Microsoft CFO Tami Reller also officially confirmed that Windows Blue will be released before the end of the year and that this update will address feedback that the company received about Windows 8:
Brandon LeBlanc: There’s been a lot of speculation about Windows Blue. What can you tell me about it?
Tami Reller: Windows Blue is a codename for an update that will be available later this year, building on the bold vision set forward with Windows 8 to deliver the next generation of tablets and PCs. It will deliver the latest new innovations across an increasingly broad array of form factors of all sizes, display, battery life and performance, while creating new opportunities for our ecosystem. It will provide more options for businesses, and give consumers more options for work and play. The Windows Blue update is also an opportunity for us to respond to the customer feedback that we’ve been closely listening to since the launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT. From a company-wide perspective, Windows Blue is part of a broader effort to advance our devices and services for Microsoft.
The Verge talked to Reller about Windows 8 and got to hear that pricing and more details about Windows Blue will be made public in the next few weeks. Reller did not reveal information about Windows Blue's features, but she did remark that Microsoft has been listening to cries for a Start button.
One of the biggest areas of Windows 8 criticism is related to its use on a non-touch PC and a lack of a traditional Start button and Start menu. "We do have an opportunity with Blue to address some of the feedback that we're seeing from customers and from the market," says Reller. Although Microsoft isn't listing the exact feedback, Reller admits that the company has heard the cries for a Start button. "We have heard that, we definitely have heard that and taken that into account," she explains. "We've really also tried to understand what people are really asking for when they're asking for that."
Reller stopped short of confirming the Start button will return, but sources close to Microsoft's Windows Blue plans have previously revealed the company will include this in the final version. Reller's open approach on Microsoft's plans to act on feedback is a stark contrast to the company's previous efforts under former Windows chief Steven Sinofsky. It appears the company is preparing how to best communicate its upcoming Windows changes in the coming weeks. Reller says Microsoft has also received a lot of feedback from businesses on what they'd like to see in Windows Blue. Microsoft is also believed to be adding an option to boot to desktop in Windows Blue. "I would say we've looked at a broad set of options as we've made decisions on where we take the product going forward, "explains Reller, while not discussing specifics.