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Microsoft's 'Threshold' Rumored To Be Three Windows SKUs

Veteran Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley today outlined more details about Microsoft's rumored "Threshold" product wave releases.

Threshold is the purported code name for products that Microsoft may release in the spring of 2015. Microsoft has offered no public comments about it. However, Foley, citing unnamed sources, now describes Threshold as at least three future product "SKUs" (stock-keeping units) for Windows. The three SKUs mentioned by Foley are:

  • Modern Consumer SKU: A frequently updated WinRT operating system supporting "modern" or Windows Store Apps on ARM-based machines, as well as possibly Intel-based ones, but not focused on Win32 "legacy" apps
  • Traditional Consumer SKU: A frequently updated operating system optimized to support the use of a keyboard and mouse combination
  • Traditional Enterprise SKU: A traditional desktop OS capable of running Windows Store Apps that isn't frequently updated through the Windows Store and that will only be offered to organizations opting for volume licensing

The three Windows products appear to be a way to address the different needs of consumers and businesses, as well as IT departments that may be unhappy with Microsoft's faster Windows release cadence and user interface changes. Only the so-called Traditional Enterprise SKU seems like a major departure from Microsoft's current practices with Windows 8.

Foley depicted Threshold as a "concession" of sorts.

"The big takeaway here is there may be more concessions coming to folks who felt like Windows 8 went too far in turning Windows into a touch-first, tablet-centric operating system," she suggested.

As an indication that the more things change, the more they revert back to the same thing, Microsoft could bring back the ability to run applications in floating Windows with the Threshold release, according to speculation by writer Paul Thurrott, citing his own unnamed sources. He also said that Microsoft might bring back the Start Menu in the next version of Windows, which he suggested might be called "Windows 8.2."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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