Microsoft France President Spills Beans On Windows 9 In Advance Of Expected Launch Event

Microsoft has been tight-lipped on what's coming in the next version of Windows -- or even what it's going to be called -- but one of its French executives apparently slipped up on Tuesday.

"Last year we had Windows 8. In the next few minutes, the next few days, we'll be releasing Windows 9," Alain Crozier, president of Microsoft France, said at a press conference, as reported by the Microsoft blog WP Central.

This is notable because Microsoft hasn't yet disclosed its official name for the next version of Windows, code-named 'Threshold.'

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Microsoft is expected to unveil the product Sept. 30 at a press event in San Francisco. A Microsoft spokesperson declined comment on Crozier's remarks.

"On Sept. 30, we will be providing an update on what’s next for Windows and the enterprise. Unfortunately, we have nothing more to share," the spokesperson said in an email.

On one hand, it would make sense for Microsoft to go with 'Windows 9' because that's the next number in the sequence that began with its release of Windows 7 in 2009.

However, given the difficulties Microsoft has had in selling Windows 8, and getting customers to wake up to the advantages of its Metro interface, it's possible Microsoft could go in a new direction by giving the next version of Windows a different name.

Andy Kretzer, director of marketing and sales at Fremont, Calif.-based system builder and Microsoft partner, told CRN he thinks Microsoft will have to step up its game in a big way to get customers interested in Windows again.

"What would I like to see in the next version of Windows? How about a compelling reason to upgrade?" Kretzer said. "It’s been a very long time since we’ve seen that, and frankly we’ve been seeing more compelling reasons not to upgrade."

Windows 8 was a big gamble on Microsoft's part to attract tablet-using consumers, but the massive user interface it brought hasn't gone over well with customers. Already, enterprises are showing a desire to standardize on Windows 7 so as to avoid upgrading to Windows 8, which is what happened with Windows XP after the Windows Vista debacle.

Kretzer thinks the market's negative response to Windows 8 is going to take some time to overcome.

"To date, both as a business user and as an individual power user, I am less productive with Windows 8.1 than I am with Windows 7," Kretzer said. "There are many things that I like with Windows 8.1, but overall -- and after significant use -- I still struggle with productivity."