Yesterday it was revealed that a new and major update to Windows 8 is coming sometime in mid-2013, codenamed "Windows Blue" and bringing with it the start of an annual release cycle. This is all well and good for consumers, who will see more regular feature updates to the software that they're using, but it doesn't bode so well for enterprise customers.
Fast release cycles typically hurt the enterprise as IT administrators need time to test updates before deploying them to vast networks. Some analysts believe the solution to this problem would be to split up the release cycle to cater for both consumers - who prefer shorter release cycles - and enterprise customers. Michael Silver of Gartner said this about the fast release cycle:
...any time Microsoft picks up the pace, it causes an issue with enterprises. What Microsoft needs to do is to move to different cycles for consumer versus enterprise, since a faster pace has mostly consumer repercussions.
Another analyst interviewed by PCWorld, Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy, agreed that the long release cycle should stay for the enterprise:
I think Microsoft would attempt to limit this [accelerated schedule] by disconnecting the cadence. They'll provide faster upgrades for consumers, and treat upgrades for enterprises as they do today
While Moorhead said that the fast release cycle would be beneficial to consumers, allowing Microsoft to regain some of the edge it's lost to Apple, he doesn't believe that they will be able to triple the speed of Windows upgrades. "I doubt that they can pull it off at first," Moorhead said. "Microsoft is a commercial company, not a consumer company."
As details of Windows "Blue" are only just rolling in, nothing has been said (or confirmed by Microsoft) over what will happen to enterprise customers with this new, and supposedly more rapid release cycle.