Microsoft is moving away from Windows Phone and towards 'Windows' for your phone

Microsoft has been undergoing a lot of change under the leadership of Satya Nadella - from new events to a 'mobile first, cloud first' motto. The new vigor introduced by Nadella has been flushed through the veins of Microsoft and is paying off with a bit of pep in the Microsoft step. 

While Microsoft has signaled intentions to go to a OneCore setup for Windows, it looks like they are also heading down the path of OneBrand as well. We have been observing this trend for some time and have been looking around for details to support our information and now it is starting to become clear. The most obvious example of this is with the conversion of Windows Phone into simply, Windows.

6 months ago, this was the norm
How Microsoft marketed Windows Phone 6 months ago

Earlier this year, Microsoft/Nokia released the Lumia Icon for Verizon, and at the end of their commercials, it says Windows Phone (above image). But, if you take a look at the new HTC One M8 for Windows that is on Verizon, the commercial does not have Windows Phone mentioned (below image). Of course, you can all see it in the name of the device too, for Windows and not for Windows Phone

It's all Windows now, no phone
How Microsoft markets Windows Phone today

We here at Neowin have been hearing these whispers for some time and the evidence is only growing stronger. Michael Gillett, like us, believes that Microsoft will simply call everything Windows too, and it wouldn't surprise us if the next iteration of Windows is simply called 'Windows' as well.

But it is not only Verizon leaving out the word 'phone' from the Windows branding. The recently released Lumia 930 commercial, spotted by the Verge, omits the branding as well.

It makes a bit of sense too, as Microsoft products are powered by Windows, not Windows Phone, Windows RT, Windows 8, etc. By simplifying the brands they are doing, it allows them to create a stronger cohesive marketing effort around Windows.

Watch for this trend going forward as once you see it, you begin to notice it everywhere.

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Windows RT and Windows Phone look nothing like each other, I don't see how they can exist together. I don't see how they can become one because they are so different.

derekaw said,
Windows RT and Windows Phone look nothing like each other, I don't see how they can exist together. I don't see how they can become one because they are so different.

They're not different at all, and share much of the same code.

HTC One for Windows? That doesn't even make sense, that's like saying Laptop for OS X or Tablet for Android... And in this case, are people going to think they need a PC with Windows just to use the Phone? They're saying the device is for Windows, so it sounds like you need to use it in conjunction with a Windows PC.

I agree, it sounds confusing, especially when you consider that Windows Phone has no 'windows'. I think that the Windows brand is at the end of its useful life. Windows means work and not fun.

NCC-1664 said,
Yay yet ANOTHER renaming. It just shows just a lack of confidence in their brand marketing.

How is this another rebranding?

NCC-1664 said,
Yay yet ANOTHER renaming. It just shows just a lack of confidence in their brand marketing.

No confidence and no direction. They are all over the place. Windows Phone Series Seven was a huge laugh and they still can't decide how to move forward. About 3% marketshare seems about right.

I think that the 'Windows' brand has been milked all the ways it can be and now the brand is old and beyond a new direction.

For most 'normal' people Windows does not mean fun, it means work like using Office spreadsheets and being in an office. It means viruses and malware and browser pop ups.

Windows Vista and Windows 8 left a bad taste in peoples mouths and it will be an uphill slog trying to reverse the negativity that comes with anything branded 'Windows'.

I think this is part of the problem with Windows Phone, its associated with Windows and people don't want Windows everywhere and they want to avoid Windows when they can.

Great post. Totally agree that when you hear the name "Windows" you think about your 9-5 job and college thesis papers with Office.

Edited by JHBrown, Sep 5 2014, 10:16pm :

True... Windows means viruses, work. But it also means known and supported, even if people wouldn't call it that. Windows is the programs they use.

As much as people dislike Windows they still prefer it over Linux which normal people might call difficult and geeky and MacOS (maybe not the OS, but Mac equals overpriced to lots of people).

I was all ready to disagree but I think you may have hit the nail on the hwad. For most non techie people, Windows is a bland name of something they use at work. Maybe the Windows name has been damaged too much. For the more technical minded, Windows has become something that has an amazing core but an interface that has less ui configuration options than my television.

Ask gamers or anyone that plays games on a computer, and they will have a different opinion of Windows.

Ask an OS Engineer that has followed the NT kernel/OS creation and they will have a very different opinion. (We are still waiting for an end user OS that even gets close to something that technically competes with NT.)

One thing Windows did well in consumers minds, is that it just works no matter what kind of computer you have, and with the expansion to more devices and tablets, this mindset carries over.

Microsoft needs to break the late 90s early 00s thinking. They need to explain Windows NT shares NOTHING with the Win9X/ME that they hated. They also need to explain that the security and stability issues of early WinXP disappeared with Windows 7/8.

