Microsoft has made an announcement that should make owners and users of 3D printers very happy. They are including native 3D printing support in their Windows 8.1 release. The update will not only include support to scanners and POS devices, but 3D printers too.
Basically what this means is that they will be including device-specific application programming interfaces, and probably drivers, for 3D printers in the same manner that previous versions of the operating systems supported standard 2D printers.
While adoption of 3D printers is nowhere near the level of standard printers, this shows that Microsoft takes the technology quite seriously and sees it as continuing long into the future. One would assume that 3D printers will work like other printers and be more-or-less plug and play.
It also means that developers will not have to go with 3rd party libraries to develop new applications for the 3D printing devices. This is indeed great news for the 3D printing industry, as the devices have shown a lot of promise in more fields than people had imagined.