Microsoft job postings confirm more about Windows and Windows Phone Blue

Microsoft job postings confirm more about Windows and Windows Phone Blue

Summary: A new Microsoft job posting verifies that Windows Blue will include user experience improvements, not just under-the-covers interface tweaks. Bonus: There's a reference to 'Windows Phone Blue' on Microsoft's job site, too.


If there's any doubt that the Windows client team is laser-focused on the coming Blue refresh of Windows 8, a new Microsoft job post makes it even plainer.


A February 15 post for a software development engineer in test on the Microsoft Careers site (to which Charon at alerted me), mentions "Windows Blue." According to that posting, the Core Experience team in Windows Sustained Engineering (WinSE) is involved in making improvements to the start screen, application lifecycle, windowing and personalization. Windows Blue will "build on and improve" these OS components, the posting says.

Here's an excerpt:

"We’re looking for an excellent, experienced SDET to join the Core Experience team in Windows Sustained Engineering (WinSE). The Core Experience features are the centerpiece of the new Windows UI, representing most of what customers touch and see in the OS, including: the start screen; application lifecycle; windowing; and personalization. Windows Blue promises to build and improve upon these aspects of the OS, enhancing ease of use and the overall user experience on devices and PCs worldwide."

Blue is the codename for the next wave of Windows-related operating system and services updates from Microsoft, according to my contacts. There will be a Blue update to Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows Phone 8 and the Windows Services like Hotmail and SkyDrive -- all of which are slated to wash up in roughly the same timeframe, my sources have said. Last year, one tipster told me Microsoft was aiming to deliver Windows Blue around late summer 2013.

Blue isn't simply a fancy new name for a service pack. With Blue, Microsoft is working to transition to a more rapid update pace. 

On the Windows and Windows Phone fronts, Blue is expected to include new features and even new programming interfaces designed to bring the different flavors of Windows closer together, from an app model/development model perspective. That said, it's not just Windows internals that will be updated with Blue. As the job posting above verifies, user interface and experience updates will be part of Blue, too.

Microsoft officials have declined to comment on Blue. It's unknown what Microsoft officially will name Blue once it's released, but it's likely to be positioned as a refresh to Windows 8, not a whole new version of Windows (like a Windows 9), I continue to hear.

By the way, there are plenty of mentions of "blue" on Microsoft's career site that have nothing to do with the coming Blue wave/refresh." Blue links," "blue screens" and "wavy blue lines" all show up -- and have nothing to do with the upcoming Blue refresh.

Update: @h0x0d (Walking Cat on Twitter) just found a Microsoft job reference to Windows Phone Blue, too. Here's his screen shot of it:


As he notes, there's also a reference to "Excel MX" in that job post. Excel MX is likely a not-yet-delivered, fully touch-optimized and Metro Style/Windows Store version of Excel -- similar to the OneNote MX and Lync MX versions of two of Microsoft's Office apps that are in the Windows Store now.

Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft, Tablets, PCs, Windows Phone, Windows Server


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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  • Good Luck with displaying and working on a spreadsheet with a 4 in. screen!

    I'm sorry, but that's one job I would have no clue on how to accomplish.
    • I agree with you on that

      I'm much more interested in seeing an RT version of Excel that doesn't rely on the desktop, so they might be able to eventually just remove the desktop app from RT completely.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • As long as...'s done well, and by that I'm thinking Excel Web App quality, then it'd be great... if they use the "RT" style apps as freebies and "offline replacements" for the Web Apps, combined with Office 365 subscriptions for "enhanced functionality and full desktop versions", then it would allow them to offer the iPad and Android versions as part of the paid subscriptions only, further providing benefit to Windows users while still milking the Office subscription cash cow elsewhere.
        • Unless of course

          Someone has written a 10,000 line 20 column spread sheet using a 32 inch monitor, good luck reading that on a mobile.
          Alan Smithie
          • I just read someone here saying nobody does that anymore

            which is why you don't need MS Office, and why that won't be a problem.
            William Farrel
        • Office MX probably means the end of the "desktop"...

          Office MX (a touch-version of Office) probably means the death of the Windows desktop as we used to know it (at least for Windows RT). I think there are changes coming to unify the Metro & traditional Windows desktops anyway, but a complete version of Office MX will almost certainly end it in Windows RT (since it's the only desktop app available).
      • Excel MX

        As MJ points out, the Excel MX reference most likely refers to an upcoming Windows 'modern' style Excel app as per the current Onenote MX offering, which is frankly great and much prettier than the desktop version of Onenote.
        • The only problem is that

          Onenote MX doesn't offer 1/10 the functionality of the desktop version, especially when it comes to inking. I would be ok with a modern style version of excel, and other office apps) as long as they're not seriously limited in their functionality.
          Sam Wagner
    • If they pull it off...

      ...I'll be quite impressed. As it is today, it's nice having Excel on my Lumia just for quick viewing of information, but I'd never want to do any real editing on it.
      • Write once for all...

        Agree. But that's just the nature of Excel. Even on a large screen, you have to know what you're doing to really use Excel to its full potential.

        Even so, Microsoft's stated goal is "write once for all" (or something like that), which basically means that a developer would only have to create an app once & it would scale to any screen size--the Holy Grail of tech (at least for now). If they can achieve this, it could be a huge boon for Windows tablets & phones.
    • Uhh

      Windows Phone already does that?
      Jeff Kibuule
    • Hmm let me just fire up excel on my Lumia 920

      Yep basic spread sheets seem to work ok.
      Peter Whitehouse
      • Yup!

        Excel works fine on my HTC too!

        PS: don't tell the 'igang' they'll have to call 911 for a Code Green!
  • Late summer 2013? I hate to break it to you but that's NOT a rapid update

    pace. The WP team should be getting updates with both features and bug fixes out on at least a quarterly basis. Once or even twice a year is not even close to doing enough for their users. They should be delivering a steady stream of new features every quarter to keep their users feeling the value prop. Even that's not a fast pace now a days. There was a lot of stuff that was half baked at GA and that was 5 months ago. There's got to be fixes for xbox music and video and much more that are already ready to go now. There should have been a big feature update before Christmas and another one by now.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Tell that to the IT Departments who have to manage this

      Train users if needed, check for compatibility problems. Once a year is a good refresh window.

      It works for Apple!
      • lol

        Apple is nowhere to be found in the corporate world. That's comical.

        Windows has always allowed IT to roll out only the updates they have tested and are comfortable pushing to the user base. MS has put corporate needs at the very front of their priority list since they started. There is not much a well qualified IT department can't do to configure Windows to suit their needs perfectly.
      • IT departments are irelevent

        Windows 8 is a consumer product. IT departments will always be years behind the curve, that doesn't mean the rest of us can't move on with out them.
    • Major update

      "Blue" is a wave of major updates. There have already been minor updates and bug fixes to Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 and new features added to SkyDrive, Skype, and
      Jeff Kibuule
    • Amen

      Concur! If we have to await Blue to fix obvious glitches I will be gravely disappointed. How about OS improvements/fixes every Patch Tuesday?
      • umm

        What "obvious glitches" are you referring to?