Windows 8.1 confirmed

Formerly code-named "Blue," first major update to Microsoft's latest OS will be introduced later this year.

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The Windows Blue update is now officially called Windows 8.1, Microsoft executive Tami Reller revealed this week at the JP Morgan Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference in Boston.

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The free update will be available to Windows 8 users through the Windows Store when it launches sometime later this year.

GameSpot sister site CNET attended the event, where Reller said Microsoft has updated the operating system 739 times since launch in October, but Windows 8.1 will represent a broader overhaul.

"This is more substantial than what we can deliver in those weekly updates," Reller said.

Windows 8.1 is rumored to mark the return of the Windows Start button and a boot-to-desktop option, which will allow users to bypass the Windows 8 Metro interface altogether.

Reller did not discuss any details at the conference, instead opting to discuss the company's "principled but not stubborn" approach.

"You need to have a vision. You need to have a point of view," Reller said. "And you need to consistently deliver on that. You're also consistently listening, learning, and becoming smarter."

Windows 8 launched in late October and has sold more than 100 million licenses to date. CNET found that the operating system "embraces the future wholeheartedly," but said the learning curve was "steep" and in-app navigation can be difficult.

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