Microsoft builds toward Windows Blue releases

There's more confirmation (if you needed/wanted it) that Microsoft is readying Blue builds of Windows RT and Windows Server.

Microsoft signage
Microsoft

It shouldn't be too much of a surprise to anyone who has been following the Windows Blue rumors and news, but there's now more confirmation about Microsoft's plans to release both a Windows RT version and multiple server versions of Windows Blue.

Yesterday, what appeared to bea build of Windows Blue leaked to the Web. Some called this build a "partner" build of Windows Blue. One of my trustered 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.

Stephen Chapman of MSFTKitchen did a teardown of the leaked bits. He discovered mentions of the following Windows Blue SKUs that are apparently in the works:

  • Windows Blue RT
  • Windows Blue Personal
  • Windows Blue Professional
  • Windows Blue Standard Server
  • Windows Blue Enterprise Server
  • Windows Blue Datacenter Server
  • Windows Blue Web Server

As Most Valuable Professional Aidan Finn(@joe_elway) reminded me, as of Windows Server 2012, Microsoft dropped Web Server and Enterprise Server from its Windows Server line-up. So there may be shadows of the past reflected in this in-development list.  The current Win Server 2012 versions include Standard, Essentials, Datacenter and Foundation. The only thing that seems for sure is there will be multiple Win Server Blue editions, which, again, what one would expect.

Chapman's discovery means we now have further confirmation that Microsoft will be almost certainly making a Blue version of Windows RT available, alongside two new client (Personal and Professional) Windows client builds. And multiple server SKUs are coming, too.

Windows Blue client and server builds are expected to be released to manufacturing in late summer this year. There also will be a Windows Phone Blue product coming some time after that, sources have said. Microsoft officials are continuing to decline to say anything about any of the Blue releases.

While talking Blue, I wanted to point out a couple of observations from around the Web about the leaked build. As many sites have previously reported, Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) is built into Blue. Neowin noted this past weekend that IE11 may include tab-syncing functionality, which could potentially allow users to sync tabs across Windows Phone and Windows, going forward.

And as my Windows Weekly cohost Paul Thurrott (whose image of the leaked Blue build I've embedded in this post) noted, more and more of the settings that are currently built into the Windows 8 Control Panel (in the Desktop) are going Metro. Thought Microsoft definitely isn't phasing out the Desktop with Blue, it's slowly chipping away at making the Desktop less necessary for its own software and services.

It will be interesting to see when there are enough Metro-style apps to embolden the company enough to totally remove the Desktop, which allows Win32 programs to run on Windows 8. I'd bet that won't be any time soon, myself. 

This story originally appeared at ZDNet under the headline "Microsoft readying multiple Windows Blue servers and a Blue Windows RT build."

About the author

    Mary Jo Foley has been a tech journalist for almost 30 years. She is editor of ZDNet's "All About Microsoft" blog. She authored "Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft Plans to Stay Relevant in the Post-Gates Era" and co-hosts the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT Network.

     

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