Defining what ‘One Windows’ means for customers

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on stage

On July 22, during a long conference call, Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, announced its earning for Q4 2014 and talked about Microsoft readying to streamline the next version of Windows from three operating systems to “one single converged operating system” that can be used on every form factor device.

Of course, many understood that the company is preparing one Windows software to run on PC and tablet, phone, and video game console. This isn’t what Redmond is doing at all in the next version of the software.

In reality “one Windows” means that there won’t be anymore a team for every version of Windows. Instead, moving forward there is one developing team designing all versions of Windows, including Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox One operating systems.

One Windows also means one operating system core. In the next wave of updates codenamed “Threshold”, Windows 9 (PC, server, and embedded devices) and Windows RT (tablet), Windows Phone, and Xbox operating systems are built based on a common set of programming code, which we know as NT core. In this approach Microsoft develops a single OS core and then layers the modules necessary to run different hardware.

This merge also brings a single Windows Store for every platform. As such soon we’ll be seeing the Windows Phone Store merging with the Windows Store, which we know Microsoft was planning some time ago, but now it also means that is possible that Xbox app market may also merge into the unified Store.

At the end these changes benefits everyone, developers will finally be able to create applications that have to be coded once and they will run on every version of Windows and customers will able access these apps on more devices a lot quicker — these are the so-called Universal Windows apps.

The one Windows approach won’t replace all versions of the operating system, we’ll still see different versions of Windows for consumers and enterprises. Only the software core is what’s defined as “one Windows”, because the same code-base will be used on all platforms. Though, we may be on the verge of losing Windows Phone and Windows RT as Redmond is also preparing to merge these two operating systems into one and it’s not clear if Microsoft will change the name of the final product — perhaps “Windows Mobile”?

You can read the entire Satya Nadella conference call transcript for the fourth quarter 2014 earning results at Yahoo Finance