However there are now screen shots showing an OS with a build number of Windows 8.1 Pro Build 9788 complete with the tile based menu that has been shown on leaked images of Windows 9. The current build number is 9600. Now while you might consider this a small gap between the shipping build and the screen images, there is a lot you can do in 188 builds. This means that it is technically possible that the images are real and not faked, but it does not mean that this will ever see the light of day.
From what we are hearing Microsoft had originally intended to have a go at drooping the start menu back on the desktop with Windows 8.x, but changed their minds when it became clear there were other parts of the OS that people (especially businesses) were not happy with. There would be no reason to push to get this out when it might not have any real impact on sales. Instead Microsoft may be looking to overhaul their OS with a renewed focus on the enterprise.
If this is the case then shifting resources to Windows 9 makes a lot of sense at this point. Remember that Microsoft must recapture the enterprise market if they are to make real progress. Window 8.x has had a very rough time gaining any traction in the office. In most cases the heavy cloud orientation combined with the less than efficient ModernUI has made many companies hold fast with windows 7. In fact some companies were staying with Windows XP until Microsoft finally cut support for it.
We do not expect to see the start menu return to Windows until Windows 9 hits the streets. It will give the consumer and the business motivation to at least look at the new OS. Of course there is always the chance that Microsoft might offer the start menu to Windows 8.1 users through a paid feature pack like Media Center, or as part of the Media Centre bundle. We guess time will tell…
Tell us what you think