Microsoft's devices head: We won't have three Windows versions in the future

At the moment, Microsoft has three operating systems for consumers to use in their hardware devices: Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1 and Windows Phone 8. But what happens in the future? Will one or more of those systems get the boot? Julie Larson-Green, the Executive Vice President, Devices and Studios, for Microsoft, hinted this week that is indeed going to be the case.

In a Q&A held this week during the UBS Global Technology Summit (and transcribed by Microsoft) Larson-Green had this to say on where they see the entire Windows ecosystem going in the future:

We have the Windows Phone OS.  We have Windows RT and we have full Windows.  We're not going to have three.  We do think there's a world where there is a more mobile operating system that doesn't have the risks to battery life, or the risks to security.  But, it also comes at the cost of flexibility.  So we believe in that vision and that direction and we're continuing down that path.

Microsoft has already made steps towards integrating its versions of Windows, including most recently merging its Windows Store and Windows Phone Store accounts for developers. This could lead to a unified platform for publishing apps for both Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 without the need for separate code bases or store fronts.

During the same Q&A, Larson-Green gave a general tease about what their upcoming hardware products would be like, saying, "We're just getting started.  So it's going to be lots of fun.  I think we have a lot of exciting things coming.  Next year you'll start to see some really exciting things."

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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So Ballmer's tears were of joy, since since things are gonna be "lots of fun".

Julie, you can do better than that.

Joining the two disparate camps (Windows Phone and Windows RT) with the Win32 camp is gonna be a total nightmare.

Metro was almost enough to unify the mobile camp, and move it away from the Win32-esque era (Windows CE and Windows Mobile fiascos), but to merge them all together you're gonna need more love (pretty more engagement) from the Desktop crowd.

Right now they are involved but not committed in the typical chicken and pig analogy.

Windows Phone and RT teams have got their fanny kicked while sat in complacency. That's the reason Windows RT had to have a desktop.

You need a touch first desktop with a swipe enabled and flat taskbar. You need a windows decor that changes when touch covers are removed and you need to separate the Start Screen from the Explorer process, else you can't dog food yourself. Current Windows Phone Start Screen is done in Silverlight for Windows Embedded and but not so the Windows RT version.

Both have to been done in Metro Take 3 because Metro Take 1 (Windows Phone 7), Metro Take 2 (Windows Phone 8) and Metro Take 2.1 (Windows RT) were as successful as the MicroDisc, the DAT and the DCC, and we all know what I mean.

"One UI for three widely different form factors and their respective usage needs? It doesn't make sense."

Yes, it does..... Learn one, master all. Instead of the difference between OSX and iOS for instance.

And "Efficiency of data entry and content creation".
OneNote for Metro yet works pretty good for touch/data entry imho.

IMHO, not really.

Despite the confusion about RT/nonRT in the beginning, people -ARE- starting to understand the differences and seeing benefits. MS just has to step up advertising, but without the dancing people.

I had a talk to some people last week, and the discussion came about tablets.
When I showed them my Surface Pro, and explained the MS tablet OS/Eco system, they got it immediately.
Also, the advantages of having a tablet that can do 'a little more' on the production site was very appealing to them.

One big plus was the ability to use USB devices and SD cards without having to revert back to the pc. A situation that with iPads, was their daily routine. Also Office on a Surface was a big plus.
Let alone the 10+ hours battery life. That little fact impressed them the most, as most of us are used to laptops dying within hours.

The Metro/Modern UI and Win tablets are gaining marketshare and interest, although slowly in some areas. Especially the business market will adopt the tablets quicker, due to the amount of features and domain tools.

The Metro/Modern UI will be the combining factor, whatever name you want to give it.
People around me already call it 'The tiled Windows version'.
Works for me when helping them out with something ;-)

"The Metro/Modern UI will be the combining factor..." actually was the most divisive decision made by Microsoft. One UI for three widely different form factors and their respective usage needs? It doesn't make sense. Efficiency of data entry and content creation is conveniently avoided in any discussion of the Metro UI.

Microsoft need to collapse Windows RT, Phone, (All Metro Styles) into one product for mobile devices. Don't even call it Windows. Leave the Windows name for Desktop OS and Enterprise stuff.

The new touch OS should be called something like Surface OS or SurOS, or even OneOS. They could reboot all their touch devices and software with new names in a simialr manner that Apple did to distinguish the mobile and desktop sides.

Nahaz said,
Microsoft need to collapse Windows RT, Phone, (All Metro Styles) into one product for mobile devices. Don't even call it Windows. Leave the Windows name for Desktop OS and Enterprise stuff.

The new touch OS should be called something like Surface OS or SurOS, or even OneOS. They could reboot all their touch devices and software with new names in a simialr manner that Apple did to distinguish the mobile and desktop sides.

Not a good idea, it means they have to build brand recognition from scratch. The Windows name already has that recognition which is why it needs to be kept as Windows. I think this saying sums it up "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

neo158 said,

Not a good idea, it means they have to build brand recognition from scratch. The Windows name already has that recognition which is why it needs to be kept as Windows. I think this saying sums it up "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

But it is broke, or we wouldn't be having this conversation right now. The overall beauty of iOS over Windows is the fact that it's not a desktop OS, and therefore it's light. Windows has a history with the desktop and when you say your phone or tablet runs Windows, people frown and think of the desktop OS being squished onto such a device.

Nahaz said,
But it is broke, or we wouldn't be having this conversation right now. The overall beauty of iOS over Windows is the fact that it's not a desktop OS, and therefore it's light. Windows has a history with the desktop and when you say your phone or tablet runs Windows, people frown and think of the desktop OS being squished onto such a device.

You obviously haven't used Surface or a Windows Phone, Windows Phone 8 might run on the same Kernel as windows 8 but it is nothing like it's desktop counterpart, the same goes for Surface!!

I have a Lumia 920 thank you, bought on launch day. I'm perfectly aware of what it can and cannot do. As for surface, it still has the option to call up the old GUI desktop. Drop it altogether and get away from the old Windows. This is why I said the Modern UI and the Desktop UI have no place being together. It's a Frankenstein mishmash.

I have no probs with WP8, but right now we have WP8, WinRT, and FrankenWin 8.1 running on Surface Pro and Desktops. Make something like WP8 for all mobile devices as I have already pointed out.

Nahaz said,
I have a Lumia 920 thank you, bought on launch day. I'm perfectly aware of what it can and cannot do. As for surface, it still has the option to call up the old GUI desktop. Drop it altogether and get away from the old Windows. This is why I said the Modern UI and the Desktop UI have no place being together. It's a Frankenstein mishmash.

I have no probs with WP8, but right now we have WP8, WinRT, and FrankenWin 8.1 running on Surface Pro and Desktops. Make something like WP8 for all mobile devices as I have already pointed out.

They already have something like Windows Phone for all mobile devices called Windows RT, you didn't expect Microsoft to be lazy like Apple or Google and just scale up a smartphone OS for a tablet, did you?

Rebranding at this stage would be the worst thing they can do, as I already mentioned.

Edited by neo158, Dec 11 2013, 4:24am :

neo158 said,

Rebranding at this stage would be the worst thing they can do, as I already mentioned.

The name Windows does not have the same influence it did in it's prime. Failures such as Vista and Windows Me have made people bawk at upgrading to the newest and latest Windows OSes. Regardless, having the situation of the modern UI as it is now in it's current form is not ideal, for whatever you want to call "The Brand"

Simple solution. Split the two. Keep the Desktop OS as a Desktop UI for large business and Enterprise, and use the modern UI on anything that is mobile. make the file formats compatible between both etc.

Windows RT 8
Windows Phone 8
Windows 8
Windows Server
Windows Embedded

That's 5 version without counting sub-variants (pro / home / core / ..)

In any case, when Ballmer will kick the can then,most people closed to Ballmer will follow him.

So, i don't think that she should do futures plan.

Edited by Brony, Nov 24 2013, 7:30pm :

Brony said,
Windows RT 8
Windows Phone 8
Windows 8
Windows Server
Windows Embedded

That's 5 version without counting sub-variants (pro / home / core / ..)

In any case, when Ballmer will kick the can then,most people closed to Ballmer will follow him.

So, i don't think that she should do futures plan.

Ballmer is the only one leaving. J L-G will still be leading Microsoft's devices division.

