Microsoft is looking to reveal Windows 9 at its Build conference in April, leaving the disappointment of Windows 8 behind it as soon as possible, according to a prominent tipster.
Windows 9, currently codenamed 'Threshold', will go on sale a year later, in April 2015, according to the reliable Paul Thurrott.
"To distance itself from the Windows 8 debacle, Microsoft is currently planning to drop the Windows 8 name and brand this next release as Windows 9," Thurrott writes. "That could change, but that's the current thinking."
Development work won't start on the new version until later this spring, but Microsoft is expected to announce new features at Build.
"We have nothing to share at this time," a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement.
Released in 2012, Windows 8 garnered praise for its ambition of bridging desktop and touchscreen computing, but many Windows users found it confusing and it's manifestly failed to stop casual users switching to Android and iPad. PC sales were down by 10 per cent in 2013, according to analysts Gartner and IDC.
What can Microsoft do in Windows 9 to win back trust, like it did with Windows 7 after the shambles of Vista? It's clear it needs to adapt the controversial tiled interface (aka Metro) in some way -- Thurrott reckons Metro 2.0 will feature "a windowed mode that works on the desktop". That should make it easier to access Marketplace apps without leaving desktop mode.
Other rumours for the evolution of Windows include bringing the Xbox One and Windows Phone closer to the full Windows experience, possibly ditching the tablet-only Windows RT along the way.
What would you like to see Windows do next? Can Microsoft win back the customers it lost to other tablet formats? Have your say down in the comments, or over on our constantly evolving Facebook page.
Update 2.30pm: Added (no) comment from Microsoft.