Microsoft's Windows Blue may have just hit milestone 1

Microsoft's Windows Blue may have just hit milestone 1

Summary: Alleged screen shots of Windows Blue have hit the Web just as Microsoft is said to have reached the half-way mark in the development of the Windows refresh expected this year.


The Windows team at Microsoft just completed the first milestone build (M1) of Windows Blue, the first full-fledged update to Windows 8, according to a couple of sources of mine. 


One of my contacts said that M1 marks the half-way point in the Windows Blue development schedule. The last and final milestone build of Windows Blue will be M2, said this contact, who requested anonymity.

It's hard to know what will come next, given Windows Blue is the first Windows release to be on an accelerated schedule. Will Microsoft deliver a developer preview of Blue? A consumer preview? Or just go straight from internal milestone builds to final? (I'm thinking it's likely to be the last option, if the Windows team sticks to an earlier leaked target ship date of August 2013.)

Making the Milestone 1 talk more believable is the fact that alleged screen shots of Windows Blue leaked to the Web on February 19, the day after M1 was supposedly complete.

According to one of the screen shot leakers, the WZor team (via, there's a rumor that Windows Blue is based on Windows 6.3. I'm hearing from one of my sources that this information is correct. It's version 6.3 for the same reason Windows 7 was version 6.1: It's the version number reported to apps when they query the new platform so that apps know they are running on a new Windows release.

Windows Blue is believed to be the first of a number of annual operating system updates to Windows 8. There also is a Windows Phone Blue in the works that is expected to have the same core code as Windows Blue. (But, just like the Windows Phone 8 operating system, which was version 8.0, the Windows Phone Blue core build number will likely be something different from Windows 6.3.)

Microsoft officials are not commenting on anything having to do with Windows Blue.

Microsoft is expected to position as a Windows 8 refresh, not as Windows 9. Even though there are Microsoft employees out there who have noted on their LinkedIn profiles they are working on Windows 9, it sounds as though the Windows team is entirely focused on Windows 8 and its coming refreshes. It's not clear to me when and whether Microsoft will roll out something known as Windows 9, given the new plan to deliver Windows operating system updates annually, rather than once every three years.

Microsoft recently posted job openings for new Windows and Windows Phone team members to work on the Blue release, but have since removed those posts.

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


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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  • I am so blue

    Will Microsoft charge for the Blue wave of updates?

    FYI. Check for 'updatest'
    • @MJ

      "Windows Blue is believed to be the first of a number of annual operating system updatest to Windows 8. " is what @meb99 is mentioning about.
      Ram U
      • how many is one

        I'd guess there may only ever be one annual update of windows 8 and they will move onto windows 9 as soon as possible.

        The accelerated schedule for the first update tells us MS realised things are not right.

        I put it down as the worst windows version ever. ME was weak vista a bit a mess but this time round its a wreck. It must be the same team who thought of "charms" who decided we needed a dancing paper clip.

        What makes things worse is that underneath there are some good things and it should work. It is as far as I can see about the first time upgrades mostly work.

        The problem that that someone has not had the job of joining the dots. Where the heck is kinect to bring gestures to mainstream PC's. What is the purpose of the "metro" interface on anything other than a touch based system. Who gave the apps store project to an intern. Who though getting rid of the start menu would work least on a PC.
        • Perhaps

          "The accelerated schedule for the first update tells us MS realised things are not right"

          I guess we'll find out when MS removes Charms and the entire Modern UI in their first Blue release. If they don't, you are wrong.

          "Who though getting rid of the start menu would work least on a PC."

          I know, if personal computer OS doesn't have a start menu then it sucks. So when exactly did you start thinking os x sucked so bad?
          • we will see

            I'm all for modern UI's but Windows 8 is not it. It's a mess because the different teams clearly had a fight about how to deliver the user experience and it ends up being neither one thing or the other. I still have no idea someone would think a "charm" "settings" "change setting" "devices" should take you to a screen which does little more than show what devices and then not let you change settings. For that in most cases you still have to select all apps then select control panel and then go back to the old UI and the desktop to the devices screen. Yes it can all be placed on a button here pinned to the task bar there but if someone had done it logically it might flow a little more smoothly - which no doubt it will under windows 9.

            So in answer to your question about the lack of a start button. The problem is not that you need one the problem its that its still an O/S designed around the fact that one existed.
          • type more

            if you hit the Win key and typed display you would get the items to manage your display (or printers, etc). The search works very well. If you are on the desktop screen hover in the lower left until you see the tiles. RIGHT CLICK and all of the techie stuff is there in one spot.
          • That's not the solution; that's the problem!

            "if you hit the Win key and typed display..."

            Why on earth would anyone prefer that to right-clicking on the desktop?

            This new UI is HORRIBLE. It's grotesque. It's like a practical joke. I'm surprised anyone takes it seriously.