I see too many of the younger generations that grew up with Win9X/ME or early XP and hated it, and they were right to hate it; however, moving to OS X or Linux and proclaiming those OSes are superior to Win7/8 is just not accurate. Even if you love the features of Linux/OS X/etc. they technically are a generation behind Windows NT in key areas.

One thing that has started to come back around, and that is security and stability recognition of Windows, and part of this is due to the respect WP7/8 created; which has helped to give users a new look at Windows 8 in terms of speed and stability.

Agreed.

Naming your mobile OS 'Windows' Phone was yet another example of them taking it too far .

As you say, Windows means work and complication to most people, so that sure doesn't help the Phone situation either.

Well none of them are Windows which is a positive. Windows is old, windows is legacy. The usefulness of the Windows brand is over. They need something new, something fresh and modern but look how that was introduced, windows 8 was a huge disaster. Windows is now stuck with 'tiles' and that's not going down so well. You could call tiles a failure.

Edited by derekaw, Sep 6 2014, 3:31am :

derekaw said,
Windows is old, windows is legacy.

And? Mac OS X is old, and legacy.

derekaw said,
They need something new, something fresh and modern.

Yes. And that is beginning with Windows 8.

derekaw said,
The legacy desktop on a tablet is far from fresh or modern.

There won't be a legacy desktop on tablets, outside of Windows Pro. And the difference between Surface Pro and Surface if pretty defined.

epk said,
But it also means known and supported

It used to. In this mobile world we live in, it means poor or non-existent app support, and an app store filled with scams, clones, and fart apps.

The desktop paradigm is irrelevant in a mobile first world. Windows' legacy desktop apps are unimportant these days, and because of this, Microsoft has lost its ecosystem advantage when trying to sell its OS. Now iOS and Android have the ecosystem that everyone wants.

epk said,

As much as people dislike Windows they still prefer it over Linux

People don't buy Windows, they buy a new PC, which just happens to come with Windows because Microsoft has OEM's locked down and in its pocket. Popularity has nothing to do with it. If all PC OEM's decided tomorrow to ship every new PC with Ubuntu for instance, then Linux would get 90% desktop marketshare instead. They don't, thus the only way Linux gets installed, is by users going out of their way to replace or install alongside Windows.

I don't know anyone who likes Windows except for MS fanboys, which is a very small group. With its viruses, malware, rootkits, horrible user experience (Metro), and hefty price tag, is it any wonder.

Unfortunately a lot of people are forced to use it at work or school because Microsoft has indoctrinated the decision makers. Give someone a Linux distro or OS X, and their face lights up. Using a desktop computer becomes fun again, not the boring, malware infested junk they've been accustomed to.

epk said,

which normal people might call difficult and geeky and MacOS (maybe not the OS, but Mac equals overpriced to lots of people).

Only geeky because they haven't had the opportunity to use modern distros like Ubuntu, Mint, Elementary, etc. If OEM's gave them a major push, I believe Linux could displace Windows in the desktop consumer space. The enterprise is more difficult because Microsoft is often an IT departments bread and butter, without which, they wouldn't have a job.

Edited by simplezz, Sep 6 2014, 12:15pm :

simplezz said,

It used to. In this mobile world we live in, it means poor or non-existent app support, and an app store filled with scams, clones, and fart apps.

They're working on fixing that at least. Official app support has really improved though. It's not all the way there yet but it's a night and day difference to the situation with WP7.

simplezz said,

People don't buy Windows, they buy a new PC, which just happens to come with Windows

Then you could say the same thing about Android. People don't buy Android, they just buy a cheap phone that happens to come with Android.

simplezz said,

I don't know anyone who likes Windows except for MS fanboys, which is a very small group. With its viruses, malware, rootkits, horrible user experience (Metro), and hefty price tag, is it any wonder.

The 90's called, it wants its BS back.

simplezz said,

Unfortunately a lot of people are forced to use it at work or school because Microsoft has indoctrinated the decision makers. Give someone a Linux distro or OS X, and their face lights up. Using a desktop computer becomes fun again, not the boring, malware infested junk they've been accustomed to.

Linux is far from "fun". It's 2014, and the OS still requires BS maintenance and other upkeep work to prevent it from being used by the masses. Linux has no competitive edge. Software is disorganized, shoddy, and just plain lame. It's too fragmented.

OEMs have released Linux boxes before, and they all fall through because Linux has little to no mainstream support. No applications, no drivers, nothing.

Dot Matrix said,
Linux is far from "fun". It's 2014, and the OS still requires BS maintenance and other upkeep work to prevent it from being used by the masses. Linux has no competitive edge. Software is disorganized, shoddy, and just plain lame. It's too fragmented.

