NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- On Tuesday, Microsoft (MSFT) will reveal its master plan for bringing the Windows franchise back to prominence. In the process, Microsoft's ninth version of its personal computer operating system needs to be good enough to erase the memory of Windows 8, different enough to help boost PC sales and perhaps include a return to the past: a fully-functioning Start button.
Rumors suggest that Microsoft, which is holding the event in San Francisco, will name the next OS Windows 9, Threshold (the internal development name) or Windows TH. Yet, the one thing everyone is pretty sure of is the famous Windows home screen will be the prominent interface once again with the boxy Metro taking a supporting role.
One German Website believes the new Windows might look like this:
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CLSA analyst Ed Maguire says the next version of Windows will be "an effort to combine disparate software designs to combine hardware like PCs, tablets and smartphones with software features such as Cortana and the Metro UI into one computing platform for all devices." In a phone conversation, Maguire said, "Microsoft had tried to straddle two platforms and it didn't work. Windows 8 wasn't bad - like Vista was - but it required a large learning curve."
In addition, Microsoft is also thought to be adding the very Linux-like ability of "virtual desktops" - to switch between more than home screen running at the same time. It's also expected that sort of Notifications panel will be added to the Technical Preview/beta as well as a number of other tweaks and improvements.
Gartner analyst Michael Silver isn't sure the new software could help Microsoft, despite the rumored changes. "Windows 9 could either push Microsoft further into irrelevance or survival," Silver said in a phone interview. "Microsoft blundered with Windows 8 and any any amount of improvement will change the way people think of Windows."
In Microsoft's fiscal fourth quarter, it generated $4.69 billion in revenue from its Windows Devices and Consumer Licensing group, up from $4.38 billion in the previous quarter. When Microsoft released Windows 8 in the fiscal second quarter of 2012, revenue from its Windows Devices and Consumer Licensing group was $4.74 billion.