            Few people do. The only commenters who sing the praises of 8 are paid to by Ballmer, and it's easy to see who they are.

            Microsoft is a stain on the United States. Their lies and greed and bullying are pure examples of why everyone in civilized countries hates Americans.

            --faye kane
          • It doesn't suck because it doesn't have a start menu.

            It DOES have a start menu. A touch-enabled, "this totally blows if you're using a mouse" start menu. That's what Metro is.

            And yes, I'm still calling it Metro because it is what it is.
          • middle ground

            charms and modern ui are here to stay. There needs to be a smoother way for mouse/keyboard users to operate with it though.
        • Touch is the key

          It is true, W8 makes no sense on a system without touch. But I just got my wife a little touchscreen ultrabook and oh boy, does it work well. Really well. W8 is just Vista again -- too much for current hardware. Wait for the hardware to catch up and it is a bona fide winner.

          As for the app store, you are right, that is an absolute debacle.
          x I'm tc
          • Ha

            "W8 is just Vista again -- too much for current hardware. "

            I don't think you understand. Windows 8 is as fast or faster than Windows 7. How about doing some reading? People read the initial anti-Windows 8 headlines [before anyone had actually used it for a decent period of time] and forgot to think for themselves.

            Here's one example of Windows 8 performance vs. Windows 7:


            Here's a Windows 8 vs. Windows XP test, albeit not entirely "scientific"


            Please, read about it. It's a really solid operating system, and if I had to sum up the bad hype, it'd be this: "omg one part of it looks difrnt!"
            Gareth Johnson
          • Yes

            that's about the size of it :)
          • Not "hardware" in the performance sense

            This time it's not hardware in the performance sense, as itw as with Vista. It's the matter of touch screens, which are still too costly to toss around as standard (or as an added flat-desk subscreen for desktop systems).
          • You can get a sub-$200 touch screen,

            but in today's world of HD and multi-touch, you wouldn't be happy with it for very long.
          • omg one part of it looks difrnt!

            Different is one thing, God-aweful ugly is another.

            Sadly when you go to any Microsoft website now it is the same 2 dimensional pale color ugliness. Hmmmm. 2 dimensional and pale. Maybe this also describes...
          • Except..

            Windows 8 manages to be marginally faster (often identical/slower than 7 on an ssd) while taking up 5-7x as much storage space and somehow in its 40-50gbs it provides no useful extra functionality.

            And the real kicker is, the one area that win 8 was supposed to excel at (tablets) I still prefer 7 because it handles pen/touch input better, and takes up far less space (which is most often somewhat limited on a tablet).. I mean wow the surface pro 64gb comes with barely 20gb usable space..
            Jacob Kral
          • I mostly agree

            Except that I have Windows 8 on my non-touchscreen laptop, and I love it. I was worried I wouldn't like it, because it's so touch-centric, but I've been incredibly pleasantly surprised.
          • Totally agree

            BigMagoo, I just don't understand people on here parroting the same tired stuff about Windows 8 just because they read it somewhere. Reality seems to excape them.
            I just bought a Dell Inspiron 17R laptop, consisting of a corei5 CPU, 6GB RAM, 750GB hard drive, bluetooth, wireless, ethernet, USB '3' ports, all with a 17"
            NON-touch screen. Windows 8 is, in a word, fantastic!
            Once you get the hang of the corner mouse gestures, it is very fluid and easy to navigate. Use this laptop and understand just how cutting-edge the operating system truly is.
            I bought this laptop for my daughter, but, after seeing it in action, I have ordered another one for me, arriving tomorrow via Fedex (thank you Dell).
            In a way, you almost have to feel sorry for all the naysayers, who feel compelled to cut something down because they may have heard others dismiss it out of hand, because it's evil Microsoft, don't you know.
          • doesn't work for everyone..

            I'm a MS user.. I'm a SQL server dba and have a Lumia 920 and a surface rt which I like. But on my desktop I don't like windows 8.. Simple as that. I spend almost all my time on the desktop.. I don't see any point to metro on a non touch desktop.. The main thing I dislike is it's neither one thing or another.. Why do I have to go to the desktop.. I shouldn't have to but all of the system tools and even Office is a desktop app.. It feels like they rushed it.. I have no issue with its performance.. It's great.. I do not like its split personality..
          • Have You Tried a Touch Screen?

            I am very curious why so many hate Win 8.

            That question is what drove me, against my better judgment, to attempt to use a MS product (Win8) before a Service release.

            I have not used Win 8. I tried, the upgrade failed on my machine.

            Although I have heard from a number of Win 8 users with a touch screen, the reason people bitch is they do not have a touch screen.

            MS has a vested interest in touch. It is coming and you are some day going to use it. Not a matter of IF but a matter of WHEN.

            One other thing. The complaints about Win 8 are very similar to other Windows releases e.g. 95, 98 and XP.