Starting with Windows 8 Microsoft has retired the release of service packs. Instead now the software giant offers regular updates to its Windows 8 operating system that come in the form of software upgrades that carry the OS version and then the number of the update. Thus Windows 8.1 was born a few months ago.
Rumors online now suggest that Windows 8.2 will appear this fall. This coincides with Microsoft’s strategy of releasing updates according to a rapid release cycle, similar to the six-month release cycles of Linux Ubuntu and Apple. Windows 8.2 is said to take over Windows 8.1 as Microsoft’s primary operating system and will include features that were promised a while ago such as the new Start Menu that includes the icon-based menu of Windows 7 with a Windows Phone-styled Live Tile bar.
Windows 8.2 will be the last update to the Windows 8 OS family and will be succeeded by Windows 9, which will bring even more changes. As before Windows 8.2 will be a free update to users of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. In addition to that there are rumors that Microsoft will release Windows Cloud shortly after Windows 8.2. Windows Cloud will be a virtual version of Windows that will provide competition to Google’s Chrome OS at the extreme low end of the market. This OS will offer core functionality for free and offer more advanced functionality for a fee.