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The due date
Windows 9's target ship date is spring of 2015 -- most likely in April.
For the past few months, I've heard Microsoft is targeting the spring of 2015 as the beginning of the Threshold rollout.
Paul Thurrott of the SuperSite for Windows added that he heard an even more specific target date of April 2015 for the commencement of the Threshold releases.
There have been other reports circulating that Threshold will debut first in October 2014, but my and Thurrott's sources both say this information is incorrect. Instead, October 2014 might be the target date for a second update to Windows 8.1. But that's mostly speculation at this point.
Image: Calendars Michel Zbinden
Make it nice
Windows 9 will (continue) attempt to make Windows something from which business users and developers won't run screaming (Windows 8?).
With Windows 9, Microsoft will continue to undo the mistakes it made with Windows 8. Microsoft started work on making Windows 8 more palatable to business users with its Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update 1 releases.
Windows 9 will continue along that path, and also attempt to appease developers by introducing even more commonalities in the programming interfaces and development tools across Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox. There's a good chance Windows 9 will be where and when Microsoft makes available a single, common Windows Store for apps for all three Windows platforms.
Windows 9 will come in three main flavors
It's still early days for Windows 9 (given it's not supposedly even yet in development and won't be until next month). But sources have told me that Microsoft is leaning toward fewer SKUs, or versions, with Windows 9.
Word is there could be three primary SKUs: A "modern" consumer SKU; a traditional/PC SKU; and a traditional enterprise SKU.
The modern SKU would be focused on delivering WinRT apps. This SKU may be available for both ARM- and Intel-based devices, but wouldn't be optimized to run Desktop/Win32 apps. A more traditional consumer SKU would include the Desktop and be updated through the Windows Store, like Windows 8 is now. A traditional Enterprise SKU would support Win 32 apps and have all the usual bells and whistles. It may be for volume licensees only.