Microsoft is reportedly already working on its next major operating system, less than a year after it released Windows 8.1.

The company is said to be planning to launch a preview version of its upcoming OS (currently code named "Threshold") in late September or early October. 

According to a report from ZDNet, the "technology preview" shows Microsoft's direction in terms of serviceability, since it would require people who download the new software to agree to automatic monthly updates. The preview is expected to have no restrictions in terms of participation, and it will be available to anyone who's interested. 

The report pointed out that there were three "milestones" before Microsoft released Windows 8, and there is a chance that the company would duplicate that process for Threshold. The first milestone was the release of a developer preview on September 13, 2011. This was followed by a consumer preview on February 29, 2012. Finally, the OS was released to manufacturing on August 1, 2012. 

"These days, Microsoft's operating system team is on a more rapid release schedule, so I'd think there won't be five or six months between any Threshold milestone builds Microsoft plans to make available externally," the report read.

"I had heard previously from my contacts that Microsoft was aiming to deliver a public preview of Threshold available to anyone interested toward the end of calendar 2014. I'm not sure if there's still a plan to make a public consumer preview available at that time or if this "technical preview" is the only "preview" Microsoft will release before Threshold is released to manufacturing."

The Threshold OS is expected to be christened as "Windows 9" by the time it gets released in the spring of 2015. Microsoft first previewed the operating system during its Build Developer Conference last April in San Francisco. The software will reportedly be sold in three different modes- tablet, smartphone and desktop. 

The OS has been the subject of numerous leaks, the most significant of which is the possible return of the Start Menu, which was taken out of Windows 8 and 8.1. Other rumors include the integration of personal digital assistant tool Cortana, the elimination of hidden sidebar navigation buttons and compatibility with apps from the Windows Store. 

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