During BUILD 2014 in April, Microsoft’s Terry Myerson revealed that the beloved Start Menu would return to the Windows platform in the near future, but didn’t specify an actual release date. Presumably it was going to launch in Windows 8.1 Update 2 slated to arrive sometime during the August/September window. Now sources close to the project are reporting that the Start Menu will not arrive until Windows 8.1 Update 3. Yep, there’s a new update in the works.
Unnamed sources report that Windows 8.1 Update 3 will take place in Spring 2015, the same window that Windows 9 "Threshold" was supposed to be released. Does that mean Windows 9 is already seeing a delay? Sources now point to a Q2/Q3 window for "Threshold," which could mean that Update 3 will be released in April and Windows 9 in June.
Popular Windows leaker WZOR reports that Update 2 will be free to Windows 8.1 Update 1 users, and sold to all other Windows customers at an "affordable price." The same holds true for Windows 9: customers who upgraded to Update 3 will get the new OS for free. That sounds a bit "off," as Microsoft made Windows 7 users pay $40 for the Windows 8 upgrade when it was first released. Then again, we've heard this "free" argument before, as Microsoft supposedly wants everyone on the newest version.
In a separate report by a user at EightForums, "Indianatone" called Microsoft about an activation issue. In the conversation, this person asked about when Windows 9 would be released, and was told that it would arrive in about a year. This same rep also admitted that customer support was currently being trained for Windows 8.1 Update 2, which will be released in August or September through Windows Store, weighing 3 GB: the same as Update 1.
WZOR indicated last week that Microsoft plans to have a huge internal event sometime this week to discuss the overall plans for Windows. Update 2 is expected to get an RTM escrow during the event, and will be distributed to Microsoft employees willing to take the new OS for a test drive. In turn this trial will help Microsoft track down the software leakers.