Ballmer wants a new Windows every year -

The shy and retiring Microsoft CEO Steve "there's a kind of hush" Ballmer is taking his cunning plan of copying Apple to another level of absurdity.

Seeing how Apple can make a bob or two by releasing an operating system every five minutes, Steve has decided "I'll be having some of that".

According to ExtremeTech Vole has a project at Microsoft codenamed Blue, as in Blue Screen of Death, or Movie. For a while people thought that this was Windows 9, or some kind of interim update/service pack for Windows 8.

But it turns out that this project is part of a cunning plan to release a new version of Windows every year.

Blue will roll out mid-2013, and it will be cheap as chips, or even free.

Blue will make "UI changes" to Windows 8 and will mean that the desktop and Phone 8 SDKs will be merged, to further simplify the development of cross-platform apps.

When that happens the Windows Store will no longer accept apps that are designed specifically for Windows 8 and developers will be forced to create a single Metro app that works on both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

Windows 8 will keep its name too. This mimics Apple's idea to change the OS X name as often as Steve Jobs changed his dress style.

Historically, Vole has released a major version of Windows every few years and had things like stability and security-oriented service packs in the interim.

Moving to a yearly roll out could mean that it keeps consumers interested. The quicker releases will allow Microsoft to better compete with Apple and Google, but it does seem a strange plan given that Microsoft tends to run serious operating systems for business.

Businesses are slow to upgrade at the best of times and the prospect of having to roll out a new one every year seems unlikely. It might be that following the attention span of consumers will be Vole's undoing.