Microsoft confirms public preview of Windows Blue in late June

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.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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


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."

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