I think that's part OF the fun. I enjoy using Linux for tinkering around but it is not my main work OS.

Enron said,

Then you could say the same thing about Android. People don't buy Android, they just buy a cheap phone that happens to come with Android.

I think that this is very true.

Dot Matrix said,

There won't be a legacy desktop on tablets, outside of Windows Pro. And the difference between Surface Pro and Surface if pretty defined.

Always waiting for MS to get things right. The MS/Windows fans have to be very resilient and always very hopeful.

derekaw said,

Always waiting for MS to get things right. The MS/Windows fans have to be very resilient and always very hopeful.

Right. :rolleyes:

Why do MS feel the need to confuse everything all the time, the current branding is very much identifiable and now they are trying to blur the lines and confuse consumers which can scare them to other companies which may have simpler brandings.

pallentx said,
Now everyone will be confused because they cant install photoshop on their Windows Phone.

Or something,...

I actually can install Photoshop on my phone. There's an app in the store.

Dot Matrix said,

I actually can install Photoshop on my phone. There's an app in the store.

You and I know full well that he's talking about the full Photoshop experience, not a half hearted paint app.

The 'Windows Phone' brand wasnt a problem when small devices were just smartphones. However MS is combining WP with RT and that OS wont just run on phones, it will be on cheaper tablets as well.

And from what I gather its their goal to make the OS appear the same as 'full' Windows from an end-user perspective. That is the touch interface. The WP/RT successor wont have a desktop mode. Which should also make it clear it shouldnt be able to run desktop apps and clear some of that confusions.

However I'm not sure if having one brand is the right move. People should understand that some tablets running full windows are more capable than those running ARM windows. The WP brand wont do. Such a shame they killed the 'Windows Mobile' brand it would have been the perfect name for this. A even bigger shame: them not investing in WinMo for years. if they had then they would be what Android is now. So many OEMs knocked on MS' door when Apple started to conquer the market but WinMo was sh*t and they had to look further after a year of slowpoke WinMo's but bad interfaces.

The 'Windows Phone' brand wasnt a problem when small devices were just smartphones. However MS is combining WP with RT and that OS wont just run on phones, it will be on cheaper tablets as well.

And from what I gather its their goal to make the OS appear the same as 'full' Windows from an end-user perspective. That is the touch interface. The WP/RT successor wont have a desktop mode. Which should also make it clear it shouldnt be able to run desktop apps and clear some of that confusions.

However I'm not sure if having one brand is the right move. People should understand that some tablets running full windows are more capable than those running ARM windows. The WP brand wont do. Such a shame they killed the 'Windows Mobile' brand it would have been the perfect name for this. A even bigger shame: them not investing in WinMo for years. if they had then they would be what Android is now. So many OEMs knocked on MS' door when Apple started to conquer the market but WinMo was sh*t and they had to look further after a year of slowpoke WinMo's but bad interfaces.

Makes me wonder if it would be a good (or bad) idea to just keep going down the road they started with OneDrive and Xbox One... Threshold could be "Windows One", and the store could be the "OneStore"

You'd get away from the "Windows" branding a bit which everyone seems to associate with old, slow, kludgy, broken, etc. (unfortunately, and irrationally). I just don't think they could get away with "OnePhone" :-)

I do hope they adopt a two-pronged approach though... 1) their current approach of working with everything they can, being available to all ecosystems, running on all hardware, etc... and 2) keeping up with Apple's convergence and coherence in letting all your devices work together more smoothly and transparently if you are "all windows" (answer phone calls on your windows PC/Laptop/Tablet if you don't want to take your phone out of your pocket or if it's in the other room, etc).

I don't think that's a good idea. That may actually push people away. Just let Windows Phone be itself and do its thing.

Some people keep advocating to make a better and unified experience between Windows and Windows Phone. When that's announced they come out saying that making that happen is not a good idea and will push people away.

I'm done with comment sections on the web.

Can you imagine if you went into McDonald's and it listed meals with Coke but didn't tell you which flavour you'd be getting? Maybe the Big Mac comes with Cherry Coke and the Chicken Legend comes with Coke Zero. Now imagine you're diabetic and can't have sugar.

That analogy doesn't make any sense. Windows Phone will be no different from Windows besides the desktop. People don't buy the iphone because it has iOS, people buy the iphone because they want the iphone. Same for the ipad.

You think Windows Phone is a different flavor compared to Windows but they are almost the same right now. With threshold they will be the same.

If you buy a tablet and it is advertised as having 'Windows' that may or may not mean you can run desktop apps, hence the confusion. There are also significant differences between Windows Phone and Windows RT - that may change in the future but that's not what we're dealing with currently.

