Yesterday at the Microsoft Build conference in San Francisco, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Windows dev chief Julie Larson-Green introduced the one-and-only "Milestone Preview" of Windows 8.1 (aka Windows "Blue"), touting its remarkable improvements over the much-maligned Windows 8 and Windows RT.
In the 24 hours since, I've had a chance to kick the Preview's tires a bit and look under the hood, employing the jaundiced eye of a longtime Windows veteran who isn't the least bit impressed with Windows 8's Jekyll-and-Hyde approach. What I see leaves me more convinced than ever that Microsoft is running Windows into the ground.
Here's the good news: Windows 8.1 isn't worse than Windows 8.
If you're forced to use Windows 8 or if you're one of the 1 percent (OK, 5 percent) who actually prefer Win8 over Win7, Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 are shaping up to be must-have updates.
Windows 8.1 'Blue' preview: Well, it beats Windows 8 | Microsoft Windows - InfoWorldWhile most of the features in Windows 8.1 should have been in Windows 8, my hat's off to the engineering work done on the update. Microsoft has put together an enormous number of improvements, and it's well on the way to shipping them in less than a year. That has to be the fastest "version 2.0" of a major product in Microsoft history. Plus, it establishes a cadence of annual, substantive updates that Microsoft claims it can maintain.
You can install and run the beta, but it would be wise to understand the limitations first. The final version of Windows 8.1 is widely expected in August or possibly September.