As previously reported, Microsoft will introduce modular OS updates with Windows Vista's Anytime Upgrade—a new service which will allow users to upgrade Vista on the fly and unlock additional functionality. Anytime Upgrade is a big part of Microsoft's plans for Vista. The company hopes that modular updates will help to create more sales opportunities as the company rethinks its approach to developing new operating systems. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has even hinted that the future of Windows may rely more on modular updates and less on gigantic milestone releases.
Thus it's no surprise that Microsoft has sought a patent for their approach. Titled "System and method for delivery of a modular operating system," the business method patent describes an OS where add-on modules can be used to provide additional capabilities at the discretion of the vendor, just like Anytime Upgrade will.