its the desire of MS to make money at any cost to the consumer.
          chauffeur2@...
          • OS X Mountain Lion vs Windows 8

            Try running OS X Mountain Lion on a 5 year old Mac....no way that's going to happen. However, Windows 8 will run most computers that are running Windows XP. Please don't give us anymore crap about how Apple is so concerned about their customers and not thier bottom line.
            nztjbv116
          • Windows 8 replacing XP

            I have 4 machines running XP. Not one of them is able to be downgraded to Windows 8 even if I wanted to.
            BRC-4c5c4
          • Windows 8 replacing XP

            I have an old 2005 Gateway pc with a dual core processor and 2gb of ram that runs Windows 8 just fine. It was also upgraded to Vista and Windows 7 when they were released.
            ttorres44@...
          • Downgraded?

            @BRC-4c5c4: What do you mean downgrade to Windows 8? Are you stupid? XP is so out of date it is pathetic. Windows 8 is the fastest bestest (sic) operating system out there. You don't even need, or want the start button. Maybe you should just pack your computers up and take them back to the store you bought them from! lol
            dhjohns@...
          • Yes, it is a downgrade

            since the purpose of an OS is to run programs. Two companies that I know run accounting and medical software (software is up-to-date) that will not yet run under Windows 8.

            Yes, Win8 is fast, but there are important security issues that need to be resolved before I would recommend deployment. First is a way to turn-off the ability to login to a Microsoft account to help prevent company data from getting to a Microsoft server. The second is a way to remove Start tiles for new users who login to the computer.

            All the blogs I have seen where users are extoling the virtues of Windows 8 say something to the effect "I can configure Windows 8 just the way I want." None have indicated that an administrat can configure a Windows 8 deployment the way company policies require for security and other policies.

            Also, good luck when a print job gets stuck in the queue. That mess requires turning off the print spooler and rebooting the computer. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it is ugly and frustrating for the user. I personally don't care - I get paid for the service call for the poor saps who have that happen.
            rich3page