Windows Blue To Be Released as "Windows 8.1", Future of Service Packs Uncertain

Microsoft's annual BUILD conference is coming up soon, and while Windows Phone will no doubt have a role, desktop Windows users will surely want to pay attention as well. Windows 8 has been around the block at this point, with some aspects of it being quite pleasing and others leaving critics wanting. So, what's Microsoft to do? An update, of course. Windows 8.1 is rumored to be just around the bend, with a code-name of "Blue."

But here's the thing: does this signal the end of those service packs from yesteryear, and a new start for Microsoft's OS releases (similar to how Apple rolls things out with cheap, albeit not free updates)?

The point update is an unusual name change for Microsoft, and it could usher in a new way of updating its OS, and perhaps a different way of counting licenses. While the death of Service Packs may be disheartening (or, even the thought of it), keeping a planned schedule of releases coming -- even if it costs a bit -- might not be so bad. After all, you can only expect so much from free.