The Windows 8.1 Update 1 leak has been around for almost two months now, giving users a chance to test the waters with what Microsoft hopes will bring back some consumer confidence in its failing OS. Although Windows 8 and 8.1 isn’t failing by any traditional metrics when you look at sales, consumer confidence in the OS has fallen to its lowest in the company’s history.
With this on its mind, Microsoft has officially confirmed the Windows 8.1 Update 1 and revealed that it will address many consumer complaints about the OS. Will the Windows 8.1 Update 1 solve all consumer woes? Let’s look at what we know so far.
Confirming Windows 8.1 Update 1
Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President and Manager for Windows Phone, confirmed via blog post, that Update 1 is specifically responding to consumer complaints and requests from hardware partners. The last part is especially important because, for the last year, many of Microsoft’s hardware partners have pushed the company to address issues sooner than later.
“Over the next few months, we’ll continue to deliver innovation and progression with an update to Windows 8.1, coming this spring.”
The following items will be addressed in the Windows 8.1 Update 1:
- Helping partners create lower-costing hardware for production.
- Changing the UI of PC versions to bridge the gap between Metro and desktop versions.
- Enterprise will be getting a much-needed upgrade for business customers.
According to Belfiore:
“We shipped Windows 8.1 in under a year in response to customer and partner feedback, and we’ll continue to refine and improve Windows to deliver a productive and delightful experience for all users on all devices. And, you’ll see us continue on a more rapid release cadence where we deliver ongoing value to all your Windows devices.”
A variety of other tweaks to the Windows 8.1 UI and functionality have been thrown around, including power and search buttons on the Start Screen, smaller update footprints and cutting the price on Windows 8.1 to encourage consumers to give it a shot. As more comes out about Windows 8.1 Update 1, we’ll cover it and let you know what to expect from the first Service Pack for Windows 8.1.
Mary Jo Foley has several sources throwing around April 8, 2014, as the target release date for Windows 8.1 Update 1. Many other websites and sources have come forward saying Spring 2014, not necessarily April 2014. For now, until Microsoft announces otherwise, we should look towards the end of Spring as opposed to April. We’ve heard nothing else from Microsoft about the Windows 8.1 Update 1, so for now, we’ll keep our ear to the ground and hope for word soon.
Will Microsoft finally take consumer feedback seriously? If it’s coming from hardware partners, we think so. Certainly having Satya Nadella at the helm of Microsoft now and Bill Gates back in the fold will help, too. Microsoft has turned its back on consumer feedback before and while the bulk of Update 1 would’ve been done under Ballmer’s reign and not Nadella’s, it’s too early to tell if this update truly will take user feedback that way it should.
If Update 1 doesn’t reflect the new Microsoft, it’s safe to say Update 2 will be under Nadella’s hands. Will Microsoft finally stand up and let consumers back into the OS that they’ve called home for over a decade. Only time will tell but we’re hopeful, we’ve very, very hopeful.
We’ve covered a bit of the leak here at TechNorms before and will have more vigorous coverage in the future but for now, we’ll stay cautiously optimized. Windows 8.1 is not hard to use, but it’s so far removed from what users enjoyed about earlier versions of the OS it makes it hard for some to make the next leap forward.
As Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 become more integrated, expect more announcements from Belfiore’s camp about the future of Windows. As Microsoft pushes towards a fully integrated OS, gaming and phone experience, you can expect the future of Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 to be closely intertwined together. Anyone who thinks Windows 8.1 is done is mistaken. Only by looking to the future of an integrated operating system experience can Microsoft truly capture the spirit of what Windows 8 was meant to be all along for consumers and Microsoft fans.