Dot Matrix said,

Ballmer is the only one leaving. J L-G will still be leading Microsoft's devices division.

Is the new CEO who will decide that, and most of the time, a new CEO starts cutting heads.

Brony said,

Is the new CEO who will decide that, and most of the time, a new CEO starts cutting heads.

Ballmer has already outlined a plan. We know this. He and Gates will be working with the new CEO to see it through. We also know this.

Merge Windows RT and Windows Phone, Keep Windows OS for Tablet, laptop, and desktop. Good to go!

Unless they plan on going Windows full OS for ALL devices. That' would be crazy!

win8 would work better with a digitizer as pointing device, bit-map to screen. Still a learning curve from the omni-present mouse, but at least intelligent (Unlike the track-splooge of laptops). Wherever you point or press is exactly that on your screen, with resolution to match. Before long, you no longer think about it, just like the mouse -- a mouse with benefits, as it were.

I'm not really a developer or know much about what an API is but I don't really see why people are suggesting that Windows (the desktop/Pro version, whatever you like to call it) will be identical to Windows Phone. If the APIs for Windows RT and Windows Phone are identical in the near future, Microsoft doesn't really need to do much more because full Windows can easily run Windows RT apps. So, if Windows Phone apps were written in Windows RT language (again, I'm not a developer but I think you'll get the gist of what I am saying), they obviously work on Windows Phone and, since full Windows runs RT apps, on the desktop.

"We do think there's a world where there is a more mobile operating system that doesn't have the risks to battery life, or the risks to security. But, it also comes at the cost of flexibility. So we believe in that vision and that direction and we're continuing down that path."

iPad.

More seriously, this would be possible with Nokia putting Intel processors in their phones (instead of ARM) and scrapping RT.

68k said,
"We do think there's a world where there is a more mobile operating system that doesn't have the risks to battery life, or the risks to security. But, it also comes at the cost of flexibility. So we believe in that vision and that direction and we're continuing down that path."

iPad.

More seriously, this would be possible with Nokia putting Intel processors in their phones (instead of ARM) and scrapping RT.

iPad has next to no flexibility.

Dot Matrix said,

iPad has next to no flexibility.


"But, it also comes at the cost of flexibility. --> So we believe in that vision and that direction and we're continuing down that path. <-- "

It depends on the way you use it. A wireless network greatly increases and iPad's flexibility. Expect Windows to become "less flexible" in the near future.

68k said,

"But, it also comes at the cost of flexibility. --> So we believe in that vision and that direction and we're continuing down that path. <-- "

It depends on the way you use it. A wireless network greatly increases and iPad's flexibility. Expect Windows to become "less flexible" in the near future.

There is a difference between locking down security with App isolation and other new framework technologies on top of a robust OS contrasted to the iPad that is taking a low functionality mobile OS and trying to build it into a robust OS.

Especially when even at the low functionality level that iOS exists at today, it doesn't offer the same isolation and framework technologies that WP/WinRT on NT does.

iOS is not a scaled down version of OS X, no matter what Apple tells people. iOS is a custom variation of the kernel that even uses 'mimicked' APIs to appear similar to OS X when it is not doing things the same way.

The problem is OS X is too heavy for devices, to offer the solution Microsoft has with NT. They can't get it running well on device class hardware, especially when they would need to add on an additional new framework layer like Microsoft has done with NT.

Microsoft Office could technically NOT be ported to iOS as it currently exists, as iOS doesn't offer a rich enough set of functionality for it to run even if the code was attempted to be ported.

In contrast Microsoft Office runs really well on Windows ARM/RT as the OS is robust enough to handle the needed functionality and is light enough to not get in the way.

The good news is that my current Win7 hardware is most likely powerful enough to keep me going until 2020.

Win7 is the next XP - I can guarantee demand until 2020 at least.

TsarNikky said,
Very well said and so true. Amen.
It's been mentioned so many times... If only Microsoft would listen to customer feedback.

68k said,
It's been mentioned so many times... If only Microsoft would listen to customer feedback.

They did. However, a whiney few isn't going to keep them from moving forward with their new "One" direction. Metro is here to stay.

Her young age is quite evident. Clearly, she hasn't figured out that one OS cannot work very well for three different and discrete hardware device form factors and their respective uses. Oh well!

You can have one semi-modular OS, with a UI that adapts to fit the form factor it is running on. Metro is already adaptable and flexible in its various guises. All we need is for it and the APIs to be merged, so instead of building the same thing 3 times, we build once, design adaptively, and run on many.

Why didn't Microsoft think of that in the first place? The concept is so obviously simple--very illustrative of European thinking. The US calls is "Keep It Simple Stupid."

TsarNikky said,
Why didn't Microsoft think of that in the first place? The concept is so obviously simple--very illustrative of European thinking. The US calls is "Keep It Simple Stupid."

But, that's what they ARE thinking. Metro is fully adaptable and modular. It's perfect for multiple devices.

We have had 3 separate teams working from the same design book, adapting the Metro design language to those form factors.

Now they have worked through the design implementations, and Xbox has launched, its time for the Windows groups to finally merge, and those UI designs and all the knowledge learnt about the form factors, can be put to use as a Single OS can be built.

Windows Vista started the work of breaking up Windows into small modules, and the NT Kernel. They are now at a point where Server, Embedded, Phone, Xbox, ARM, and Windows Client, are all built on a single core with components added and removed as needed.

The New Windows will be about defining which components are needed for each form factor of Windows. And a UI which knows what hardware and screen res and size it is running with, and can adapt to work best on each.

The API platform "WinRT, WinXRT, WinPRT" will be shared across all form factors for developers, so apps can be built for all, with UI that targets the form factor based on resolution, physical screen size, input methods.

hopefully they forcibly combine it with the xbox interface. in fact i think it would be brilliant to have an xbox360 patch that forces the metro interface to be just like the xbox one.

For PC - just give us 1 DVD, Dual-Layer if needed, with auto serial recognition. No more OEM, Upgrade, Enterprise (trial), Pro (4 DVDs needed, 8 for both 32 and 64 bit).

Ulpian said,
For PC - just give us 1 DVD, Dual-Layer if needed, with auto serial recognition. No more OEM, Upgrade, Enterprise (trial), Pro (4 DVDs needed, 8 for both 32 and 64 bit).

No, just four. Make it 64-bit only!!

Microsoft needs to kill SKUs, why bother with a Pro and Consumer edition and an Enterprise edition? Is joining a Domain and BitLocker that much of a premium?

I agree.

And if you were using your computer and purchasing a program, through this one store, the store could ask you if you wanted to download it to your phone and/or tablet as well; all at the same time.

That's what I would want + plus a fingerprint sensor in the trackpad and the home button in the mobile phone that could be the only thing necessary for logging into webpages, forum and such, not just to log into the phone like Apple does now (and yeah, I'm not a technical man, just a consumer, but this would be an ideal dreamworld for me)

So Win Phone and RT combined, like Apple, this makes perfect sense. So why come out with three OS's in the beginning then only to leave some users behind at some point? Thats a terrible customer experience and will cause issues for MS. Android is slowly eating away at Windows and moves like this will only help Windows become even less relevant.

derekaw said,
Android is slowly eating away at Windows and moves like this will only help Windows become even less relevant.

The traditional PC market seems to be shrinking, but there's nothing on the horizon that will undo Microsoft's dominance on the desktop. As for the mobile market, Android is now almost a monopoly (80%+ market share) with Windows Phone and Apple left fighting for the scraps. Android is hardly "eating away" at Windows on mobile; it's Windows in fact that finds itself in the unfamiliar territory of being a distant also-ran. Windows Phone may eclipse iOS, but something has to change drastically for it to dislodge Android from its lofty perch.

MS should leave desktop alone and stop forcing those crappy metro UI on desktop and do their experiment on Tablet and Phone front. They are flopped there anyways. I had currently installed OSX on hackintosh and it is so smooth and works perfectly. Apple will gain much market share if they allow OSX to run on any hardware. MS market dominance will be gone in just 2 years.

Auditor said,
MS should leave desktop alone and stop forcing those crappy metro UI on desktop and do their experiment on Tablet and Phone front. They are flopped there anyways. I had currently installed OSX on hackintosh and it is so smooth and works perfectly. Apple will gain much market share if they allow OSX to run on any hardware. MS market dominance will be gone in just 2 years.

