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Microsoft votes for free Windows 8.1, collects kudos

Gregg Keizer | May 15, 2013
Microsoft today announced that Windows 8.1, the update later this year for Windows 8, will be free to current users of the operating system, confirming analysts' expectations.

Most important to enterprises, said Silver, will be the ease of updating from Windows 8 to version 8.1. If the first "point" release is painless to distribute to Windows 8 hardware, Microsoft will have a better shot at convincing enterprises to adopt the radical OS.

"If enterprises see that this is relatively easy to deploy, they may start thinking about Windows 8," Silver said. "What Microsoft needs to do is get some credibility here."

After Microsoft moved to a regularly-scheduled Patch Tuesday in the fall of 2003, companies instituted a complicated process of testing and spot-deploying the updates before rolling them out en mass, said Silver. But as time went on, many halted the practice as they became confident the patches would not cripple computers or break applications.

"Now, very few organizations do that," Silver maintained. "Microsoft needs to gain that kind of credibility for these [Windows 8] updates."


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