"I am skeptical Microsoft can fundamentally accelerate innovation, because they are not wired to do that," Moorhead told us. "Microsoft is a commercial company first and a consumer company second, and commercial interests move much slower than consumer innovation."
"In many ways, Microsoft's hand is being forced, as Apple has really emphasized this idea of annual releases for first their mobile, and now their desktop, OS," says Miller. "These changes have to be carefully considered, though -- as even Apple makes these releases more iterative, and less 'revolutionary,' where we are used to the opposite from Microsoft; consider the changes between Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, and 8."
On the plus side, frequent and incremental changes could make new Windows releases more palatable to the notoriously gun shy enterprise crowd. Big companies are very hesitant to make major changes. Many only recently switched to Windows 7 recently, many more still utilize Windows XP, and very few I.T. managers have plans to implement Windows 8 anytime soon.
Windows Blue: A boon or bane for developers?
Since Microsoft maintains tight control over its core ecosystem, moving to more frequent OS updates shouldn't cause the same fragmentation woes that plague the overall Android experience. In fact, reports (however murky) say that Windows Blue will introduce an SDK that either merges or standardizes software development for Windows desktop and Windows Phone 8. All current-gen Windows devices already share a common kernel core to streamline cross-platform development. Theoretically, the Windows Blue SDK will bind Windows Phones, tablet and PCs even more tightly together, and the rumors say modern-style Windows 8 apps will continue to work just fine on Windows Blue.
"I think it is crucially important that Microsoft aligns the SDKs and platforms for Windows Phone and Windows," Miller says. "I think the dissonance between the Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8, and Windows RT platforms aren't helping developers to make great apps. Unification, or at least closer alignment, could really help build a stronger application story and make it easier for developers." Enderle echoes the sentiment.
In theory, introducing a standardized SDK should make it easier to create a Modern-style app that translates easily across the various hardware form factors Windows supports. That could potentially be a major boon for Microsoft, which has had trouble swaying developers to the Windows Store and the Windows Phone Store. Both app marketplaces offer far, far, far fewer apps than iOS or Android.
The analysts warn that Microsoft will need to tread the introduction of a new SDK very carefully, however.