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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, says that Windows 9 will merge Windows Phone, RT, Xbox, and full versions into one operating system (OS) for all devices.

While that makes very good economic and operational sense there has been a very good reason for at least two of those OS – a phone is not a desktop and the hardware is very different. Still If Nadella says it, then it must be possible!

“We will unify our stores, commerce and developer platforms to drive a more coherent user experience and a broader developer opportunity,” he said.

Apps developers will benefit most. While ‘universal apps’ that run on all Windows platforms are now a reality they still required considerable tweaking of code to cater for things like screen size, power usage, location information (which desktops seldom have) and more.

In reality, Nadella is counting on aggregating volume – 1 billion Windows desktop users plus an estimated 100+ million Windows Phone users – we can forget the dismal number of Windows RT tablets and few million Xbox consoles for now.

That will put Windows thoroughly back on top; it will attract the developer market it needs and give it ammunition to fend off Android’s mobile dominance.

Comment

Nadella has only been in the CEO seat since February. In that time he has changed the company’s direction from ‘devices and services’ to ‘mobile first, cloud first’, sacked 13,000 workers (mainly from its Nokia merger), killed off Nokia Android handsets, and really cleaned up the companies act on issues of privacy and personal rights. A new broom sweeps clean and Nadella has shown that he is not bound by former Microsoft traditions - he has a business to run …

The combined operating systems make sense – most Windows versions are based on the NT kernel (code) and the power in mobile devices is creeping up into desktop territory. Windows had to adapt to use different processors anyway if it was to protect its desktop and portable turf.

There has never been such concerted change in Microsoft – and that is refreshing. It may take a couple of years to achieve this change but the fact that it has started now must be concerning to Apple, and to a lesser degree Google’s Android, who will also need to have a contiguous OS to compete with Microsoft’s compelling offer of a truly unified ecosystem.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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