By Alexandra Burlacu | May 16, 2013 10:51 AM EDT
Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8.1 update dubbed "Windows Blue" will be free to Windows 8 and Windows RT customers through the Windows Store.
Rumors of a Windows Blue update have been making rounds for quite some time, and many assumed that customers will have to pay at least $40 for the update, i.e. the same price they paid to upgrade from Windows 7 before the end of January 2013.
Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc, however, says this is not the case. In a blog post on Tuesday, May 15, LeBlanc announced that Windows 8.1 will not require an upgrade fee. The news comes after an interesting Q&A session with Tami Reller, Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Windows, during the JP Morgan Technology, Media & Telecom Conference. Reller told investors that Microsoft sold more than 100 million Windows 8 licenses and has more than 70,000 apps available in Windows Store. More touch-based laptops are also currently available on the market, starting at $400.
"Our OEM partners have delivered tablets, touch laptops, and convertibles that bring the vision of Windows 8 and mobile computing to life," touts LeBlanc. "They have introduced some incredible (and unique) new form factors like the Dell XPS 12, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13, the Sony VAIO Tap 20, or the recently announced Acer Aspire R7. And today at retail, you can find a powerful mobile touch laptop starting at just over $400."
"Tami reiterated our goal of delivering continual updates to create a richer experience for Windows customers," adds LeBlanc, referring to Reller's Q&A session. "Windows 8.1 is part of that and continues the journey we first began with Windows 8 last fall. Windows 8.1 will help us to deliver the experiences customers - both consumers and businesses alike - need and will just expect moving forward."
According to LeBlanc, more information regarding the Windows 8.1 "Blue" update will become available in the coming weeks. Consumers will also be able to see a public preview of Windows 8.1 and Windows RT during Microsoft's BUILD 2013 developer conference in San Francisco, starting June 26.
Microsoft received lots of criticism since releasing Windows 8, from both OEMs and consumers. Many OEMs complained about declining sales, while consumers complained about the changes to the core platform and the new interface. The update should address at least some of the issues consumers complained about, including the lack of a Start menu and booting up into the desktop.
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