It's been a couple weeks of Microsoft naming madness. To top it all off at the end of last week, there were new leaks about the next version of Windows unearthed by various sites.
It's not surprising Microsoft already is working on whatever version of Windows follows Windows 8. It'd be way more surprising if the company wasn't doing this. But already there "Windows 9" references, including new ones unearthed by Microsoft Kitchen's Stephen Chapman and Win8China (as cited by the WinUnleaked site). I've heard the next version of Windows is not going to be Windows 9. Instead, I've heard from a couple of my contacts that some kind of an update is coming next year. The Windows release codenamed "Blue" -- mentioned by Win8China last week -- is likely the codename of this interim release, my contacts claim. I'm not clear if Blue is simply what we in the Windows world typically call a service pack, which is a rollup of fixes and updates. Or maybe Blue is more of a feature pack, which would/could include be a rollup of fixes plus some new features.
The word seems to be, whichever it is, that Microsoft is moving away from the big-bang Windows release schedule to which it typically has adhered, and is now attempting to move toward something more like what Apple does, with point releases. I'll be curious if Blue eventually gets a version number, like Windows 8.1 or 8.5 or something. And if we'll see Blue materializes in the summer of 2013, as I've heard from some of my contacts.... What's interesting about "Blue" as a codename is that it deviates from the city-name pattern that is used by many Microsoft divisions. (The corporate-codename thinking, supposedly, is city names are less likely to be something for which Microsoft will/can get in naming trouble, though that isn't always true.) That said, the Windows team has for the past couple of releases used numbers (7, 8) rather than city names as codenames. Another fact of potential interest to other codename buffs: This isn't the first time Microsoft has used the Blue codename. The Azure folks have used Blue before, as has the MSN team.