As the lines between mobile and desktop computing products continue to blur, Microsoft is pushing ahead with a strategy to combine several key parts of its operating systems – but is a full merge on the way?

Microsoft recently announced it plans to consolidate the Windows and Windows Phone stores, and some leaks have hinted that the company will slowly combine the two operating systems. The only thing Microsoft hasn’t tipped its hat about is exactly how this convergence between platforms will take place.

At a financial analyst meeting in September, Terry Myerson, head of Microsoft’s operating systems team, said the company is working toward a unified app platform for both mobile and desktop devices. Myerson specifically said “all of the apps we bring to end users should be available on all of our devices,” indicating the company’s desire to become “One Microsoft,” with apps that work across platforms and only have to be purchased once.

Similar statements were made by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at an employee-only event later that month, where the outgoing leader said a combined app store will come in the “next release” of Windows and Windows Phone. According to Microsoft-oriented journalist Paul Thurrott, those aren’t the only major changes in store for the next version of Microsoft’s Windows operating systems.

Windows Phone 8.1, according to Thurrott, will add support for devices with up to 10-inch screens. Currently, Windows Phone 8 supports up to 6-inch screens; devices with 7- to 10-inch screens are squarely in the tablet range, which is currently supported by Microsoft’s Windows RT and Windows 8.1 operating systems. So what does this mean for Windows on tablets if Thurrott’s information is correct?

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