As well as Microsoft CFO Tami Reller revealing that the company has sold 100 million Windows 8 licences, she has given a bit of insight into Windows Blue after Microsoft publicly acknowledged the existence of Blue in late March. First and foremost, Reller calls Windows Blue "a codename for an update" to Windows 8 that will "be available later this year", and expands on this to say Microsoft is taking the opportunity "to respond to the customer feedback that weve been closely listening to" since Windows 8 launched.
When pressed on the matter of new features by The Verge and ZDNet, Reller wouldnt specifically say whether rumored features such as the Start button would be seen in Blue, although she said:
We have heard [people crying for the Start button], we definitely have heard that and taken that into account. Weve really also tried to understand what people are really asking for when theyre asking for that. [...] I would say weve looked at a broad set of options as weve made decisions on where we take the product going forward
Reller mentioned that Blue will optimize Windows for small screens and small form factors, such as 7- and 8-inch tablets, however she mentioned that well likely see these devices come to the market before Blue is released. As Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet says, though, a number of pressing topics werent addressed by Reller, including whether "Blue" would be known as Windows 8.1, whether there will be a preview version of Blue ahead of the release, or whether Blue is the start of a yearly release cycle.
Although she didnt address these areas, leaked builds of Windows Blue seem to indicate it will be called "Windows 8.1", and that there will be a "Preview" of the update available. So far we havent seen either the Start button or boot-to-desktop features turn up fully in leaked builds, although they are expected to be included in the final build.
Surprisingly she did mention that Microsoft will reveal the pricing, packaging and go-to-market details surrounding Windows Blue in "the next couple of weeks", which is before major trade shows including Microsofts BUILD and TechEd shows. This will give eager Windows Blue followers something to look out for soon, apart from more leaks which have no signs of slowing down.