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Over the weekend, a build of the next version of Microsoft Windows, codenamed Blue, leaked to the Web. It appears that Microsoft plans to update both its desktop/tablet and server versions of its operating system with features that carry on in the same direction as Windows 8.
ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley reported, "On March 24, what appeared to be a build of Windows Blue leaked to the Web. Some called this build a 'partner' build of Windows Blue. One of my trusted sources has told me that the leaked build, number 9364, is real and is a direct internal engineering build, current as of the past week or so."
Time's Jared Newman observed, "Features include new Modern-style apps such as Sound Recorder and Calculator, easier home-screen customization, the ability to make app tiles even smaller or larger and an expanded Snap view that lets each app cover half the screen....The most noticeable — and the most positive — change is the dwindling importance of the traditional desktop. Don’t worry, the desktop isn’t going away in Windows Blue, but it doesn’t seem as vital as it is in Windows 8 and Windows RT."
ServerWatch's Pedro Hernandez added, "Windows Blue, which is meant to kick off an Apple-like yearly update cycle for Microsoft, is significantly more far-reaching than first thought. New rumblings and one big leak indicate that Blue is less about simply updating Microsoft's desktop and tablet OSes and more about overhauling a good part of the company's overall software and cloud ecosystem."
However, Windows 8 users don't have to wait for the eventual appearance of Blue for improvements to their OS. Computerworld's Greg Keizer noted on Monday, "Microsoft today announced it would start pushing updated versions of several long-criticized Windows 8 apps, including Mail, Calendar and People, the 'Modern'-style program for keeping track of contacts, to the Windows Store tomorrow."