Sure, every commercial business will swap to OSX and rewrite their LOB applications.
That will happen!

Stoffel said,

Sure, every commercial business will swap to OSX and rewrite their LOB applications.
That will happen!

Don't be so cynical about technological landscape. Things change here with a flip of an eye. There was not so long ago when Ballmer laughed his arse off hearing about iPhone with no keypad and soon afterward laughed at Android as another poor attempt by Linux.

If MS push envelope enough and business as well as people get better alternative then it is damn sure businesses will rewrite their LOB applications.

Auditor said,
MS should leave desktop alone and stop forcing those crappy metro UI on desktop and do their experiment on Tablet and Phone front. They are flopped there anyways. I had currently installed OSX on hackintosh and it is so smooth and works perfectly. Apple will gain much market share if they allow OSX to run on any hardware. MS market dominance will be gone in just 2 years.

Except Apple DON'T allow hackintoshs/clones, we know this already!!

Auditor said,
MS should leave desktop alone and stop forcing those crappy metro UI on desktop and do their experiment on Tablet and Phone front. They are flopped there anyways. I had currently installed OSX on hackintosh and it is so smooth and works perfectly. Apple will gain much market share if they allow OSX to run on any hardware. MS market dominance will be gone in just 2 years.

... And then you woke up.

Auditor said,

Don't be so cynical about technological landscape. Things change here with a flip of an eye. There was not so long ago when Ballmer laughed his arse off hearing about iPhone with no keypad and soon afterward laughed at Android as another poor attempt by Linux.

If MS push envelope enough and business as well as people get better alternative then it is damn sure businesses will rewrite their LOB applications.

Of course, by then they'll be re-writing them for the Metro UI.

Dot Matrix said,

Of course, by then they'll be re-writing them for the Metro UI.

Go get yourself a coffee as your mind is still sleeping.

Dot Matrix said,

Of course, by then they'll be re-writing them for the Metro UI.

I agree with you. But I think they will be Metro UI running in desktop because that is just better. And I also think the full tablets (Miix2, venue 8 pro, encore) running windows 8 pro will start to dominate because its so powerful and fit the small form factor well =).

Auditor said,
MS should leave desktop alone and stop forcing those crappy metro UI on desktop and do their experiment on Tablet and Phone front. They are flopped there anyways. I had currently installed OSX on hackintosh and it is so smooth and works perfectly. Apple will gain much market share if they allow OSX to run on any hardware. MS market dominance will be gone in just 2 years.

You do realize Apple (like others) are still copying both the looks and features from the 'Metro' UI.

If you look at the iOS feature changes in the last three years, they are mimicking Windows Phone more than they are copying from Android and more than they are implementing their own new ideas.

Even the multi-tasking model Apple uses is a bastardized version of the WP7/8 model which is HEAVILY a 'Metro UI' designed device.

There is a benefit to having one device or one OS that does everything you need and NOT compromising.

The subtle 'lie' Apple makes about needing different OSes for desktops/notebooks and tablets/phone is they imply users have to give up performance or functionality, and this is simply not true. Windows 8 on ARM is faster than iOS on ARM, and yet it is the full desktop OS. If Apple could have gotten OS X to run on ARM, it would have been the OS of the iPad, not a scaled up iOS.

Ironically, Microsoft currently separates the Phone from the Tablet/Desktop in their OS model, and Apple calls this silly/confused Yet Apple separates their Desktop from the Phone/Tablet and calls their SAME confusion 'logical'.

However, if you look at a tablet, it has more in common with a desktop/notebook than it does a phone. Which is the SAME direction as Microsoft when Apple originally wanted to get OS X on the iPad.

Right now Apple is fighting as they can't get the same level of performance out of their iPad than Microsoft can get out of Windows RT running on comparable hardware - yet Windows RT is running the full desktop OS and desktop versions of Office.

This is the black eye Apple is facing internally while keeping this from public perception at all costs. They can't even get a watered down version of iWorks to run well, let alone as fast as something as rich and code complex as Microsoft Office that runs easily on Windows RT on a slower class of ARM CPUs.


Auditor said,

Don't be so cynical about technological landscape. Things change here with a flip of an eye.

So Microsoft should remain the same, but not anyone else? Got it.

Scabrat said,

I agree with you. But I think they will be Metro UI running in desktop because that is just better. And I also think the full tablets (Miix2, venue 8 pro, encore) running windows 8 pro will start to dominate because its so powerful and fit the small form factor well =).

No, Metro apps will not run in the desktop. You won't even have the desktop on WinRT much longer, and to retain uniformity, Metro apps will always be run from the Start Screen.

Dot Matrix said,

No, Metro apps will not run in the desktop. You won't even have the desktop on WinRT much longer, and to retain uniformity, Metro apps will always be run from the Start Screen.

I thought metro apps could utilize the desktop if they were signed. Like Office and Microsoft stuff for Metro. Maybe I am wrong in that. But I know Chrome can run metro but needs desktop to work so you can have Chrome on a full tablet but not an RT one.

My point really was to mean that I see metro apps taking off but only if they get full access like a standard program. But their UI will be shaped more for touch. More access, more permissions, more powerful apps (also, more malware chances). That is where I see it going. Metro will exist but I think and hope they use the GUI and ditch the store idea. Let me download what I want, where I want, and from whom I want. =)

Scabrat said,

I thought metro apps could utilize the desktop if they were signed. Like Office and Microsoft stuff for Metro. Maybe I am wrong in that. But I know Chrome can run metro but needs desktop to work so you can have Chrome on a full tablet but not an RT one.

My point really was to mean that I see metro apps taking off but only if they get full access like a standard program. But their UI will be shaped more for touch. More access, more permissions, more powerful apps (also, more malware chances). That is where I see it going. Metro will exist but I think and hope they use the GUI and ditch the store idea. Let me download what I want, where I want, and from whom I want. =)

No. Metro apps do not run from the desktop, and that is by design. That's not changing at all. There's also no going back to "free downloading". It creates too much security risks.

Dot Matrix said,

No. Metro apps do not run from the desktop, and that is by design. That's not changing at all. There's also no going back to "free downloading". It creates too much security risks.

MS will be separating Metro UI from desktop in a future and there is no doubt about it. Metro UI is an experiment which went wrong. Touch might work in consumer landscape but in productive environment it is going to be a flop. MS will continue to pump money in this garbage for a while but at some point they will quietly drop it.

Metro is another Bob for MS.

Auditor said,

MS will be separating Metro UI from desktop in a future and there is no doubt about it. Metro UI is an experiment which went wrong. Touch might work in consumer landscape but in productive environment it is going to be a flop. MS will continue to pump money in this garbage for a while but at some point they will quietly drop it.

Metro is another Bob for MS.

Really, what's it like in your version of the future then?

Dot Matrix said,

No. Metro apps do not run from the desktop, and that is by design. That's not changing at all. There's also no going back to "free downloading". It creates too much security risks.

If metro apps dont use desktop then download Chrome on your Surface RT. Cause I can get the metro chrome on my desktop but not any RT tablet. I think that is the future. "Free download" and low security risk is a style of OS. But in my opinion, the wave of the future is full Windows tablets that allow store and free downloaded apps and disregards security risk. I dont think Windows cares about "security risk" as much as their bottom line which is the primary point of an ecosystem store.

You may be right though. Who really knows? The future of technology is hard to predict =).

Scabrat said,

If metro apps dont use desktop then download Chrome on your Surface RT. Cause I can get the metro chrome on my desktop but not any RT tablet. I think that is the future. "Free download" and low security risk is a style of OS. But in my opinion, the wave of the future is full Windows tablets that allow store and free downloaded apps and disregards security risk. I dont think Windows cares about "security risk" as much as their bottom line which is the primary point of an ecosystem store.

You may be right though. Who really knows? The future of technology is hard to predict =).

There is no such thing as "metro Chrome". The thing you're calling "metro Chrome" is nothing more than Google shoehorning their crap into the browser.

Auditor said,

MS will be separating Metro UI from desktop in a future and there is no doubt about it. Metro UI is an experiment which went wrong. Touch might work in consumer landscape but in productive environment it is going to be a flop. MS will continue to pump money in this garbage for a while but at some point they will quietly drop it.

Metro is another Bob for MS.

Another Bob? Right, what planet do you live on again?

