Software giant Microsoft is rumoured to be intending to release the next update to its Windows operating system suite in April 2015.
It is apparently currently codenamed 'Threshold' within Microsoft, although once released the client operating system will be called Windows 9. This is likely to be an attempt by the firm to differentiate the new OS from Windows 8, and its later iteration Windows 8.1, which experienced disappointing sales and poor user feedback.
Among the changes rumoured to be part of the new release is the return of the Start menu, which was controversially left out of Windows 8 - a move that proved unpopular with customers.
The wider Threshold project will also see updates released for Windows Phone and Xbox One.
With the release of Windows 9 expected in spring 2015, some firms have expressed concern that this relatively short release cycle for new operating systems will prove hard to manage.
Simon Townsend, chief technologist for Europe at AppSense, said Windows 9's arrival will pose a challenge for IT departments.
"The announcement of Windows 9, due out next year, demonstrates how enterprise IT will have support not just multiple devices or multiple platforms, but now multiple versions of Windows. The quicker release of Windows operating systems moves us away from the 15-year-old 'managed' Windows XP estate and to a place where multiple flavours of OS will be present," said Townsend.
"Longer term this will force enterprise IT to change the way they manage their estate. There will be a need to move away from managing devices and platforms at the OS level, and instead look at how applications, data and users are managed regardless of the device," he argued.
Windows 9 will become a focus for the new CEO at Microsoft, when he or she is selected, but it will also be the first major release to be developed wholly under the leadership of operating systems group VP Terry Myerson, who previously led the Windows Phone group.
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