I get your point but the whole meaning behing the "Windows" name/branding is changing. Microsoft dropped the whole RT name for consumers when they launched the Surface 2.

MerChan said,
That analogy doesn't make any sense. Windows Phone will be no different from Windows besides the desktop.

Err.. Yes it is. WP doesn't run the same apps for a start. That's what caused all the confusion over RT. Because it was called "Windows", people thought it would run all the Windows desktop apps.

MerChan said,

People don't buy the iphone because it has iOS, people buy the iphone because they want the iphone. Same for the ipad.

Except Apple doesn't call the iPhone Mac OS iPhone does it? That would be inviting confusion with the desktop.

MerChan said,

You think Windows Phone is a different flavor compared to Windows but they are almost the same right now. With threshold they will be the same.

It's quite clear they aren't the same. It should be called Microsoft Window in order to denote the difference ;)

simplezz said,

Err.. Yes it is. WP doesn't run the same apps for a start. That's what caused all the confusion over RT. Because it was called "Windows", people thought it would run all the Windows desktop apps

That's BS. There are plenty of Universal Apps in both the phone and Win 8 stores. You get them on either platform and can install it on the other.

Thinking you can run desktop apps in the phone is stupid. And don't come with the excuse that non-tech folk will try this. Only stupid people will. I know plenty of tech-illiterate people that own windows phones and have windows 8 laptops and have never asked me if they could run desktop applications on the phone.

one experience? is that a native one experience, or a one experience when you have picked out and installed extra apps?

if it's from the get-go, ie built straight into windows.....then how about starting with messaging? i'd like to send a message from my phone, and continue from my desktop please....without having to install extra apps like skype or gosms

It's up on Nokia's website already. Have a look at the second tile in the last row (just above the footer).

http://www.nokia.com/in-en/phones/

Perseus Prime said,
Satya is going to Kill Windows Phone soon

Don't be silly, that would be sensible. It makes much more sense to conflate all the separate Windows platforms into one superbrand and watch consumers get confused.

so that's what he means by "mobile first, cloud first"

those are the things he will kill first, then we will all be back to computing like its the 1990s and Microsoft had no real competition.

Which goes to show that it's not the flavor of Windows Phone 8.1 as it is awesome right now but it's the marketing aspect that they need to improve on it and by marketing I mean they also need to improve on the sales people that always try to sell you cheese when you asked for bread.

As if it matters. Windows Phone is struggling to make any traction - in fact its worldwide market share has declined from 3.7% to 2.6%. Tweaking the branding isn't going to fix that and could in fact lead to more confusion. Look at MSN Messenger / Windows Messenger / Live Messenger - the branding was so convoluted that Microsoft had to buy up Skype.

This isn't going to do anything to help Microsoft push Windows on mobile devices.

I've been an advocate of Windows 8 / 8.1 and have been using it since release. That doesn't mean I'm not critical of some aspects, many of which Microsoft is addressing in Windows 9.

As for Windows Phone, there's little to be positive about.

...other than the fact that many people, like me, simply like it better than the other platforms (god I hate iTunes on Windows and the less I have to deal with Apple, or the "We meant do nothing but evil" Google, the better. You couldn't pay me to go back to iPhone (I abandoned ship for a Nokia 920 when it came out nearly 2 years ago and never looked back), and I'd have to have to adopt Android to be honest... it's such a mess.

Windows Phone is pretty much the perfect "middle-ground" between the too-tightly-controlled one-size-fits-all iOS/iPhone, and the wild-west of anything-goes-even-if-its-crappy Android.

I'm pretty sure you'll see adoption going back up now that a ton of new phones and Windows 8.1 and later are making it out in the world. And I think Threshold/WP9 will increase it even more.

theyarecomingforyou said,
IAs for Windows Phone, there's little to be positive about.

In your narrow judgement perhaps. Windows Phone is an amazing, easy to use platform that is fresh to look at and is evolving at a much faster pace than either of the other platforms, where innovation and development have completely stalled in recent years. OS development in recent months is leaps and bounds ahead of either Apple or Google, with the feature set now almost on par with the others, with some things that are far superior (the digital assistant cortana for example), and the app gap is rapid narrowing too. About the only major apps I'm missing now are from Sky.

It's a refreshing change from iOS and Android which have made no fundamental changes to the basic UI since version 1.0 of their platforms. In Apple's case, rows and rows of static rounded square icons... yawn. Much the same with Android, but with the addition of Widgets that are both a blessing and a curse in my opinion.

Ryster said,

In your narrow judgement perhaps. Windows Phone is an amazing, easy to use platform that is fresh to look at and is evolving at a much faster pace than either of the other platforms, where innovation and development have completely stalled in recent years. OS development in recent months is leaps and bounds ahead of either Apple or Google, with the feature set now almost on par with the others, with some things that are far superior (the digital assistant cortana for example), and the app gap is rapid narrowing too. About the only major apps I'm missing now are from Sky.