Auditor said,

MS will be separating Metro UI from desktop in a future and there is no doubt about it. Metro UI is an experiment which went wrong. Touch might work in consumer landscape but in productive environment it is going to be a flop. MS will continue to pump money in this garbage for a while but at some point they will quietly drop it.

Metro is another Bob for MS.

Create all the anecdotes you can think of. Literally nobody in my group of family or friends dislikes the way Windows is going. If it wasn't reverted in 8.1 it's not going to be. As I said, (although briefly, ) in the forums a few months ago.... you want Linux, not Windows. Feel free to recompile and tweak it until it's exactly what you want, but it's not a consumer product and likely never will be.

Auditor said,

MS will be separating Metro UI from desktop in a future and there is no doubt about it. Metro UI is an experiment which went wrong. Touch might work in consumer landscape but in productive environment it is going to be a flop. MS will continue to pump money in this garbage for a while but at some point they will quietly drop it.

Metro is another Bob for MS.

Also, Metro != touch only.

Dot Matrix said,

There is no such thing as "metro Chrome". The thing you're calling "metro Chrome" is nothing more than Google shoehorning their crap into the browser.

Exactly. It displays and opens in metro =). I am pretty sure its a metro app, but not a store app.

Eric said,

Create all the anecdotes you can think of. Literally nobody in my group of family or friends dislikes the way Windows is going. If it wasn't reverted in 8.1 it's not going to be. As I said, (although briefly, ) in the forums a few months ago.... you want Linux, not Windows. Feel free to recompile and tweak it until it's exactly what you want, but it's not a consumer product and likely never will be.

I agree. I love windows 8.1. Its way more user friendly than 8 was and I love the metro concept too. I love the idea of the Dell Venue Pro 8 and the Lenovo Miix2.

I also run 8.1 at work, total desktop environment and love it. Metro doesnt get in the way of my productivity at all. Its all pretty great imo.

Dot Matrix said,

Another Bob? Right, what planet do you live on again?

The same planet from where Zune, Kin, & Billion dollar write off coming from a failed product. Time has changed and MS is so clueless. They can't hide their failure from their financial statement forever. Since now they are killing their cash cows by plastering metro crap everywhere; the cycle of failure has sped up.

Auditor said,

The same planet from where Zune, Kin, & Billion dollar write off coming from a failed product. Time has changed and MS is so clueless. They can't hide their failure from their financial statement forever. Since now they are killing their cash cows by plastering metro crap everywhere; the cycle of failure has sped up.

Surface didn't fail. Surface 2, Surface Pro 2, and both original units continue to sell. Microsoft is also at work planning Surface 3.

Auditor said,

The same planet from where Zune, Kin, & Billion dollar write off coming from a failed product. Time has changed and MS is so clueless. They can't hide their failure from their financial statement forever. Since now they are killing their cash cows by plastering metro crap everywhere; the cycle of failure has sped up.

Lol. We will all be laughing at this comment in 2014 =). Metro isnt crap. And some projects fail but others projects MS have are very, very successful. Maybe their financials aren't failing because they aren't failing...

Dot Matrix said,

Of course, by then they'll be re-writing them for the Metro UI.

Metro, as well as Windows, is a name. Check how much Windows changed from V1 to nowadays. We will see how Metro looks and acts in a couple of years...

Dot Matrix said,

Surface didn't fail. Surface 2, Surface Pro 2, and both original units continue to sell. Microsoft is also at work planning Surface 3.

If you think Surface 1 or overall Surface is not a fail even after billion dollar write off and poor adaptation rate even after throwing so much money in gutter then you definition of failure is totally different than accepted norms. Of course MS will keep producing these things as they have vast amount of money to throw but that does not mean it is successful product.

Scabrat said,

Lol. We will all be laughing at this comment in 2014 =). Metro isnt crap. And some projects fail but others projects MS have are very, very successful. Maybe their financials aren't failing because they aren't failing...

You are talking like that some miracle is going to happen in 2014. Of course Ballmer is getting booted out and I hope they put back someone really sensible and consumer centric approach for the Windows division.

Auditor said,

You are talking like that some miracle is going to happen in 2014. Of course Ballmer is getting booted out and I hope they put back someone really sensible and consumer centric approach for the Windows division.

Keep dreaming. Microsoft is set for the next 5-10 years.

Dot Matrix said,

Keep dreaming. Microsoft is set for the next 5-10 years.

Yup after that it will be lost in crowd like Xerox, IBM etc if they don't change their current course of action.

Auditor said,

Yup after that it will be lost in crowd like Xerox, IBM etc if they don't change their current course of action.

The point is they ARE changing course. Integrating department communication, expanding their markets, entering /focusing on mobile, cloud infrastructure, expanding living room integration, etc, etc, etc. Relax man =). They are changing course and it doesnt matter what Metro was now. Its about what it will be in the future and if they stay on this course its going to be awesome! Its already great =). 8.1 brought about a lot of improvements. Whatever is next will bring more.

Also, not sure about Xerox but IBM seems to be doing ok for themselves =).

Auditor said,

Yup after that it will be lost in crowd like Xerox, IBM etc if they don't change their current course of action.

Not sure what you're getting at, but the fact that Microsoft has changed their course and developing One Microsoft, and unified device experiences is preventing them from falling out of the market. You think that by going back to Windows 7, PC sales will suddenly skyrocket, and people will just ditch mobile devices?

Sorry, but you're quite delusional.

Auditor said,

You are talking like that some miracle is going to happen in 2014. Of course Ballmer is getting booted out and I hope they put back someone really sensible and consumer centric approach for the Windows division.

"Ballmer is getting booted out"

Actually he's retiring but keep drinking the Kool-Aid if you want!!

neo158 said,

"Ballmer is getting booted out"

Actually he's retiring but keep drinking the Kool-Aid if you want!!

Yeah Ballmer is retiring since his kid started going to college as he had previously indicated and MS board had to rush to find new CEO. If you want politically correct answer then yes he is retiring but if you want real answer then he is getting booted out.

Dot Matrix said,

Not sure what you're getting at, but the fact that Microsoft has changed their course and developing One Microsoft, and unified device experiences is preventing them from falling out of the market. You think that by going back to Windows 7, PC sales will suddenly skyrocket, and people will just ditch mobile devices?

Sorry, but you're quite delusional.

You are right about MS changing the course but they are changing it in wrong direction. They are going to hit the iceberg. MS should stop bastardizing desktop and stop pushing Metro on Desktop. If they want bring Metro to tablet only and leave the desktop alone.

Auditor said,

You are right about MS changing the course but they are changing it in wrong direction. They are going to hit the iceberg. MS should stop bastardizing desktop and stop pushing Metro on Desktop. If they want bring Metro to tablet only and leave the desktop alone.

While I understand the sentiment about the desktop, Windows 8.1 has done a nice job at smoothing out the desktop experience. Booting into desktop was a nice start. And the start button back made it less confusing. But having power user options when you right click the start button remained an awesome feature to accessing most of what you use the start menu for besides programs.

I could see how some people wouldn't like the layout of the new start menu. I prefer it as I can have category of apps, and visually see all my programs I may want to use. But it did take some customizing as well.

But its nice to have Metro access on the desktop. I like to be able to use any of the W8 store apps =).

Auditor said,

You are right about MS changing the course but they are changing it in wrong direction. They are going to hit the iceberg. MS should stop bastardizing desktop and stop pushing Metro on Desktop. If they want bring Metro to tablet only and leave the desktop alone.

Like it or not, the desktop has evolved beyond mouse only controls. This isn't the 90s anymore.

Auditor said,

Yeah Ballmer is retiring since his kid started going to college as he had previously indicated and MS board had to rush to find new CEO. If you want politically correct answer then yes he is retiring but if you want real answer then he is getting booted out.

The real answer is he's retiring. The only reality in which he got "booted" is in your head.

neo158 said,

"Ballmer is getting booted out"

Actually he's retiring but keep drinking the Kool-Aid if you want!!


Yes he is retiring but.... much sooner than he previously announced. The reality is that none of us here seat in the BOD and if someone did would not talk about it.
Bottom line: we just speculate about what is happening.

Dot Matrix said,

Like it or not, the desktop has evolved beyond mouse only controls. This isn't the 90s anymore.


The fact is that the desktop evolved much earlier than now with the introduction of Touch; it evolved in 2002 with the introduction of the Tablet PC and the use of a pen and handwriting.

