Steve Ballmer: 'Rapid Release' is the new norm

On the BUILD stage in San Francisco, Steve Ballmer stated that rapid release is the new norm for Microsoft and that consumers should expect the rapid updates to Windows and other platforms to continue into the future. Ballmer was not shy about it either by repeating 'rapid' several times and iterating that Microsoft is moving faster than ever to push out updates and new products. 

It has been expected that Microsoft was moving to a rapid release cycle and Ballmer confirmed on stage today that we should expect Windows to be updated a rapid release cycle as well. This is a dramatic shift in how Microsoft used to operate where it would release a massive update every few years. By moving to a rapid release schedule, Microsoft will be able to adapt the Windows platform as the market evolves.

Knowing this, it would seem that Windows 8.2 should be on the horizon for a release next year if Microsoft keeps with its current development cadence. Of course, this is all subject to change as this shift for Microsoft will surely have a few teething issues. Although, those issues could be ironed out with the rumored reorganization for the next fiscal year at Microsoft which starts July 1st.

Source: BUILD Keynote

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Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. An Operating System is not a web browser. Secondly can we get a release for Windows 7? Most people and busineses will be running it for the next 10 years.

I'm also sitting here wondering how to get the 8.1 preview onto Surface RT. Just got an email from MS to checkout the preview. Click it "this preview is not yet available". WTF They need to get rid of whoever is managing the update servers!

When you release a product with an interface as bad as Win8 I guess rapid release is going to seem like a good idea...

Studio384 said,
Except that they are free.

Just because 8.1 is free doesn't mean 8.2 or whatever is next will be free.

Studio384 said,
Except that they are free.

8.1 will be free.... Future ones? Who knows? Personally I think MS will adopt Apple strategy: yearly updates for a smaller fee.

Will the former quality, with few exceptions, continue with Windows? Or, is Windows-8 the start of the new philosophy--quantity at the expense of quality?

I just hope that next year comes Windows 8.2 and not Windows 9. I'd pity people who paid 200$ for an OS that would last 2 years

Jose_49 said,
I just hope that next year comes Windows 8.2 and not Windows 9. I'd pity people who paid 200$ for an OS that would last 2 years

My guess is MS will move to asking you to pay a smaller amount for smaller upgrades, or move you onto a subscription model (their ideal). Will 8.2 be free? Maybe not..

Jose_49 said,
I just hope that next year comes Windows 8.2 and not Windows 9. I'd pity people who paid 200$ for an OS that would last 2 years
Would you be mad if it is Windows 8.5?

I really hope this rapid release, won't overwhelm MS... MS has never been a rapid release company... It seems as if they are trying to compete w/Google,Apple,Sony,Orcale (now cool with them), all in one single fight...

Well if you look at all the new stuff in 8.1 theres a lot considering it's not even been a year since Win 8 was released. Look at OSX updates in comparison, they have a slightly longer update cycle yet don't have as many new features. I think MS are doing a good job.

Showan said,
I really hope this rapid release, won't overwhelm MS... MS has never been a rapid release company... It seems as if they are trying to compete w/Google,Apple,Sony,Orcale (now cool with them), all in one single fight...

Microsoft was releasing a new version of Windows every year during the 1990s. It's actually the slow release cycles of the 2000s that are the aberration.

As for competing with multiple industry giants at the same time -- when has Microsoft not been doing this? In 1995, for example, Microsoft was competing with IBM, Oracle, and Apple -- all at the same time. Not to mention Novell, Lotus, Borland, and a ton of other companies that were big at the time.

Nothing new in all this -- just a return to the old Microsoft.

pfff... i cant install it on my surface rt cos' it has language pack and i cant install it on my desktop cos' i dont know, it just does not work

maybe try being a bit less rapid

Ryano121 said,
Trouble is rapid development often = more bugs

I think we have to take it in the context of 'rapid' for Microsoft - 1 year versus three is a norm for other vendors (OSX) and remember it's incremental updates versus big bang. They're not going to pack 3 years of dev into 1..

Ryano121 said,
Trouble is rapid development often = more bugs

Based on what evidence? less features that are more rigorously tested and rolled out only when ready rather than heaping a lot of features into a single release that makes testing more difficult - the new model should mean that the new features, although less in number, should be more well tested.

Order_66 said,
Hopefully this "reorganization" will consist of Ballmer being fired.

Name one person that can do a better job. History is going to be very kind to Ballmer.

siah1214 said,

Name one person that can do a better job. History is going to be very kind to Ballmer.

oddly i'd have to agree - I don't much like the man but I do like the direction MS is heading with him at the helm.

Besides if Mother Teresa ran MS she'd still be vilified - this *is* Microsoft we're talking about isn't it?

Actually Ballmer has done a much better job than people realize. He's increased Microsoft's annual review by 3 to 4 times (Before him it used to be $20 billion, now it is up to $70 billion).

People can complain but he is not there by luck. The guy is smart to be where he is at and if he is not that good of a CEO then he would have got fired already. It does not matter what you think because he is a CEO and you are not? If you are smart and know better then why don't you become the CEO of a large corporation. Then you can talk. Fact is he is CEO and we are not. I personally think he is doing a good job specially these most recent years.