This week at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference, Andy Lees, Microsoft's president of the Windows Phone Division, said that his company would eventually have just a "single ecosystem" for PCs, phones, tablets, and even the TV. Microsoft has hinted at such a plan before, with its three screens and a cloud strategy, but never so explicitly.
"You can have full PC compute power available in whatever form factor you like," Lees said, point out that the Windows on ARM demo motherboards were smaller than mobile phones. "We won't have an ecosystem for PCs, and one for phones, and one for tablets --- they'll all come together." Lees also said that Microsoft wants to provide "coherence and consistency" across different devices, "particularly with Xbox," and that the goal isn't just to share UI, but also core technologies like Internet Explorer.
This is my next believes that Microsoft is actually planning something far more radical, citing an unnamed source. Not only does Microsoft want to harmonize Windows for PCs and Windows Phone, but also the Xbox operating system sometime within the next four years. This timeframe lines up with both the end of the Xbox 360's 10-year lifecycle and the end of Windows 8's expected three-year cycle. In other words, Windows 8's successor may run on PCs, tablets, phones, and the next-generation Xbox when it arrives in 2015 or 2016.
Last but not least, Microsoft is supposedly considering ditching the "Windows" brand name in favor of something new. The idea is to rebrand its operating system with something that better fits with the company's vision of the future.
It does not at all surprise me that Microsoft wants to have the same OS, or at least some form of it, powering all of its products. Microsoft dropping the Windows brand, however, is something that I just can't wrap my head around. Of course, crazier things have happened, and a lot can change over the next few years, but I just can't picture it.