Fritzly said,

The fact is that the desktop evolved much earlier than now with the introduction of Touch; it evolved in 2002 with the introduction of the Tablet PC and the use of a pen and handwriting.

True, and our operating systems didn't evolve to match the hardware. Now they're beginning to.

Dot Matrix said,

True, and our operating systems didn't evolve to match the hardware. Now they're beginning to.

Touch is only good for some basic consumption and it will never replace the much efficient keyboard and mouse input for real productive work. The only reason Metro UI is sitting on desktop is because MS tried to shove it to desktop customer as they knew otherwise no one will touch Metro with a 10 feet pole.

Metro UI on desktop is a fail and the low adaptation of Metro UI on desktop is a proof of that point. You can refute this fact all what you want but the success of Start menu programs shows that not many people want this metro abomination on their desktop, including me.

I am curious, why the debate is always focused on keyboard+mouse over Touch? I have been using a tablet PC since launch, around 2002, and I found myself using more and more the pen; I handwrite emails and the OS turn the ink in text, using the pen I have no problem whatsoever to access all Office commands as well in any other part of the OS. When I use my Convertible Tablet in its Tablet form I do not use very often use both keyboard and mouse and Touch.

Auditor said,

Touch is only good for some basic consumption and it will never replace the much efficient keyboard and mouse input for real productive work. The only reason Metro UI is sitting on desktop is because MS tried to shove it to desktop customer as they knew otherwise no one will touch Metro with a 10 feet pole.

Metro UI on desktop is a fail and the low adaptation of Metro UI on desktop is a proof of that point. You can refute this fact all what you want but the success of Start menu programs shows that not many people want this metro abomination on their desktop, including me.

Refute what facts? Because I see none in your posts.

Dot Matrix said,

Refute what facts? Because I see none in your posts.

Do you see the billion dollar write off fact. Now draw some logical conclusion based on that fact. I am sure you will be lost but don't worry I will guide you in right direction. Use your matrix power without dot.

Auditor said,

Do you see the billion dollar write off fact. Now draw some logical conclusion based on that fact. I am sure you will be lost but don't worry I will guide you in right direction. Use your matrix power without dot.

That write off has no correlation to Metro whatsoever.

Dot Matrix said,

That write off has no correlation to Metro whatsoever.

LOL.. see I knew you will have difficulty in find correlation. Do you care to explain why write off has no correlation to Metro. In fact write off was related to Surface which was heavily promoting the Metro.

It was due to demand not matching how many were produced. You'd have to do some mental gymnastics to say that it was due to the start menu interface, but you're free to it if you want to do the work.

In reality, Microsoft released a product in direct competition with the market leader (Apple and the iPad line), and overestimated how many people would want to buy a non-iPad tablet without at least some app/software parity, peripherals, and thus you get a write-down. However, I see it as the chicken and egg conundrum - if you don't get hardware out that runs the software, you won't have anyone to purchase/download apps from the store. If no one grabs apps from the store, you have no need to sell your WinRT devices, because you need apps for them to be useful in the minds of some consumers. I am going to go out on a pretty sturdy limb and assume the loss was calculated, although the extent was unknown and would need to be chanced to find out how much effort and change it would take to beat other tablet OSes at their own game. I have no actual insight, but it seems logical given the doubling-down even after the loss, and the improvements to the Surface 2 device compared to the original, while still running Windows RT.

I personally use a Surface as a daily driver, because it's a work device that can also consume media, and browse to sites that don't have apps (it's few and far between for me, but there still exist pockets where the browser is used because an app doesn't exist). I'm sure there are people out there who will rail at a more interactive, more ergonomic way to use the start menu (especially on larger screens with higher PPI) because it's not what they've learned and are familiar with, but there were people who didn't like UIs, didn't like object-oriented development, didn't like relational databases, etc. Those people are free to hold onto the past, but it won't stop the future.

I don't know if the new start menu/modern/metro interface will be the touch interface that "wins" (although I do hope it is), but a keyboard/mouse centric world will not be the norm in time, perhaps even a short time. Mobile devices are what consumers want, by and large, and that's where the lion's share of the computing market will drive revenue. Expect everyone who makes consumer-level hardware to go there in time, and even in the enterprise space it's starting to gain momentum.

I agree with some of your points but not all of them. You are economically right about supply and demand but the product which can't even reach break even point and incur such a heavy loss is definitely a failure. If we go by your definition of supply and demand then no product can be called fail because you will say the same thing that they overproduced more than they can sell.

A product is declared fail when it does not resonate with majority of customers. Establishment of Apple and Android certainly did not help the cause of MS tablet strategy and it will be still a long way to go for MS to gain healthy market share in phone and tablet market.

Surface has nothing new to offer than what competitor could. The overwhelming success of tablet is portability and ease of use. MS tried to distinguish itself that you can run desktop applications on tablet. It is right but which consumer in his right mind going to be spending doing majority of productive work on tiny 10 inch screen. Watching youtube video, checking email, and playing some casual games are the stronghold of tablet and some minor text editing and basic productive work are some added bonus but if you say you are going to spend entire day working on tablet analyzing financial statement then that is not going to happen.

I am not opposed of MS venturing in to tablet but I strongly oppose them plastering tablet interface on desktop. One to fit all strategy is an utter failure and most of the analyst and user see this but it is MS who refuse to see it. MS first laugh at competitors and when they see they were wrong they provide knee jerk reaction and screw up the whole thing.

Metro on desktop is MS last ditch attempt to leverage their monopoly and they are failing everywhere. The high price point of the device is not helping their cause either. It is very common for supporters of MS current tablet strategy to say that touch is the future. Oh yeah, it has the future but of totally different market segment. People will use touch in future but it will be still in very limited fashion. Touch will work in mobile and tablet arena but for real prolonged world it will be utter failure.

MS second attempt at Surface 2 does not seems to be making any progress either and it is because Microsoft doesn't understand what consumers want. The company drones endlessly about choices, power, and Office. Consumers, meanwhile, want a product that's capable, yet also accessible and enjoyable. They've already heard Microsoft's rallying cry of “productivity!” and said “no thanks.” There's no reason to think shouting it louder a second time will change anyone's mind. MS tablet strategy is direction and clueless. What they are producing is a confused product with identity crisis and worst of all MS are more more confused that their customers who are deciding which device to buy.

Edited by Auditor, Nov 26 2013, 5:49pm :

Auditor said,

MS second attempt at Surface 2 does not seems to be making any progress either and it is because Microsoft doesn't understand what consumers want. The company drones endlessly about choices, power, and Office. Consumers, meanwhile, want a product that's capable, yet also accessible and enjoyable. They've already heard Microsoft's rallying cry of “productivity!” and said “no thanks.” There's no reason to think shouting it louder a second time will change anyone's mind. MS tablet strategy is direction and clueless. What they are producing is a confused product with identity crisis and worst of all MS are more more confused that their customers who are deciding which device to buy.

I think they know what they are doing. They are not trying to sell a boatload of devices because they could do that. Wasn't the Surface project about inspiring and making the OEMs step up to the plate and design better hardware? They keep Surface RTs alive for the RT platform. And Surface Pro alive as a benchmark (which the pro seems to be doing well). But the results are not Surfaces selling. Its companies like Lenovo who are making awesome Windows machines and increasing profits.

Auditor said,
I agree with some of your points but not all of them. You are economically right about supply and demand but the product which can't even reach break even point and incur such a heavy loss is definitely a failure. If we go by your definition of supply and demand then no product can be called fail because you will say the same thing that they overproduced more than they can sell.

But Microsoft didn't give up on it. It's still selling, and still being developed for and supported. Therefore, it's not a failure.

A product is declared fail when it does not resonate with majority of customers. Establishment of Apple and Android certainly did not help the cause of MS tablet strategy and it will be still a long way to go for MS to gain healthy market share in phone and tablet market.

Auditor said,

Surface has nothing new to offer than what competitor could.

Surface offers a whole lot more than competing products to. It's expandable, and that is a HUGE benefit over the iPad, and cheap Android tablets.

Auditor said,
The overwhelming success of tablet is portability and ease of use. MS tried to distinguish itself that you can run desktop applications on tablet. It is right but which consumer in his right mind going to be spending doing majority of productive work on tiny 10 inch screen. Watching youtube video, checking email, and playing some casual games are the stronghold of tablet and some minor text editing and basic productive work are some added bonus but if you say you are going to spend entire day working on tablet analyzing financial statement then that is not going to happen.

