MrSeb writes: "Way back in August, three months before the release of Windows 8, we learnt about the existence of a project at Microsoft codenamed Blue. At the time it wasn’t clear whether this was Windows 9, or some kind of interim update/service pack for Windows 8. Now, if unnamed sources are to be believed, Windows Blue is both of those things: a major update to Windows 8, and also the beginning of a major shift that will result in a major release of Windows every 12 months — just like Apple’s OS X. According to these insiders, Blue will roll out mid-2013, and will be very cheap — or possibly even free, to ensure that “Windows Blue the next OS that everyone installs.” Exact details are still rather vague, but at the very least Blue will make “UI changes” to Windows 8. The sources also indicate that the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 SDKs will be merged or standardized, to further simplify the development of cross-platform apps. Perhaps more important, though, is the shift to a 12-month release cadence. Historically, Microsoft has released a major version of Windows every few years, with the intervening periods populated with stability — and security-oriented service packs. Now it seems that Microsoft wants to move to an OS X-like system, where new and exciting features will be added on an annual basis. In turn, Microsoft will drop the price of these releases — probably to around $25, just like OS X."