The 60-Second Microsoft Roundup: Windows 8.1, Patch Tuesday, and More

Here's what happened in the Redmond campus this week

It's been quite an important week for the tech giant Microsoft, as the two women currently leading the Windows division have finally decided to step in front of the media and confirm the Windows 8.1 project.

According to both Tami Reller and Julie-Larson Green, Windows 8.1 will first hit the market next month in preview form, while the stable build should go live later this year.

In addition, Microsoft confirmed this week that Windows 8.1 will be offered free of charge to Windows 8 users, with all adopters of its new OS to be allowed to download the update from the Windows Store. The public beta will be released on June 26, during the first day of the BUILD developer conference.

Also this week, Microsoft rolled out this month's Patch Tuesday updates, fixing a total of 33 different vulnerabilities in various products across its range, such as Windows, Internet Explorer, and Office.

While both Surface RT and Surface Pro received new firmware updates, the company also patched the zero-day flaw detected in Internet Explorer 8, which allowed hackers to break into a number of computers, including those belonging to US nuclear weapons researchers.

Finally, new rumors on the next-generation Surface tablet emerged a few days ago, suggesting that Microsoft is planning to bring several new tablets to the market, some of which might feature 8-inch displays.

Samsung will be responsible with the manufacturing process of these touchscreen displays, while Pegatron will take care of assembling.

Microsoft hasn't yet issued comments on the new Surface tablet, but rumor has it that the company is pondering a June release for the device, most likely during the same BUILD conference that's going to witness the debut of Windows 8.1.

In the meantime, some experts believe that third-party Start buttons could actually hurt the upcoming Windows release, while Microsoft is still struggling to move users from Windows XP to a newer and more secure operating system.

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