Nearly 70% of my work is done on my Surface. I'm a student, and I need a portable machine capable of doing serious work. Again, see above about the expandability of the Surface.

Auditor said,
I am not opposed of MS venturing in to tablet but I strongly oppose them plastering tablet interface on desktop. One to fit all strategy is an utter failure and most of the analyst and user see this but it is MS who refuse to see it. MS first laugh at competitors and when they see they were wrong they provide knee jerk reaction and screw up the whole thing.

It's not plastered. It's baked in. It's designed to provide a common UX, and expand upon the features of the OS. Face it, you would never have gotten the features of the Start Screen in the Start Menu no matter how hard you tried, it just would never have worked. The Start Menu was designed for the long defunct desktop PC era.

Auditor said,
Metro on desktop is MS last ditch attempt to leverage their monopoly and they are failing everywhere. The high price point of the device is not helping their cause either. It is very common for supporters of MS current tablet strategy to say that touch is the future. Oh yeah, it has the future but of totally different market segment. People will use touch in future but it will be still in very limited fashion. Touch will work in mobile and tablet arena but for real prolonged world it will be utter failure.

Microsoft isn't leveraging anything, again, Metro is designed to provide a common UX. The high price of the SUrface is expected. It's a top shelf product. If you want cheap, Walgreens has the perfect tablet for you. Touch isn't going anywhere, and is here to stay. It's in our lives, and many here can't go a single day without interacting with a touch device of some kind. Then there's the fact that many undeveloped input devices which still have yet to be conceived. What happens to our UIs then? There's more to computing than pointing and clicking on tiny UI controls. That is a system of a defunct era, as I said above.

Auditor said,
MS second attempt at Surface 2 does not seems to be making any progress either and it is because Microsoft doesn't understand what consumers want. The company drones endlessly about choices, power, and Office. Consumers, meanwhile, want a product that's capable, yet also accessible and enjoyable. They've already heard Microsoft's rallying cry of “productivity!” and said “no thanks.” There's no reason to think shouting it louder a second time will change anyone's mind. MS tablet strategy is direction and clueless. What they are producing is a confused product with identity crisis and worst of all MS are more more confused that their customers who are deciding which device to buy.

People always say "no thanks", it's a symptom you're never going to fix, so there's no point in trying. That isn't going to stop people from moving things forward. The 90s are done. There's no point in clinging to outdated ideals.

So you definition of failure is when some one stops selling product then only it can be declared fail. Not making any profit and not being able to sell it to masses successfully does not declare fail in your books. If you think MS got such a successful product in their hand then why don't they declare the sales number.

Table is a consumer device for consumption. I have yet to see any one exclusively using it for heavy productive work. You are a student and can use it for typing your assignment but I am an accountant and I can't even think about doing all my financial analysis on this tiny touch device. Things I can do with keyboard and mouse in an hour will take me whole day even if try to do it on tablet. So productivity definition for you is different than mine.

Not everyone need USB connected to their device. MS is trying to create a solution of non existing problem. No customer has demanded that USB must be there for expandability. If consumer required this feature then I am sure other tablet manufacturer who are selling millions in each quarter would have made some kind of arrangement for expandability.

You are mistaken with high price and usability of product. High price has nothing to do with productivity or usability. You like touch it is fine with me. I don't care whether you can go without touch a single day but there are also many people who don't need touch input.

MS is in business to sell product and if majority of people are saying " no thanks" then it means the vision needs to be corrected. MS has been in this touch business since 2000s and was never able to get it right. It was Apple which perfected the input. MS simply follows. MS is not a leader but a follower and whatever they are trying to copy, they are failing miserably.

I worked part time in BB and there are many customer who I talked to they despise Metro UI. Last year, people like you were saying give Metro a chance and once people learn it then they will love it. It has been a year and I don't see any change in people's preference toward Metro. Many people still hate it and Surface 2 is nothing but another version of confused device which not many people lining up for sale.

MS got deep pocket and they will keep producing this abomination in future but that does not mean they will be really making much money of it which is ultimate goal of MS or any other company. Ballmer got kicked out and I am sure new CEO will have some different vision for the MS. Till then you keep loving your Surface as I am sure in future MS is going to drop it like Kin or Zune.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
I bet Windows is going to combine Windows RT and Windows Phone into one OS like Android.

Except Android is a mobile OS. Windows RT is nearly functionally identical to a full desktop/server class OS.

Even WP is closer to a full desktop class OS than Android or iOS.

Mobius Enigma said,

Except Android is a mobile OS. Windows RT is nearly functionally identical to a full desktop/server class OS.

Even WP is closer to a full desktop class OS than Android or iOS.

Exactly. I'm hoping Windows ARM tablets will be allowed to run full Windows 8 (for ARM) instead of being stuck with a locked-down OS.

The way she phrased the statement seems to indicate that they're moving to use the more open and flexible "full windows" in more places, not the other way around.

domboy said,

Exactly. I'm hoping Windows ARM tablets will be allowed to run full Windows 8 (for ARM) instead of being stuck with a locked-down OS.

The way she phrased the statement seems to indicate that they're moving to use the more open and flexible "full windows" in more places, not the other way around.

I actually agree, that Microsoft should allow this and publically provide VS tools for ARM.

However, the problem is developers won't take time to move away from Win32, which needs to happen. This is why I could honestly argue this both ways, leaning towards a full ARM experience if the device maker allows it.

I can see it now. Windows RT for phones and tablets. Windows RT Pro for professionals. Windows 8 for more freedom and power. Windows 8 Pro for professionals. Windows 8 Ultimate for every need you have. Windows 8 Hamburger in case you get hungry. Windows 8 Commuter so it can drive you to work...

a1ien said,
Linux on your desktop, Windows on your phone, iOS on your tablet.

For me, it would be: Linux on desktop, Android or Linux on phone, Linux or Android on tablet. No Win & IOS

I guessing in 5 years we probably won't have a phone, desktop and tablet. Android phones would probably come with 8GB of RAM by then. Android, Ubuntu or some other Linux distro will have a flavour that runs a trimmed down version in phone mode, and runs a full blown desktop when docked to a bigger monitor. We probably won't have a tablet, but rather something like Google glass.

recursive said,
I guessing in 5 years we probably won't have a phone, desktop and tablet. Android phones would probably come with 8GB of RAM by then. Android, Ubuntu or some other Linux distro will have a flavour that runs a trimmed down version in phone mode, and runs a full blown desktop when docked to a bigger monitor. We probably won't have a tablet, but rather something like Google glass.

...and then you woke up

Nah, more like Windows on your TV (Xbox), your AIO, desktop, laptop, hybrid, phone and wearables. I don't think android will last the decade.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
What on earth would a phone need 8GB of ram for? A lot of phones work fine under 1gb of ram right now.

"640KB should be enough for everyone" Springs to mind about now...

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
What on earth would a phone need 8GB of ram for?

In five years time, our smartphones will be like PCs (similar to the Ubuntu Edge phone).

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
What on earth would a phone need 8GB of ram for? A lot of phones work fine under 1gb of ram right now.

Have you used Android lately?

I think the point was is users are moving to a single device to do everything in their life, from gaming and work to answer calls. To achieve this, devices will need to be as functional as the higher end systems they are replacing.

I have to disagree with the OP as Android would not be the best solution, even with 2gb/4gb Android phones/Tablets are running slower than WP8 and Windows 8.1 devices running on the same hardware.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
What on earth would a phone need 8GB of ram for? A lot of phones work fine under 1gb of ram right now.

This kind of logic is really, truly, unbelievably annoying. Especially on a tech site.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
What on earth would a phone need 8GB of ram for? A lot of phones work fine under 1gb of ram right now.

Haha, didn't we learn anything from history's failed RAM predictions?

There will of course be 8 GB phones, unless something radical changes in hardware evolution that hasn't changed since the birth of ENIAC in 1946.

Smartphones and tablets will take most of the role of desktops today (so they won't just get 8 GB RAM, they will *need* it) especially when iOS and Android evolve to better support peripherals and external monitors, and desktops will become rare commodities for niche stuff. Not even gaming, since we have game consoles for that, which have always eaten into the PC gaming market quite a bit. It'll become even more noticeable when tiny game consoles become always-on, always-connected "home entertainment" centers. The Xbox One is only the beginning.

