Is Microsoft brewing a Win8, WinPho code merge?
Mobile chief now straddles both OS dev teams
Microsoft’s Windows Phone chief Andy Lees has been given a new role, leading a stealth project straddling Windows Phone and Windows 8.
Lees, who’d served as president of Microsoft’s Windows Phone division, has been set to work on what CEO Steve Ballmer called a “time-critical opportunity focused on driving maximum impact in 2012 with Windows Phone and Windows 8”.
Microsoft’s chief executive didn’t provide any details in announcing the news, here, but said simply: “We have tremendous potential with Windows Phone and Windows 8, and this move sets us up to really deliver against that potential.”
Taking over as head of Windows Phone is Terry Myerson, who worked with Lees on Windows Phone 7 and 7.5. Lees has been with Microsoft since 1990 and prior to phones, he’d served as corporate vice-president of Microsoft's server and tools marketing and solutions group.
He moved over to mobiles when the entertainment and devices group was shaken up in May 2010 and its head, president Robbie Bach, went as part of restructuring. Entertainment and devices was home to Xbox and Windows Phone; now they are separate operations with their own presidents.
Microsoft watcher Mary-Jo Foley notes there are rumours of a project to switch out the Windows Phone kernel and use Windows 8 instead. As she correctly points out, what’s debatable is what exactly is meant when you say “Windows 8” because you couldn’t and wouldn’t want to fit a general purpose PC operating system core into a phone.
The rumours seem to focus on the next version of Windows Phone, codenamed Apollo. Although Nokia has said mid-2012 for Apollo, that date’s also been shot down. Windows 8, meanwhile, is due in 2012 with a beta in February.
Whatever Ballmer has in mind for Lees he’ll need to move quickly. So far, Windows Phone has not lifted Microsoft’s mobile market share. According to Gartner, Windows Phone dropped to 1.5 per cent market share in the third quarter – down from 2.7 a year ago.
Heavy marketing from Microsoft and Nokia to push the new Lumia devices should mean an improvement in the fourth quarter but, as Gartner noted, “a true turnaround won't take place until the second half of 2012”. ®
unfixable due to Microsoft lockin attempts
Yes, it's a Windows problem that Win8 hasn't solved. iOS and to a lesser extent Android take a desktop (capable) OS and streamline it for different hardware. It's not a full PC OS only because it's not running on full PC hardware, rather than any artificial constraints.
The base OSes both are built on are modular enough that shrinking the OS is both easy and actually shrinks the OS footprint.
The Windows problem is the OS is so infested with dependencies that they dont know how to remove any component safely, Microsoft recently admitted spending months just trying to map them. They can remove function but can't actually remove much footprint and still trust the OS to work. This is more than just poor design, Microsoft policy of binding user space programs (Internet Explorer is the classic one) into the system layers just came back to bite them. A policy designed to encourage user lock in has just locked Microsoft into it's own messy past!
We've heard all this before. Was it WP6? I really don't care enough to remember.
Like Linux, it would be perfectly possible for them to come up with a Kernel that can run on anything from a writswatch to a supercomputer. But they won't.
Like Linux they could then install different types of user experience on top of that, for different types of Appliance. But they won't.
They won't because they can't break the legacy link, unless they are going to give us all a free XP VM to run legacy programmes.
"As she correctly points out, what’s debatable is what exactly is meant when you say “Windows 8” because you couldn’t and wouldn’t want to fit a general purpose PC operating system core into a phone."
Modern phones are much more powerful than desktops from years ago and people had no trouble sticking a "general purpose PC operating system core" on them. Perhaps the problem is Windows 8.
In the past, MS have always excused their bloat by saying that each new version of Windows is pitched at "modern hardware". There is a delicious irony in the market making a quantum jump to smaller devices and Microsoft suddenly finding that only "old" hardware is big enough to run their bloated OS.