Paul Thurrot recently shared some of what he's been hearing about the next big Windows release — codename "Threshold".

Some interesting stuff about "Metro 2.0", and the first major "vision" announcement since Longhorn, but the bit I found most interesting was;

Windows 9. To distance itself from the Windows 8 debacle, Microsoft is currently planning to drop the Windows 8 name and brand this next release as Windows 9. That could change, but that's the current thinking.

This strikes me as a dangerously bad idea. So much that I just can't believe that it might happen.

Firstly, a big difference between an '8 to 9' upgrade and an update/service pack is the price. If the tainted 'Windows 8' brand is ditched, will it still be free, as previously reported? Seems like something that would be very likely for a point release, but would be setting a revolutionary precedent for Microsoft. (Unless they were to move to a 'free software, paid support' model – consumers get to run the latest version for free, businesses pay for ongoing support etc?)

But the bigger issue – is this really addressing the problem? Microsft had a problem with Vista, which it addressed by making Windows 7 a significant improvement. If Windows 9 does turn out to be a rebadged Windows 8.1, then it risks turning the "Windows 8" problem into a "Windows" problem.

And, if the future of the Windows device really is something more like the Surface than the traditional laptop form factor, that becomes a big problem.

My Windows Weekly cohost Mary Jo Foley notes that Update 1 will be tied, schedule-wise to Windows Phone 8.1 and that both releases are a step towards that future when Windows and Phone are combined.

Lots of marketing moves that make total sense. My worry is whether the company that didn't see the problems they had with Windows 8 before they released it will be able to fix them for the next release and restore the confidence of PC buyers.

Its not like the people selling PCs have enought to worry about. Even Intel looks like its hedging its bets.