Microsoft will end its Windows 10 operating system.
Microsoft development executive Jerry Nixon said in a conference speech this week that Windows 10 will be the "last version" of the dominant desktop software.
The firm said instead of new stand-alone versions, Windows 10 would be improved in regular instalments.
Mr Nixon made his comments during Microsoft's Ignite conference held in Chicago this week.
In a statement Microsoft said: "Windows will be delivered as a service bringing new innovations and updates in an ongoing manner." It added that it expected there to be a "long future" for Windows.
The company said it was yet to decide on what to call the operating system beyond Windows 10.
A research vice-president at analyst firm Gartner, Steve Kleynhans said: "There will be no Windows 11."
Kelynhans said Microsoft had deliberately avoided using the name "Windows 9" in the past and instead chose Windows 10 as a way to signify a break with a past which involved successive stand-alone versions of the operating system.
He said however that working in that way had created many problems for Microsoft and its customers.
He said: "Every three years or so Microsoft would sit down and create 'the next great OS'.
"The developers would be locked away and out would pop a product based on what the world wanted three years ago."
Mr Kleyhans pointed out that most of the revenue generated by Windows for Microsoft came from sales of new PCs and this was unlikely to be affected by the change.
He said: "Overall this is a positive step, but it does have some risks.
"Microsoft will have to work hard to keep generating updates and new features, he said, adding that questions still remained about how corporate customers would adapt to the change and how Microsoft would provide support.
"It doesn't mean that Windows is frozen and will never move forward again."
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