It's a refreshing change from iOS and Android which have made no fundamental changes to the basic UI since version 1.0 of their platforms. In Apple's case, rows and rows of static rounded square icons... yawn. Much the same with Android, but with the addition of Widgets that are both a blessing and a curse in my opinion.

I get that people like you enjoy Windows Phone but the problem is that most people don't feel the same way, Windows Phone so far has been a big disaster, people are not buying it, they don't want it.

Is it a branding problem? an OS problem? a features problem? a carrier store sales person problem? a perception problem? Something else? Who knows, but its not looking good for the platform and tweaking with the name and merging the underlying OS with something else does not look like it will solve any problems regarding lack of sales, marketshare and mindshare.

pmbAustin said,
...other than the fact that many people, like me, simply like it better than the other platforms

And some people like Blackberry but few would regard it as a decent or popular platform. At the moment WP is as irrelevant as BB.

pmbAustin said,
I'm pretty sure you'll see adoption going back up now that a ton of new phones and Windows 8.1 and later are making it out in the world. And I think Threshold/WP9 will increase it even more.

Possibly but it's hardly a good sign that Microsoft is losing market share when it barely has any to begin with.

Ryster said,
In your narrow judgement perhaps. Windows Phone is an amazing, easy to use platform that is fresh to look at and is evolving at a much faster pace than either of the other platforms, where innovation and development have completely stalled in recent years.

Windows Phone has been catching up to Android and iOS, not innovating. It was behind on nearly every major technology - high PPI displays, fingerprint scanners, notifications, NFC, quad-core processors, voice control, etc. And Android L is around the corner, which is the biggest change that Android has seen in years. There is simply no credibility in the claim that WP is the most innovative platform.

Ryster said,
It's a refreshing change from iOS and Android which have made no fundamental changes to the basic UI since version 1.0 of their platforms. In Apple's case, rows and rows of static rounded square icons... yawn. Much the same with Android, but with the addition of Widgets that are both a blessing and a curse in my opinion.

The problem with Metro is that it's incredibly divisive. Some people love it but others hate it, whereas Android and iOS have broad appeal. Plus Android allows for completely customisation, so those who want to overhaul the default look can - Microsoft won't let anyone touch Metro.

There's no real surprise around the losing market share BRIEFLY... there was uncertainty around the Microsoft buyout of Nokia, combined with the fact that they had just announced a New OS version and many were waiting for the NEW phones to come out. Latest results show that WP is back towards increases, not decreases.

You clearly have an agenda to push though. You apparently WANT to see it fail... claiming it's "as irrelevant as BlackBerry" is just ignorant (or wishful thinking). It's patently untrue.

Windows Phone has been doing TONS of innovating, and both Apple and Google have been borrowing heavily from Windows Phone in their recent updates. To claim otherwise is to have your head in the sand. Yes, it goes both ways... WP is *also* catching up (and is pretty much caught up now). The two are NOT mutually exclusive.

Metro is divisive on the Desktop, sure. Not so much on phones, where it was first designed to exist. Most people have no problem with it there, and even like it.

The Windows Phone 8.1.1 start screen is pretty customizable without ever being "completely alien" to some other WP user. Some Android people hand their phones to another Android user, and that user is just stymied, having no idea what to do. You call that a feature. I don't.

Anyway, it's only getting better.

next Q the marketshare will go up once again, lots of new phones by many odm's have been released recently, not just the 2 nokia phones in the previous Q.

theyarecomingforyou said,
As if it matters. Windows Phone is struggling to make any traction - in fact its worldwide market share has declined from 3.7% to 2.6%. Tweaking the branding isn't going to fix that and could in fact lead to more confusion. Look at MSN Messenger / Windows Messenger / Live Messenger - the branding was so convoluted that Microsoft had to buy up Skype.

This isn't going to do anything to help Microsoft push Windows on mobile devices.

You realize you are arguing that market share numbers Apple held for years with the Mac are not viable to keep a product alive? I think Apple would disagree with you, even today they have a tiny number of Mac users worldwide.

The numbers WP has now is where Microsoft EXPECTED it to be in 2014/2015, so it is even a bit ahead of what they anticipated. Also the 'decline' you are pointing out, disappeared in August. Having no new phones on the market for several months often shows a decline for that period.

The other thing you are skipping over is that even if it slipped to 1%, Windows Phone would be doing fine.

One reason WP can survive on low a low market share is that the infrastructure is done and the development is essentially done. Keeping WP alive is and will be a tiny % of the over Windows development resource/time allocation.

