If you're doing a double take at the title, I'd check it again a third time just to make sure you aren't seeing things. As of yesterday, Microsoft confirmed that the next version of Windows, more than likely Windows 9, will combine Windows, the Windows Phone, and the Xbox operating systems. If you all remember correctly, Microsoft took steps similar to this back when they started making Universal Windows Apps for all three platforms to run on. However, it is still not confirmed whether or not this will be just one Windows system for them all to run on, or if it will be a "jack of all trades" flop similar to Windows 8. If it were to be just one Windows operating system, Microsoft would have to keep up with the fast changes in the personal computer environment in order to stay relevant with everything.
This statement about combining all three major Windows operating systems came about during one of Microsoft's meetings for quarterly earnings. CEO Staya Nadella was able to confirm for all of us that “We will streamline the next version of Windows from three operating systems into one single converged operating system for screens of all sizes.” It is presumed that Staya is talking about Windows 9 in this statement, which is set for release in Spring of next year. Another rumor is that this could be Windows 8.2, with Windows 9 coming in late 2015 or early 2016. Staya also mentioned that there is going to be just one engineering team, and that they are wanting to take the approach to this as "one big ecosystem." He also stated that "there’ll still be segmentation by SKU; you’re not going to buy a single copy of Windows that you can install on your laptop, smartphone, and game console."
Ever since Windows chief Steve Sinosky was fired last year, Microsoft has managed to turn a lot of things around and has made several changes since then. One of their first things on their to do list was to combine the Windows 8 and the Windows 8 phone app stores, which they did successfully, as well as make the Universal Windows Apps, which allow a developer to write one app for all three platforms to share and use. Last week Microsoft merged the Windows and Windows phone developer tools. All of these changes have come full circle for one of the biggest companies in the nation, and Microsoft is simply just looking ahead at to what they can do for Windows 9.
No matter how Microsoft goes about combining all three of the operating systems, they must live up to their promises. With combining all three, they must make it to where the user experience is beyond the expectations and that developers can use Windows on all platforms with ease, as well as making sure that all screen sizes and systems can handle it. With all of the promises about a "new vision and direction from Microsoft", the only path that's left to take will be the risky one. But, one question still remains; How far can Microsoft actually go with this project? There are three different variations of the Metro interface, so maybe this will finally give some standardization and stability with combining all three together. It's hard to say and or predict what the outcome of Microsoft's decision is, but keep in mind that with ever action, there is a consequence.
What are your thoughts on Microsoft's decision? Will they sink, or will they be stuck upstream without a paddle, similar to what they were last year?