Feeds

Microsoft rolls out One Big Windows strategy

Phone, tablet, smartphone united?

The Power of One Infographic

Is Microsoft preparing one Windows operating system for PCs, tablets, and smartphones?

Reading between the lines of what Microsoft execs told 15,000 of the company's partners during their annual conference event this week, it appears that a unified Windows is indeed on the way. But it's unclear how far it will go. The company is likely preparing a common operating system "core" that will allow developers to build applications across multiple devices.

This week, All-About-Microsoft's Mary-Jo Foley pointed to mobile group chief Andy Lees, who spoke at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) about bringing together different devices "into a unified ecosystem." Lees said:

At the core of the device itself it's possible to be common across phones, PCs, and TVs, and even other things, because the price drops dramatically. Then it will be a single ecosystem. We won't have an ecosystem for PCs, and an ecosystem for phones, one for tablets. They'll all come together. And just look at the opportunity here.

A day later, chief operating officer Kevin Turner said something similar: "Our future at Microsoft is the ability to unify the ecosystems and the user experiences. It's the ability to enhance those ecosystems with great cloud services," Turner said. Then he added:

So, when you think about the next release of Windows running across x86, ARM, system-on-a-chip, the opportunity to put Windows with an OS that is scalable across those platforms exists in a new and profound way. And where we go in the future of unifying these ecosystems is certainly going to be an exciting ride, but a big, big step forward is about to get made with Windows 8, and this is really important for you to understand.

Turner punctuated his comments with a nod to Apple. Apple has five platforms – iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac and Apple TV – that run either Mac OS or iOS, and there has been talk of unifying the two operating systems. "It's your guess as good as mine on whether they'll ever unify Mac and iOS," Turner said.

According to a piece in This is My Next, Lees' words confirm what other sources have said. "Microsoft is planning to somehow harmonize not only Windows for PCs and Windows Phone, but also the Xbox operating system sometime within the next four years," the site said "That would mean Microsoft's next next OS will run on PCs, tablets, phones, and the next-gen Xbox when it hits sometime in 2015 / 2016."

When Microsoft talks of the "ecosystem", it's describing many things, from those making the hardware that runs Windows and ISVs who build Windows apps to those supporting and integrating Windows. It's a term that Microsoft also uses to describe the developer tools around Windows and the plug-in providers around the developer tools.

Microsoft wants to allow application developers in this ecosystem to write their apps and have them run on as many different devices as possible. It wants to unify the partner ecosystem. It doesn't want some ISVs writing apps for one class of device, like a PC, and other ISVs writing apps for another, like a tablet.

Enter Windows 8. It will straddle two form factors: PC and tablet. Microsoft is planning a new application programming model for Windows 8 codenamed Jupiter, with an XAML/UI layer on top of Windows APIs and frameworks. According to MJF: "The idea is Jupiter will bring support for smoother and more fluid animation, rich typography, and new media capabilities to Windows 8 devices."

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?
Google's app permissions far too lax – security firm survey
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
OpenWRT gets native IPv6 slurping in major refresh
Also faster init and a new packages system
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.