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TheStreet Open House

Microsoft Code Blue Alert

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- In the prehistoric days of personal computing, putting the words "Windows" and "blue" in the same sentence wasn't anything PC users wanted to experience for themselves.

That's because, back in the day, when Microsoft (MSFT) Windows crashed, all you were left with was known as a Blue Screen of Death (BSoD). White text on a royal blue background. You didn't even have to read any of the dire warnings presented on your display. You knew immediately that you were in big trouble.

In 2013, Windows and blue might mean something entirely different. According to published reports, Microsoft has plans for something code named Windows Blue. But no one is exactly sure sure what that will be.

According to ZD Net, Windows Blue has just surfaced on a few blogs. It's not known whether Blue will be the next full-blown version of Windows (Windows 9) or a medium-sized, incremental software update/problem fix -- what Microsoft used to call a Service Pack.

Journalists at The Verge have come up with a much more interesting scenario. They think Windows Blue is the code name for a new way Microsoft wants to handle the Windows operating system in the future.

Windows Blue could be the method that Microsoft is planning to coordinate regular operating system updates for computers, tablets and smartphones. The Windows computer OS will receive a few interface tweaks, some changes under the hood and also a new way way to buy the operating system.

The first version of Blue might be offered sometime in mid-2013, maybe as a low-cost or free update to Windows 8. After that, all future changes will be pushed only to Blue users. Plus, the new system would require a yearly fee to keep the updates/fixes/improvements coming. Only "genuine" copies of Windows will reportedly be able to take part in the Blue revolution.

Our sources says this all sounds very interesting but would confirm nothing. Officially, Microsoft makes a point of never commenting on rumors and speculation. But we should know more after the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas early next year and also the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona next February.

-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.

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