Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during this week's earnings call that the next version of Windows will "streamline" from three operating systems -- Windows, Windows RT, and Windows Phone -- "into a single, converged [OS] for screens of all sizes." He also detailed Microsoft's scaled-down device strategy, including its integration of Nokia, a subject Nadella had previously broached in only the broadest terms.
Windows 8 earned its reputation as a flop largely because it threw a hodgepodge of interfaces at users. Microsoft's Surface tablets, meanwhile, remain a controversial and money-losing experiment (though, to give credit where it's due, company execs say the newly-released Pro 3 is outselling earlier models). Microsoft also just laid off half the workers who joined in the $7 billion Nokia merger. Given the somewhat chaotic context surrounding Microsoft's OS and device strategies, it's worth exploring what exactly Nadella plans to change.
Regarding the next version of Windows -- which is codenamed Threshold and likely will hit the market as Windows 9 -- Nadella wasn't talking about a single UI that magically scales across devices. There won't be a desktop on your phone, and it's unlikely that touch-oriented Live Tiles will appear by default when Threshold loads on PCs and laptops.
When Nadella says Microsoft is making "one" Windows, he still means there will be different versions for different device types and different groups of users. If that sounds confusing, here's Nadella's more nuanced description of the transition: "We will unify our stores, commerce, and developer platforms to drive a more coherent user experience and a broader developer opportunity."
The article continues on EE Times' sister site, Information Week.