With WOA merging completely, keeping Windows Phone alive is no more work than Microsoft writing the drivers, keeping the HAL updated and recompiling the NT code base for ARM.


PS
Using worldwide numbers is misleading, as there are regions where WP is #1 in market share and many places where it is #2, and some of these areas are important.

If you took the iPhone's numbers and only looked at them 'worldwide' they are dangerously low, slipping below 15%. (So for Windows Phone to hold 5% worldwide, it doesn't appear so dire compared to iPhone numbers.)

It is in the USA and a few other important markets that the iPhone has a much more healthy market share. Just as there are other important regions that WP has a healthy market share.

The Mac is high end and high profit. Most windows phone sales are dirt cheap low end devices. There has been very little success with high end flagship Windows Phones.

Where Windows Phone has better numbers it's because of the low end devices. Low end customers don't use the ecosystem and don't buy apps. I speculate that low end customers probably just wanted a low end phone and don't care that it's a Windows Phone.

Ryster said,
It's so unlike you to post a comment to a Windows Phone or Windows 8 thread with such a negative spin... /s

Well he's right. If stating the truth is negative, then so be it. Unless you want the comments section censored so it only paints products in a positive light?

korupt_one said,
next Q the marketshare will go up once again, lots of new phones by many odm's have been released recently, not just the 2 nokia phones in the previous Q.

Well it couldn't get much lower now could it? At 2.5% it has almost disappeared entirely.

The latest data from research firm comScore shows that Windows Phone has grown a little more in the US smartphone marketplace, going up from 3.3 percent in April to 3.6 percent in July.

Just saying.

Have been think this for a while, it's a good idea I think. Of course Windows Phone sounds better then Windows for phone but it's fine.

This will only make sense if all Windows applications will run on all windows devices. Otherwise they will have the same screws up they had with windows RT, that people bought arm based device called windows and it wouldn't run any windows x86 applications.

That is the plan though don't forget. Windows Threshold / 9 RT version will run on both tablets and phones... from this next version onwards, all apps written for the metro platform will work across all devices running Windows. Windows 9 for Desktops, Laptops and Pro Tablets, Windows 9 (RT) for Consumer Tablets and Phones, all utilising the same app framework for new apps.

Desktop apps are something different entirely and aren't really relevant here.

Colour me excited...

Well, I think it can work out fine, sure when it comes to desktop vs tablet/phone the UIs won't match fully but as some have said, if the desktop can run phone/tablet apps without issue, windowed in this case, then the naming change to just "Windows" for everything works out.

And when there's no desktop option (be it removed or just turned off/hidden) on tablets then there's really no confusion here, you can call it windows, and as long as average consumers don't see a desktop on their mini-tablet I don't see how they'll try to draw the conclusion that they can run their old desktop apps on that device.

This makes sense as long as the same apps for Windows on a phone run on Windows on a tablet as well as Windows on a Laptop/Desktop PC. I believe this happened with Windows Phone 8.1 where they now support the same Windows Runtime as RT/Windows 8 instead of the similarly named yet incompatible Windows Phone Runtime. Hopefully this will be resolved further with the Windows 9 releases.

Makes complete sense to move in that direction, especially as they advance universal apps and ultimately have one app store.

Personally I do not see how the "Windows" (8 ... since that is the latest incarnation) brand can rub off on "Windows Phone".

Windows Phone in some regards was never disliked for its user interface as much as Windows 8.

This doesn't feel right.

This will only lead to more consumer confusion. Windows Desktop won't run the same apps as Windows Phone and etc...

The consumer doesn't care about the kernel or whatever else runs under the hood making it "one Windows". They need a branding story users can understand and grasp. This looks like a grave mistake if Microsoft goes this road.

Windows Desktop will run Metro apps yes, but it will also run Win32 and X86 apps that the phone won't. So it won't run the same apps the phone can. A user who sees It branded as Windows on his laptop and Windows on his phone will be very confused as to why he can't run Firefox or if he gets a tablet why he can't just open uTorrent.

Putting all of these under one roof with no differentiation will kill any goodwill their brand has left. As users will just become confused and frustrated. More so than they already are.

But the desktop apps won't run on your phone or other RT-based device and some users might expect otherwise. I believe that's what LogicalApex is trying to say...

LogicalApex said,
Windows Desktop will run Metro apps yes, but it will also run Win32 and X86 apps that the phone won't. So it won't run the same apps the phone can. A user who sees It branded as Windows on his laptop and Windows on his phone will be very confused as to why he can't run Firefox or if he gets a tablet why he can't just open uTorrent.

Putting all of these under one roof with no differentiation will kill any goodwill their brand has left. As users will just become confused and frustrated. More so than they already are.

