On the Threshold of Windows 9: Preview said to arrive late September

“Threshold” is the code name of the next version of Windows, and according to a report today by Mary Jo Foley, it’s coming soon. Mary Jo reports that according to her multiple sources, the new OS will enter a public Technology Preview in late September, with a final version to be released in the spring of 2015. The new OS will build upon Windows 8, but is said to include a “mini-Start menu”, the end of the “Charms bar”, the ability to run Metro/Modern apps in windows on the desktop, Cortana integration, and virtual desktops.

According to Foley, the technology preview will require users to opt in to monthly automatic updates to the OS, and at least according to one source, will be available as a public preview “to all those interested”.

Microsoft, especially under new CEO Satya Nadella, is making a big deal about moving faster, and readying a new OS less than a year after Windows 8.1 was released seems to fit that bill. While not quite reaching “Vista” status, Windows 8 / 8.1 is being portrayed more and more as a failure, and a makeover makes some sense.

We’ve still yet to see Microsoft move as fast in other areas, new mantra or not. Skype still remains the same mess it’s been since shortly after Microsoft acquired it, and the Skype/Lync/Yammer confusion remains as murky as ever. We’re also yet to see a Metro/Modern version of Office, some three years after the launch of Windows 8. Microsoft has been making some progress with Xbox Music, but it’s still lacking basic features, and the pace of innovation seems glacial.

While the code name “Threshold” doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence that Windows will be ready to offer a unified operating system between mobile, tablets, and PCs (are we there yet, or only on the “threshold”?), the rapid release of the new preview and a stated goal of unifying the application model for a full range of form factors is at least getting us closer to the goal.

Is “Threshold” the Windows you’ve been waiting for? Are you excited for a new OS? What’s still missing for you from Microsoft?