We recently heard that Microsoft is currently in the process of adding the ability to pin Modern UI apps to the taskbar in an upcoming update for Windows 8.1. This is great, as it lays the foundations toward a tighter integration between the Modern UI and Desktop. We're hearing about even more tie-ins with the desktop in Windows 9, but don't be expecting too much.
According to Paul Thurrott, Windows 9 will act much like Windows 8.1 in retrospect to Windows 8. Windows 8.1 was a large update for Windows 8, but hasn't fundamentally changed the operating system, and as Microsoft only has around a year to develop Windows 9, it seems likely that Windows 9 will again not fundamentally change the OS.
"I was told not to expect much from Windows 9 and that it would be similar to Window 8.1 in scope. Fundamental changes are not coming"
Sure, you can still expect to see a Mini Start Menu and the ability to run Modern UI apps on the desktop, but apart from that we're not really going to see any major changes. This is most likely disappointing news for many, and confusing too. Why would Microsoft name their next product Windows 9 if it's not going to be a major version? Well, we can only assume it's to do with marketing. Windows 8 as a brand has failed, so Microsoft has no other option but to label their next update Windows 9, regardless of what it features. It'll still be marketed as their next 'major' OS.
Of course, until we've got concrete information, we can only class this as a rumor. Microsoft is expected to talk publicly about their plans with Windows 9 at their annual BUILD conference in April, where we're also expecting the launch of Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update 1.