While this has been a hunch for a while among the Windows enthusiast community, a new leak seems to be further providing somewhat solidifying evidence that it could indeed be the case, that Microsoft's next-gen OS, casually referred to as Windows 12, could be a subscription-based OS.
German media outlet Deskmodder spotted several such subscription-related entries in the INI configuration file of the Canary channel build when it was compared with the Windows 11 23H2 Release Preview build using WinMerge. You can view them in the image below.
The entries are in German so here is an English-translated version of the subscription-related entries on the Canary side:
Subscription Edition – (L_MsgSubscriptionEdition)
Subscription Type – L_MsgSubscriptionType (as “Device-Based Subscription” or “User-Based Subscription”)
And the subscription status – L_MsgSubscriptionStatus (Active, Inactive, Deactivated, Expired
Back in January, when Microsoft had, for the first time, teased the next generation of Windows 11 and Windows 12 (or Next Valley), the company talked about how AI would shape the future of Windows. Some of those features like Copliot are now available in preview and so far it is fair to say it has been a mixed experience for users since the feature has already been seen serving third-party ads.
Other than AI, Microsoft is also gradually making it clear how it hopes to move Windows, or at least a major chunk of it, to the web. Back in March, Cloud PC options began to appear inside Settings. Following that, more Cloud PC-related leaks started popping up.
A separate report suggested that Microsoft was working on something called "CorePC" for the next Windows version. Finally, an FTC filing revealed how Microsoft was apparently working internally to "move Windows 11 increasingly to the cloud".
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