Feeds

Microsoft projects aim to rival Chrome OS

Gazelle and Menlo first steps towards a modern browser/OS

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The reorganization of Microsoft's mobile unit disappointed many with its conservatism, putting a division that needs radical thinking more directly under the control of CEO Steve Ballmer, who remains firmly grounded in the traditional Windows business norms.

There was scarcely any mention of the projects that could drag Microsoft's mobile software efforts into the modern web-based world, notably Midori, described as its "first post-Windows OS", and Gazelle, a browser-as-OS development that could rival Google Chrome OS.

Undeterred by their low profile ZDnet's expert Microsoft watcher, Mary Jo Foley, has been checking up on the projects. Gazelle, now renamed ServiceOS, sounds somewhat like Chrome OS, though - true to Windows roots - it has a larger OS layer than Google's full-browser platform. The browser itself is isolated from this OS layer for greater security and becomes the key system for access to web services.

In a recent white paper, two researchers on the project, Helen Wang and Alex Moschuk, wrote: "Existing browsers rely on resource access control and sharing mechanisms built into traditional OSs. Unfortunately, such mechanisms are ill-suited for many complex web services, such as those embedding mash-ups of other web services." ServiceOS, then, builds resource sharing and access control into the heart of the browser, creating a less unwieldy OS. ServiceOS manages many resources from the processor and memory to devices like cameras and network bandwidth.

Earlier in the month, Foley also investigated progress on Midori. Its starting point appears to be a project called Menlo, which will create a version of Windows NT, the underlying system for full Windows, to replace Windows CE, the foundation of Windows Embedded and other cutdown platforms. Menlo has an associated R&D initiative, Experiment 19, which is looking to create a complementary graphics platform. The effort is headed up by Galen Hunt, a senior researcher who also led the firm's Singularity project, which has created a microkernel-based OS. This remains in the labs for now, but is expected to be the basis of Midori, a future system designed to be Microsoft's first 'post-Windows' OS. Midori will be optimized for multicore ARM or x86 processors and mobile devices, say insiders, and offer a "clean break from the existing Windows user interface model" at the presentation layer.

This is unlikely to be commercialized for another couple of years, if ever, but Menlo may be more immediate and targeted at the next release of embedded/mobile OSs at Microsoft. A job posting referred to it as a project "exploring the future of computing when mobiles becomes users' primary PCs".

Copyright © 2010, Wireless Watch

Wireless Watch is published by Rethink Research, a London-based IT publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter delivers in-depth analysis and market research of mobile and wireless for business. Subscription details are here.

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.