He won't be confused if he doesn't see a desktop on the phone and on the tablet. Where, how, can he even try to install, let alone run Firefox or uTorrent on those, even if they're called Windows, if he can't for one, find a .exe, let alone try to install it.

Yes, but what if you buy your phone under the wrong assumption (sorry, your average consumer isn't as tech savvy as most of us here) and you realize after the fact that the Windows on your device works differently than the Windows on your home computer?

LogicalApex said,
This will only lead to more consumer confusion. Windows Desktop won't run the same apps as Windows Phone and etc...

Yes, but Windows Store apps are the future for Windows. I think people know enough not to run legacy desktop apps on a phone.

isolating mobile vs. desktop apps hasn't hurt Apple (iOS v. Mac OSX), besides given the wide adoption of iOS i think alot of consumers can understand that their phone apps can't run on a laptop or desktop device. All of this will be irrelevant however, once Microsoft has Universal Apps that can span all Windows devices. All that is needed is broader developer support into the new Universal App model/framework and more robust API for developers to create complex "desktop" like x86 type apps and refined UI for both touch and mouse (or developers actually following UI guidelines).

George P said,

He won't be confused if he doesn't see a desktop on the phone and on the tablet. Where, how, can he even try to install, let alone run Firefox or uTorrent on those, even if they're called Windows, if he can't for one, find a .exe, let alone try to install it.

I'd wager that will enhance the user's confusion. As they won't really understand what "Windows" is at the end of the day. Honestly, even I am struggling to understand what Windows is in Microsoft terms anymore...

This whole ordeal would probably make more sense if Metro was a success on the Desktop, but the universal consensus (including MS) is that it wasn't a success there. Since Windows Phone and Windows Tablets are still an extreme minority the majority of users know "Windows" via their Desktops and Laptops. They have certain expectations that won't translate over to their phone and possibly tablet. This will lead to frustration...

There is a reason they sell "Lumia XXX" or "Samsung Galaxy XX XX" and they don't just call every Lumia device "Lumia" with no other way to inform the user that there are differences between two products of the same family. You can't have users thinking that everything is the same when there are actual differences. Users aren't concerned about OS Kernels.

LogicalApex said,

I'd wager that will enhance the user's confusion. As they won't really understand what "Windows" is at the end of the day. Honestly, even I am struggling to understand what Windows is in Microsoft terms anymore...

This whole ordeal would probably make more sense if Metro was a success on the Desktop, but the universal consensus (including MS) is that it wasn't a success there. Since Windows Phone and Windows Tablets are still an extreme minority the majority of users know "Windows" via their Desktops and Laptops. They have certain expectations that won't translate over to their phone and possibly tablet. This will lead to frustration...

There is a reason they sell "Lumia XXX" or "Samsung Galaxy XX XX" and they don't just call every Lumia device "Lumia" with no other way to inform the user that there are differences between two products of the same family. You can't have users thinking that everything is the same when there are actual differences. Users aren't concerned about OS Kernels.

It's not really that hard. Windows is a universal OS capable of running on PCs, tablets, and phones, and across those devices, you can run seamless, universal applications. As I said above, universal applications are going to be the future of computing.

Dot Matrix said,

It's not really that hard. Windows is a universal OS capable of running on PCs, tablets, and phones, and across those devices, you can run seamless, universal applications. As I said above, universal applications are going to be the future of computing.

It actually is that hard... Why does Old Navy sell its clothes under three different sub brands (Banana Republic, Old Navy, Gap)? Why does WalMart not carry high end luxury products? Why does Toyota have the Lexus brand alongside their Toyota brand?

They might be the future, but this branding change is putting the cart before the horse. Microsoft could do this in the future when Universal Apps are the norm, but doing it now is premature and risks more damage. The majority of Windows apps are not Universal Apps and they still haven't sold developers on Metro in a serious fashion. It also remains to be seen how the relaxation of Metro in Windows vNext improves or undermines their goals in this regard.

Windows|Phone, Windows|Classic, etc. (or similar) would easily allow them to use Windows branding with a hint of universality without totally confusing consumers.

Ultimately, Microsoft may get it to a point where Windows is pretty much the same across all of its disparate platforms with universal apps in the like. But they definitely need to build a bridge to that reality.

LogicalApex said,

It actually is that hard... Why does Old Navy sell its clothes under three different sub brands (Banana Republic, Old Navy, Gap)? Why does WalMart not carry high end luxury products? Why does Toyota have the Lexus brand alongside their Toyota brand?

They might be the future, but this branding change is putting the cart before the horse. Microsoft could do this in the future when Universal Apps are the norm, but doing it now is premature and risks more damage. The majority of Windows apps are not Universal Apps and they still haven't sold developers on Metro in a serious fashion. It also remains to be seen how the relaxation of Metro in Windows vNext improves or undermines their goals in this regard.

