Taking that tack, added Moorhead, would give Microsoft a better shot at competing with Apple in the consumer personal computer market. "I think it would be a great idea, because technically speaking Microsoft has lost the edge in desktops. Apple has been rolling out new features over five years ahead of Microsoft."
But Moorhead was more skeptical than Silver that Microsoft could triple the speed of Windows upgrades, at least initially.
"I doubt that they can pull it off at first. Microsoft is a commercial company, not a consumer company," Moorhead said, noting that too many of Microsoft's all-consumer projects have foundered. "I have my doubts based on that history and the commercial history of the company," he added.
But launching an upgrade to Windows 8 in mid-2013 would, Moorhead argued, solve at least one problem for Microsoft's consumer strategy.
"By launching [Windows upgrades] around the holidays, they miss back-to-school, which makes no sense," said Moorhead of the year's other major sales season. "They need to wrap it up in the June time frame to get product in the channel by August."
That, too, would find Microsoft following rival Apple, which has shipped its last two OS X upgrades in July, and the last three in either July or August.
The last time Microsoft relied on two markedly different editions of Windows -- one for consumers, another for businesses -- was in 2000, when it launched the oft-derided Windows Millennium for consumers and Windows 2000 for enterprises. With Windows XP, Microsoft merged those lines into one Windows client for all customers.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.
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