Edited by Northgrove, Nov 25 2013, 1:17pm :

So RT and Windows Phone are going to merge?
We all knew it was going to be the case at some point as they are basically the same hardware in a different form factor...it would be even better if it was just one with the same API set working on all the different types of hardware. I know that isn't easy to achieve, but I sure hope it's where they are going.

I hope so too. I think they are. Didnt they merge the Phone and RT developer accounts? I think they are going that way. Hopefully they add XBone into that too .

Thief000 said,
So RT and Windows Phone are going to merge?
We all knew it was going to be the case at some point as they are basically the same hardware in a different form factor...it would be even better if it was just one with the same API set working on all the different types of hardware. I know that isn't easy to achieve, but I sure hope it's where they are going.

This was announced sometime last year I believe, with WP8.1 App APIs becoming over 80% identical to WinRT API Apps. Even then, the majority of the 20% differences are in phone specific features.

After WP8.1, we should expect the next version of Windows and Windows Phone will be close if not fully 100% compatible. This means WP API features will be added to Windows and more WinRT layers will be added WP.

The Xbox One and Xbox 360 are still somewhat unknown as to how much Microsoft is going to bring back from the Xbox specific API features to Windows - or at least how soon. (Joystick UI support, Kinect features, etc in Win8 Apps.) The XB360 may not get any additional framework App parity.

This shouldn't be a surprise, WP and Windows RT will become the same thing in time, that cuts it down to 2 versions. After that when WinRT and it's APIs grow more and become more feature rich to where old Win32 isn't needed as much they can start to make it all one version of Windows that will just dynamically adjust to the device type it's installed on.

George P said,
This shouldn't be a surprise, WP and Windows RT will become the same thing in time, that cuts it down to 2 versions. After that when WinRT and it's APIs grow more and become more feature rich to where old Win32 isn't needed as much they can start to make it all one version of Windows that will just dynamically adjust to the device type it's installed on.
While I do belive that Windows Phone and Windows RT will merge to 1, I think that the OS that comes from that merge, will have to do a step aside in the next fase, in favor of Windows' main branch. Hardware is becoming powerful, energy friendly, etc. enough to maintain this.

recursive said,
Assuming anyone still remembers what Windows is by then.

Even if Windows disappeared tomorrow it would be remembered for decades.

I mean, jeez, right this second there's somebody in a forum somewhere typing up a post whining that things would've been better if OS/2 had stuck around.

The best thing you can do for a product's memory is discontinue it.

Studio384 said,
While I do belive that Windows Phone and Windows RT will merge to 1, I think that the OS that comes from that merge, will have to do a step aside in the next fase, in favor of Windows' main branch. Hardware is becoming powerful, energy friendly, etc. enough to maintain this.

I don't think we'll see full x86 Windows on anything mobile. There's still so much legacy code and security disadvantages that come with it that it doesn't fit really. My expectation is that one version will be the end result but it'll be able to just install the parts needed. So on phone we get none of the legacy bits. Those can be part of a Windows Pro sku.

George P said,

I don't think we'll see full x86 Windows on anything mobile. There's still so much legacy code and security disadvantages that come with it that it doesn't fit really. My expectation is that one version will be the end result but it'll be able to just install the parts needed. So on phone we get none of the legacy bits. Those can be part of a Windows Pro sku.

Agreed. I think ARM versions of Windows will still have a place in the mobile sector that ARM processors dominate already, I think WP and RT will merge and the only difference will be the UI depending on the device.

George P said,

I don't think we'll see full x86 Windows on anything mobile. There's still so much legacy code and security disadvantages that come with it that it doesn't fit really. My expectation is that one version will be the end result but it'll be able to just install the parts needed. So on phone we get none of the legacy bits. Those can be part of a Windows Pro sku.

Odd. I'd call the Dell Venue Pro (among others) mobile. If you mean we won't see x86 phones, well, maybe. But I don't see it as a stretch especially if allow VOIP solutions in the definition.

George P said,

I don't think we'll see full x86 Windows on anything mobile. There's still so much legacy code and security disadvantages that come with it that it doesn't fit really. My expectation is that one version will be the end result but it'll be able to just install the parts needed. So on phone we get none of the legacy bits. Those can be part of a Windows Pro sku.

I have to disagree...

The 'legacy' code you are worrying about is rather compartmentalized in Windows due to the nature of the OS model. i.e. WP8 in theory could load the full WinSxS subsystem and run desktop class software for ARM if Microsoft allowed it, and when the software was closed, the supporting code would no longer be running or consume ARM. (Oddly if they did this, people could complain that Office on the Desktop was too tiny to use well creating more complaints than helping sell the platform.)

Even legacy hardware support has a minimal effect. The same is true of device and software support at higher levels.

If the services, drivers, framework or even the subsystem is not needed, nothing has to be 'preloaded' or running until the user has need for upper dependency software and even then when the user is done, all the lower level supporting features are dynamically unloaded.

As one person already mentioned devices like the Dell Venue 8 Pro are very mobile devices, are x86 and are performing better than the same devices running a mobile only OS with no legacy support like Android. (With its 'real' Stylus, a lot of users are running the full versions of Photoshop and Illustrator and this is an iPad Mini size device.)
http://www.dell.com/us/p/dell-venue-8-pro/pd


Too often people conflate how Windows is designed with how other OSes are designed and assumes that to support feature XYZ that the OS needs to have more running.

This is just not how it works.

Forjo said,

If you mean we won't see x86 phones, well, maybe.

But we already have x86 Android phones from Intel, so why not x86 Windows phones as well?

Romero said,

But we already have x86 Android phones from Intel, so why not x86 Windows phones as well?

Because a phone like that would run on current batteries with a full charge for approximately 10 minutes before they have to be plugged in.

Ah, I missed the "full" part of your initial comment. Yes, full x86 Windows, desktop and all, makes no sense on a small form factor device. Like you said there's no reason why a future single Windows version for multiple devices couldn't be suitably modularized such that only the required subsystems are loaded and executed on a phone with limited battery capacity, small screen etc.

recursive said,

Because a phone like that would run on current batteries with a full charge for approximately 10 minutes before they have to be plugged in.

Why do you still think this? People have given you example after example that this is just not true.

Intel's power consumption of their latest Atom x86 CPUs are close to ARM CPUs, and exceed ARM when performance to power consumption is compared.

Take the Dell 8" Windows 8 tablet. Pretend it is a phone, and with Skype and a USB LTE stub, it technically is. Shoving that technology into a 6" device is not impossible or hard.

Just to one up your next crazed comment, Microsoft R&D has x86 phones running the full desktop version of Windows 8. Seriously.

Mobius Enigma said,

Why do you still think this? People have given you example after example that this is just not true.

Intel's power consumption of their latest Atom x86 CPUs are close to ARM CPUs, and exceed ARM when performance to power consumption is compared.

Take the Dell 8" Windows 8 tablet. Pretend it is a phone, and with Skype and a USB LTE stub, it technically is. Shoving that technology into a 6" device is not impossible or hard.

Just to one up your next crazed comment, Microsoft R&D has x86 phones running the full desktop version of Windows 8. Seriously.

But it's not desirable. x86 is too kludgy for mobile devices.

neo158 said,

That's two phones out of how many on the market, if it really is as good as they say then why aren't more manufacturers using it!!

That is irrelevant to what I said in response to Dot Matrix. I didn't say better, I just pointed it that it is as good as ARM.

x86 is not too "kludgy" for mobile. Why hasn't it been adopted yet? The same reason that everything else takes time for adoption: marketshare and compatibility. Right now, ARM rules the roost for mobile space, especially since their are a lot more SoCs available as ARM.


There is no pressing desire to go x86, but it is not because x86 is not capable.

Dot Matrix said,

But it's not desirable. x86 is too kludgy for mobile devices.

Seriously? Do we have to go through CPU architectures?

There is some legacy crap in the x86, but with both AMD and Intel's Atom lines, these aspects have been so marginalized they are fairly irrelevant.

Notice that it is ARM becoming more like x86 that is giving it the greatest performance gains.

The reason the Apple 64bit ARM CPU is marginally faster is not the 64bits, it is the additions of a significant amount of CISC added to ARMv8.

