Microsoft is making a big change with Windows, moving to a new plan of introducing a new incarnation of the desktop OS every three years, with smaller, regular feature updates in between.

The move to a new engineering timeline is a rumor started by Zac Bowden of Windows Central (opens in a new tab), who is well connected at Microsoft and has found credible leaks in the past.

As mentioned, the theory of what's going to happen in the future is that Windows will have a three-year release cycle, and since Windows 11 came out in 2021, that's going to mean a whole new Windows, maybe Windows 12, maybe it's something brand new. different – ​​coming in 2024 (Windows 24? Windows XXIV? WindowsOS, huh?). And then another version will be released in 2027, then rinsed and repeated (unless Microsoft changes its mind, which is a fair bet, at some point, if recent form is any indication).

Of course, what Microsoft doesn't want is to go back to the old days of waiting a long time for new features to arrive with a new incarnation of Windows, so the current version will be continually updated with new features at all times. a given year.

So instead of one big annual feature update, Microsoft will release smaller feature updates every few months, up to four per year, Bowden says.

This situation will come into play starting next year, so we'll still get the Windows 11 22H2 update (aka Sun Valley 2) later this year, of course, but Sun Valley 3 has apparently been discontinued. In 2023, we'll be moving on to those more compact feature updates that will roll out quarterly (give or take), and they'll be called "Moments," or at least that's the working title, it seems. the.

Analysis: A logical extension of what is already happening?

Let's turn the clock back a minute. As you may remember, the original plan with Windows 10 was that it would be the latest version of Windows (not that we believed it) and that it would be updated continuously on an ongoing basis, twice a year. . This original concept obviously changed with the release of Windows 11 and major feature updates were reduced to a once a year level.

However, along with these major feature updates that have been slowed down, Microsoft has already introduced "experience packs," which may sound like something out of an MMORPG's monetization plan, but are actually Microsoft's plan to bring updates. more regular. Feature Experience Packs, for example, can be deployed to update legacy base apps for Windows outside of a major feature update.

So actually, what we're hearing here is more or less what we already have: With Windows 11 after Windows 10, we could assume that another version would probably come. And Moments are essentially energized experience packs, and a way to make changes that improve the current interface without drastically changing it, which are needed to facilitate more regular tweaking of the desktop OS if Microsoft moves to a three-year plan for Windows. new versions of Windows. – which is a big yes. While these all-new versions of Windows will be where the general changes to the user interface or user experience are released.

Another way to look at this is that it makes sense in terms of being a logical extension of the direction Microsoft has already taken. And a three-year release gap aligns perfectly with the software giant's recent history, with Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 all three years apart.

Still, we should consider this just a rumor for now, though a lot of it makes sense to us and comes from a more reliable source than most Microsoft-related speculation. And furthermore, even if that's Microsoft's current plan, that doesn't mean it will stay that way: the company hasn't been shy about cutting back and changing the way the OS is produced lately, of course.

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