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Microsoft is betting the farm on AI apathy not hitting before it makes a return on its investments. This is positive and negative news for PC makers and points to what might be Microsoft's next major Windows release. Windows 11 continues to be a less-than-stellar success for Microsoft. The most recent set of figures it reported were uninspiring. Despite a looming end of support for Windows 10 - although customers can pay for an extension - the OS remains dominant, and Windows 11 trails behind its predecessor in terms of installations at the same point in its lifecycle. One reason for this could be Windows 11's hardware requirements, which mean that decent spec PCs are incapable of running it. Microsoft and OEMs' clearly hoped affected customers would buy new computers to make the upgrade – but instead many have chosen to stick with Windows 10. At this point, it is difficult to see Windows 11 as much more than a self-inflicted wound. Microsoft alienated customers and, in an attempt to force a hardware refresh, ended up further fracturing the Wintel alliance. The tragedy here is that there's nothing particularly wrong with Windows 11. Yet the threat of artificially high hardware requirements won't go away. So, how do Microsoft and its hardware partners move on from here? Redmond HQ hopes that where the stick of Windows 11 hardware requirements failed, the carrot of AI-enabled PCs might win the day. Companies including HP and Lenovo are working on machines dubbed "AI PCs" but remain tightlipped on the specifics. Then there is the specter of Arm, which continues to nibble at the PC marketplace formerly dominated by Intel. In October, Nvidia was said to be developing an Arm-based CPU for the PC market – one specifically designed to run on Windows. This is despite Microsoft's past attempts that left customers yearning for more conventional hardware. Ask us about the Project Volterra box – complete with Neural Processing Unit and "purpose-built with everything you need to develop, debug, and test native Windows apps for Arm" – that we'll have at Vulture Central one day. All of this gives us some clues about what Microsoft might – or might not – do with Windows 12. The consensus seems to be that Windows 12 will arrive sometime next year. Microsoft's hardware partners are expecting it. And some might see it as a savior, given the relatively low uptake of Windows 11. As for when it will happen, history teaches us that the update will likely reach users around October 2024. Reports have emerged of Windows 11 24H2 being sighted in logs, which would seem to confirm this – Windows 11 itself initially showed up as a "Windows 10" build. Other factors to consider regarding the timing is that Microsoft has said it will ship a version of Windows 11 in March 2024, shorn of Edge and Bing for European users. The next major release of Windows in 2024 would, therefore, turn up towards the end of the year. What would be in this release? For one, Microsoft needs to crack Windows on Arm as manufacturers want to build hardware using Qualcomm's new Snapdragon X Elite – Apple has ably demonstrated that it is possible to move on from Intel-based chips, however, some serious work is needed in Windows to fully take advantage of the new hardware. For more please visit OUR FORUM.