We've heard a lot of rumours about Windows Blue being Microsoft's attempt to update all its services and products in one go, instead of updating each product one by one. But if a report by ZDNet is to be believed, updates to the Windows Mail, Games, Music and Calendar apps for Windows 8 and Windows RT will start seeding as early as this month.

Microsoft officials are tight-lipped about the updates, but word is that Microsoft is currently beta testing the updated apps through a dogfooding exercise with its employees. The updated versions are expected to be pushed out through the Windows Store.

Windows Blue updates are likely to bring new versions of Internet Explorer, Bing and other apps, as well as kernel and driver updates to help improve the Windows experience for the end user. It is akin to a firmware update.

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Updates could be issued for core apps before Windows Blue is launched

Microsoft made certain changes to Windows 8's core first-party apps such as Xbox Music and Games between August 2012—when RTM versions of the new OS were released—and October 2012, when Windows 8 went on sale. Minor refreshes have been trickling down since the launch, but user response has been lukewarm towards apps like Xbox Music and Mail even though they are free.

It is well-known that “Blue” is the codename for Microsoft's next development cycle. It is rumoured that apart from refreshing the OS itself, Blue will bring changes to a number of other Microsoft products when it is released. It will also bring updates under one umbrella for seamless delivery to end users. Microsoft hopes that Windows Blue will give it a competitive edge over rivals Apple and Google, or at least bring the company’s software update process on par with the rest.

To reduce fragmentation of apps, Microsoft could aim to make Windows Blue the overarching OS, allowing the company greater control over pricing, updates and piracy. Once Blue is officially in the market, the Windows SDK might be updated and developers could have to stop developing specifically for either the mobile or PC platforms. In such a scenario, they would instead be encouraged to create apps for Windows Blue, and these apps would be reflected in the Windows Phone Marketplace or the Windows Store.

Microsoft is expected to make the Blue upgrade available only to PCs running a genuine copy of Windows. It is rumoured that core apps and the Windows Store itself will stop functioning if a Blue upgrade is sideloaded or force-installed on a device running a pirated copy of Windows.

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