Microsoft Windows 10 might become a cloud based operating system (OS) according to a leaked road-map. The road-map shows that Microsoft will no longer release service packs but instead will release major updates every year which also increases the version number of the OS. The next major improvement should be Windows 9, this should bring back the Aero interface in a new form.
This should also be a version in which Microsoft will merge its ARM CPU based Windows RT platform with Windows Phone. This version of Windows could also be the last version of Windows as we know it.
According to the road-map is Microsoft planning to release Windows 10 with heavy cloud support, something Google is currently doing with ChromeOS. This means that many functionality on the computer no longer requires heavy hardware on the client side, lots of processing could be done on the servers of the cloud service.
Currently Microsoft is embedding their Skydrive cloud service in Windows 8, which is for e.g. Office the preferred option to store documents. For users this has the benefit that documents can be accessed from everywhere.
A cloud based OS has the benefit for Microsoft that it will limit piracy. Many parts of the OS will not run on the local computer but require to access the cloud where the actual software is running from. Benefits for users is that they always have up to date software and that they no longer need fast and expensive hardware. But since the rumors say that Windows 10 might be controlled using eyesight, new hardware might be a requirement to actually use the OS.
The roadmap has been posted on a Russian forum by an user of WZOR, the hacking group that was responsible for leaking Windows 7 RTM, Windows 8 RTM and Windows 8.1 RTM before their official release. The group allegedly has access to Microsoft internals which allows them to release software preliminary, this makes the rumor at least interesting.