In light of Windows 8's failure to achieve Microsoft's "Windows everywhere" vision, the company may be eager to get a fresh start. Frequent Windows leaker Wzor claims that we could see a new version of Windows, possibly called Windows 9, at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference this week, and that the new version will ship in the fall of this year.
The new information comes from a post on RU-Board (in Russian). BetaNews has posted a translation of the post here. If the information is accurate, the return of the Start menu will be a major feature of Windows 9, and Microsoft will trumpet its return in an accompanying advertising campaign. As for Windows 8.1, Wzor claims that the OS will receive one more major update, "Update 2," before it's relegated to security and bug-fix updates only.
While we have to treat any rumor like this with the appropriate skepticism, the details fit with CEO Satya Nadella's goal of "obsessing over [Microsoft's] customers." If users want the Start button and menu back, then it stands to reason that such a demand would shape future Windows development. Making the return of the Start menu the sole highlight of the next version of Windows would have to sting, though, given the company's ambitions for Windows 8's Modern UI. We should also see the Start menu return in a Windows 8.1 update, possibly lessening the impact of such a change in a new Windows version. Hopefully, there's more to Windows 9 than this rumor implies.