Microsoft is clearly aware that both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are far from perfect. In fact, within a month of the new operating system’s global launch in October 2012, rumors were already swirling that the company was planning to refresh both OSes with a new operating system codenamed Windows Blue.
Windows Blue became a lot more real this past week with Microsoft posting (and removing) a couple of new job listings. The job posts suggest the updates to Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 will focus on improving user interfaces and bringing more regular updates to both platforms.
According to ZDNet, the Redmond-based tech giant is looking to staff up its Core Experience team in Windows Sustained Engineering (WinSE), which is responsible for the tiled start screen and the software life-cycle. This fits well with what Windows Blue is expected to bring to Windows customers: an annual upgrade to both the desktop and mobile OS, as well as more changes to the user experience to make the mobile and desktop software even more seamless beyond the start screen.
From sifting through the job postings, we were able to deduce a few things. According to this screenshot from @h0x0d (Walking Cat on Twitter), the Excel Office Mobile team is looking for a “seasoned development lead who is willing to re-imagine the Excel experiences for the next version of Windows Phones.” In the same job posting, Microsoft also confirms that Windows Phone will be getting its own Windows Blue update, and that the Excel MX app, a more limited version of the spreadsheet software, will become available on the Windows App Store like the OneNote MX for Windows RT.
Windows Blue updates are expected to arrive some time this summer, but Microsoft has yet to officially announce that these upgrades are even on the way. Though we’re all for Microsoft making continual improvements to Windows products and adding to its app store, we must admit that we’re wary of how much this will cost the average consumer. We’re hoping these updates will be free, but we wouldn’t put it past Microsoft to borrow from Apple’s yearly Mac OS upgrade model and charge a relatively low fee for each update. What do you think?