Windows|Phone, Windows|Classic, etc. (or similar) would easily allow them to use Windows branding with a hint of universality without totally confusing consumers.

Ultimately, Microsoft may get it to a point where Windows is pretty much the same across all of its disparate platforms with universal apps in the like. But they definitely need to build a bridge to that reality.

I'm not sure I follow your comparisons.

Dot Matrix said,

I'm not sure I follow your comparisons.

They are simple. These brands use sub brands to target different market segments to reduce confusion among their target market. Old Navy has Banana Republic (high end), Old Navy (middle tier), and Gap (low end); Toyota has Lexus (luxury/high end) and Toyota (low end). Combining them leaves you with confused consumers who will buy less as they can't figure out the story.

For Microsoft yes phones, tablets, and PCs are all computing devices, but they are not yet capable of the same things so they need to be segmented appropriately to ensure a consistent branding message.

Microsoft lacks the market clout in the mobile market to write the branding story on its own. Apple and Google has set the market expectations and the criteria it is judged by at current. Failing to segment their brand in a way to enable it to offer tailored messages would be a problem.

But I won't keep arguing the point. We'll see how this works out of Microsoft in a year or two and if it actually improves Windows Phone and Tablet sales.

You do seem a little confused. Maybe you haven't been following what Microsoft has been working towards in the past 2 years. the way forward in windows is WinRT and universal apps. So it wont matter anymore if its a desktop app, or a phone app. It will run on Windows, which runs from desktops to phones.

Dot Matrix said,

It's not really that hard. Windows is a universal OS capable of running on PCs, tablets, and phones, and across those devices, you can run seamless, universal applications. As I said above, universal applications are going to be the future of computing.

So as a consumer would ask ,does that mean my phone can get the same viruses and malware as my computer?

you really think someone is going to buy a phone and expect to install autocad or some other x86 program on it?????.
the phone will run the same apps as all arm tablets, there will be no desktop in threshold for those devices to confuse anyone. If its a universal app then yes all devices across the windows platform will run it.

korupt_one said,
you really think someone is going to buy a phone and expect to install autocad or some other x86 program on it?????.
the phone will run the same apps as all arm tablets, there will be no desktop in threshold for those devices to confuse anyone. If its a universal app then yes all devices across the windows platform will run it.

Do you honestly think average users know what ARM is or X86? How will they know what a "universal app" is when all versions of Windows are only called Windows? Even more confusing, how are they supposed to know what a Tablet is? When some tablets have X86 chips and can run things like Photoshop (such as the Surface Pro)...

Some "Windows" devices will have a Desktop and look like tablets and some won't. Some will run everything and some won't. All will be called Windows and then you'll get told to use "Universal Apps" when the user can't even figure out what makes them universal. Fantastic marketing plan they have there...

LogicalApex said,

Some "Windows" devices will have a Desktop and look like tablets and some won't. Some will run everything and some won't. All will be called Windows and then you'll get told to use "Universal Apps" when the user can't even figure out what makes them universal. Fantastic marketing plan they have there...

theres something called the windows store. if you use an app from there,it will run on everything. legacy applications acquired by third party are desktop only. seriously, how hard is that?

A runtime capability for WP store apps on tablets & desktops would make this more than just a marketing stance. Any chance of this before WP/Windows RT are merged?

Mugwump00 said,
A runtime capability for WP store apps on tablets & desktops would make this more than just a marketing stance. Any chance of this before WP/Windows RT are merged?

Seeing as how those two are suppose to merge with the next release, dated for spring 2015, i'd say not before then. It should be easy for them to allow WP apps to run on desktop/tablet Windows through a type of app-v setup, sure it's technically emulation/virtualization but it's not like these phone apps/games are hungry for powerful hardware, any x86-64 PC will run them fine in this regard IMO.

And in the case of ARM tablets, then they should just run fine without much work needed.

Hoping it can happen that way; we all know the WP app library vastly eclipses WinRT, so bringing its replacement 'down-scale' to the mobile format really must accommodate that legacy (as why not permit WPx apps on the bigger formats?). Or in short, I want Spotify on my Surface!

Mugwump00 said,
Hoping it can happen that way; we all know the WP app library vastly eclipses WinRT, so bringing its replacement 'down-scale' to the mobile format really must accommodate that legacy (as why not permit WPx apps on the bigger formats?). Or in short, I want Spotify on my Surface!

Really I bet the only reason they haven't allowed phone apps to run on Windows tablets at this point is because the stores are still two different ones and as far as developers and even MS goes, why allow users to just buy/use one app when you can, for now, sell them two?

This will change though, it has to, but I really think they could have had WP apps running on Windows RT devices from the start.