Microsoft to Unify All Windows Operating Systems for Client PCs

One Windows OS will Power PCs, Tablets and Smartphones

by Anton Shilov
07/22/2014 | 05:08 AM

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday unveiled plans to unify all Windows operating systems for client PCs. Starting from the upcoming Windows 9, one OS will power personal computers, tablets and smartphones. The plan is expected to cut-down the costs of development and unify user experience within Microsoft’s eco-system.


“We will streamline the next version of Windows from three operating systems into one single converged operating system for screens of all sizes,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft, during a quarterly conference call with financial analysts and investors.

Nowadays Microsoft has three major versions of operating systems designed for different kinds of devices. Windows 8.1 powers desktops and laptops, Windows RT is designed for ARM-based personal computers and tablets, whereas Windows Phone was developed for smartphones.

Unification of all three operating systems will require the next-gen Windows to support loads of different hardware and deliver the same experience on different classes of processors, graphics adapters and so on. Not only this will make the OS bulkier (in terms of requirements for storage space), but this will also mean that the platform will be designed to ensure good user experience on low-cost hardware, meaning that there will be no “beautiful” Windows Vista- or Windows 7-like things. Still, unification also means that all three major form-factors will be able to run the same applications.

“We will unify our stores, commerce and developer platforms to drive a more coherent user experience and a broader developer opportunity,” said Mr. Nadella. “We look forward to sharing more about our next major wave of Windows enhancements in the coming months.”

In fact, the plan to unify all operating systems was clear starting this March when Microsoft announced the DirectX 12 application programming interface. The API will work with all kinds of hardware, including PC hardware, tablet hardware, smartphone hardware as well as the Xbox One game consoles. This will allow to create applications that will run on mobile devices, PCs and the console.

Previously it was expected that Microsoft will unify its Windows RT and Windows Phone operating systems, whereas personal computers will be powered by a different OS. However, it looks like starting from Windows 9 “Threshold” the world’s largest maker of software will adopt the “one size fits all” strategy.

It remains to be seen how Microsoft plans to ensure good user experience on one operating system that has to support three types of devices.