Every few weeks, we seem to hear a little something new about Microsoft’s Threshold initiative, a plan the company is looking to roll out in order to unify its various Windows platforms into a more singular experience across its many devices. And yesterday, a blog called MSFTnerd offered up a post that purports to have some details about the forthcoming Threshold roll-out: apparently, the first bits and pieces will actually get going in the first quarter of 2014.

So what will that first stage in Threshold entail according to this post? According to the post, it’ll include updates to Windows 8.1 on PCs, along with Windows Phone 8.1 and Xbox OS updates. All those updates will bring the user interface experiences more in line with each other. Moreover, this initiative will also supposedly mean that apps bought on one device will be available to run on all devices. The post also offers up some more potential details:

“There’ll also be some PC & Xbox games that will only work on some PCs & the Xbox One. If they buy a Windows device, they’ll get free Microsoft services & apps for a y ear. If they buy Microsoft apps & services on other platforms, they’ll get a discount on Microsoft devices. It’s all supposed to be that simple.”

All of this, the post helpfully points out, is “based on a heavy dose of speculative information by Microsoft employees who are not directly involved in program management on these products and the boatload of semi-accurate rumors that are out there already.” So it’s important to note that this is pretty far from the “confirmed” category, and could be eyed relatively skeptically in general. But it would seem to jibe logically with what we’ve heard of Threshold before.

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Simply put, Microsoft should be making an effort to streamline and unify its Windows experiences across all platforms. One of Apple’s biggest advantages over its competitors is that it’s the exclusive maker of its hardware and its software. All of it is designed to work together from the ground up. Microsoft (and, to a lesser extent, Google’s Android OS) have failed to produce such slick user experiences in recent years. The fact that Windows 8 itself isn’t everything Microsoft had hoped it would be doesn’t help matters. If the company can actually start giving users a similar experience across all of its platforms, that’ll go a long way to getting and keeping happy users.

Hopefully we’ll all find ourselves brought to the Windows Threshold early next year. Stay tuned for more drips and drabs about this initiative in the next few months.


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