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Rumors are flying about Microsoft's plans to reveal its newest operating system (OS) —Windows 9 — at its annual Build conference in April. The speculation comes just in advance of ticket sales for Build 2014, which runs April 2 through 4 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

For a while now, we have been hearing about Project Threshold, Microsoft's rapid update development of its OS. The expectation now is that Threshold will be renamed Windows 9, rather than a further Windows 8.x update.

What will Windows 9 offer that's new and exciting enough to get the user-base upgrading again? For CIOs and content creators, will it be just another fragmented headache? And can Microsoft address the demands of an increasingly frustrated partner base that continues to see sales shrink? 

Building the Next Windows

It doesn't seem like it, thanks to the continued hardware launches, rolling hype and effective relaunch with Windows 8.1. But Windows 8 has been officially available for some 16 months and playable in various betas/previews for more than two years. 

At its upcoming Build conference, Microsoft is likely to keep the rapid-fire tempo going with an official unveiling of what we have known to date as Threshold. The project will be renamed Windows 9, according to well-placed rumors, with a launch slated for April 2015 — in time for Windows' 30th anniversary.

There is a chance the preview of Windows 9 could be available for the launch of the Surface 3 and Surface Mini tablets. Changing the name of the OS could help Microsoft move past the mixed reaction to Windows 8 and provide a clean platform for a relaunch.

Developers and content creators will be keen to see if Windows 9 expands the opportunities to push their apps and information to users in an easier or evolved manner beyond increasingly confused Marketplaces and app/site/stream hybrids. 

Registration for Build 2014 begins tomorrow at 9 a.m. PST. Despite the cost — tickets are $2,095, the same price as last year — the event is likely to sell out within a day.

Is Windows Digging Out or Into Trouble?

Windows 8 was revealed at Build 2011, wowing the world with its appearance on ARM-based tablets and desktops. Since then, things have spiralled downhill as hardware sales declined and OS adoption failed to match expectations. Microsoft took several retrograde steps with Windows 8.1, reintroducing a start button and allowing the OS to boot to Windows desktop.