It means there will be a locked-down version aimed at mobile devices (phones, tablets, ...) and a full version meant for computers. Basically the merge of RT and Phone.

Xbox OS is basically a specialized full Windows 8 though. Even the build numbers show it to be the case. I'd consider that to be a variant like the Server builds.

recursive said,
And people say Android is fragmented.
There is a difference between multiple version in the same branch in active use, and multiple branches on the same time in active use. Android has multiple version in the same branch, and that gives fragmentation. Microsoft hase multiple branches, which are all runing the same version. They are just specialiced versions of the main branch (Windows).

Doesn't matter how you spin it. From a developer prespective, similar apps written for one platform won't work on the other = fragmentation. From a user perspective, looks the same but one won't run apps available on the other = fragmentation.

Which is why MS has been working to bring the APIs associated with WinRT onto Windows Phone, so that there would be feature parity. From that perspective, you'd only have two major API sets to develop for in the Windows world, WIn32 and WinRT, and when it comes to the same WinRT app on different types of device, the only reprogramming you'd have to do as a dev is the XAML (Display markup)

Again, that's once Windows Phone and WinRT are at API parity, and at the moment, they are only ~70% there

Thief000 said,
Xbox OS is basically a specialized full Windows 8 though. Even the build numbers show it to be the case. I'd consider that to be a variant like the Server builds.

Exactly. If and when RT and Windows Phone merge it'll be the same thing, same core technologies just a different UI.

recursive said,
And people say Android is fragmented.

Much like linux, one of the (many) reasons it never took off is that every vendor and individual "rolls their own" so nothing works out of the box on all of them. You have to work, to make it work. Great if you're a hacker, most people aren't interested and don't care.

RT apps don't work on WP or Full etc.

Sraf said,
From that perspective, you'd only have two major API sets to develop for in the Windows world, WIn32 and WinRT,

all they need to do then is remove the metro, designed for tiny "touch" screen interface from desktop Windows.

dvb2000 said,

Much like linux, one of the (many) reasons it never took off is that every vendor and individual "rolls their own" so nothing works out of the box on all of them. You have to work, to make it work. Great if you're a hacker, most people aren't interested and don't care.

RT apps don't work on WP or Full etc.

All Linux distro have shared common APIs. Now yes there are differences in UI related stuff...but the same is true of every other platform too.

If you make an app that only targets standard APIs (ie. ones that are guaranteed to be available) then you won't have a problem with Linux development. Same can be said for practically any platform.

recursive said,
Doesn't matter how you spin it. From a developer prespective, similar apps written for one platform won't work on the other = fragmentation. From a user perspective, looks the same but one won't run apps available on the other = fragmentation.

Before you continue this discussion, you need to learn more about fragmentation.

Here is a hint, fragmentation is not only on the developer side (ie A major one being user fragmentation)

---

As for the actual 'developer' fragmentation, there are still concessions and differences, but they are slowly disappearing in just the 8.1 timeframe and should be non-existent by the time the next major version of Windows appears.

Even with the current versions, the 'portability' between them have very specific reasons they are different and are things the developer would have to account for when targeting a specific device, just as iOS/Android users have to do when building for a phone and/or tablet.

Even in this context, there are only two platforms that have to be considered for the majority of developers, WP and WinRT and with WP8.1, they further unify so that only layout and phone specific variations differ.

Even now porting between WP/W8 is rather simple with only UI constructs differing. Even with lower level code, this is also why you see game engines that have been being ported in the last year run on both platforms with concurrent WP/W8 releases for titles based on the engines.

SharpGreen said,

All Linux distro have shared common APIs. Now yes there are differences in UI related stuff...but the same is true of every other platform too.

If you make an app that only targets standard APIs (ie. ones that are guaranteed to be available) then you won't have a problem with Linux development. Same can be said for practically any platform.


I think you are forgetting about versioned dependencies. What happens when you test your program against library version n but a distro ships with n+1? or maybe n-1?

SharpGreen said,

All Linux distro have shared common APIs. Now yes there are differences in UI related stuff...but the same is true of every other platform too.

If you make an app that only targets standard APIs (ie. ones that are guaranteed to be available) then you won't have a problem with Linux development. Same can be said for practically any platform.

In theory you are correct, but in reality it doesn't work well.

Even the Linux kernel itself should be recompiled for each system it runs on as the upper layer driver abstraction model does not provide ideal performance or compatibility.

This is one main area where the NT architectural model is a better design for compatibility and speed when ported and when running on variations of hardware within the same architecture. The kernel and driver model are not coded or locked to the platform and there is no benefit if they were.

Even when moving from x86 to x64 or ARM, all NT needs is an optimized low level HAL and the kernel and majority of OS code is ready to go only needing a few minor changes and to be compiled.

Even the common x86 version of NT is not written for the x86 hardware, it is written for a common architecture model with the HAL handling the translation variances. This is why NT on ARM runs faster than Android-Linux/iOS on ARM, as the nature of NT's portability is a more optimized OS and it does it with far less code changes.


As for upper level software on Linux, even the 'consistent' API sets are too fluid and version specific. Running a binary from 1999 designed for API set XYZ seldom will still run on the 2013 version of API set XYZ. This is why a new version of software is needed, at the very least often requiring a recompiled build. It also makes it hard to ship retail quality software as it becomes problematic to provide specific software builds for various versions with a large mix of end user distributions.

In contrast, on Windows, even deprecated frameworks APIs from over 20 years ago still work 99% of the time. This is one reason Microsoft has been able to retain developer loyalty, for production/retail software projects.

In theory a well designed upper or lower level UNIX or even simpler POSIX application should be universally compatible, but it seldom works in the real world on more complex software projects due to the kernel architectures used and the inherent simplistic nature of the UNIX model itself.

Something I have argued for a long time...
The OSS world needs something beyond UNIX, with a core object based kernel model more like NT. Until this happens, Microsoft will own the OS world with performance and extensibility that NT's architecture and object model provides.

With hardware and software way beyond the tipping point of simplicity versus complexity, the additional code to keep UNIX handling the complexities is continually making it slower and slower.

NT started out as a 'heavier' OS design, but that heavy complexity is now its advantage as the tipping point has been met. So the extra work NT was doing in 1993 was less efficient, but it is more efficient today when compared to an OS that doesn't manage the 'extra work' and now is having to add code to deal with it.

Mobius Enigma said,

In theory you are correct, but in reality it doesn't work well.

Even the Linux kernel itself should be recompiled for each system it runs on as the upper layer driver abstraction model does not provide ideal performance or compatibility.

This is one main area where the NT architectural model is a better design for compatibility and speed when ported and when running on variations of hardware within the same architecture. The kernel and driver model are not coded or locked to the platform and there is no benefit if they were.

Even when moving from x86 to x64 or ARM, all NT needs is an optimized low level HAL and the kernel and majority of OS code is ready to go only needing a few minor changes and to be compiled.

Even the common x86 version of NT is not written for the x86 hardware, it is written for a common architecture model with the HAL handling the translation variances. This is why NT on ARM runs faster than Android-Linux/iOS on ARM, as the nature of NT's portability is a more optimized OS and it does it with far less code changes.


As for upper level software on Linux, even the 'consistent' API sets are too fluid and version specific. Running a binary from 1999 designed for API set XYZ seldom will still run on the 2013 version of API set XYZ. This is why a new version of software is needed, at the very least often requiring a recompiled build. It also makes it hard to ship retail quality software as it becomes problematic to provide specific software builds for various versions with a large mix of end user distributions.

In contrast, on Windows, even deprecated frameworks APIs from over 20 years ago still work 99% of the time. This is one reason Microsoft has been able to retain developer loyalty, for production/retail software projects.

In theory a well designed upper or lower level UNIX or even simpler POSIX application should be universally compatible, but it seldom works in the real world on more complex software projects due to the kernel architectures used and the inherent simplistic nature of the UNIX model itself.

Something I have argued for a long time...
The OSS world needs something beyond UNIX, with a core object based kernel model more like NT. Until this happens, Microsoft will own the OS world with performance and extensibility that NT's architecture and object model provides.

With hardware and software way beyond the tipping point of simplicity versus complexity, the additional code to keep UNIX handling the complexities is continually making it slower and slower.

NT started out as a 'heavier' OS design, but that heavy complexity is now its advantage as the tipping point has been met. So the extra work NT was doing in 1993 was less efficient, but it is more efficient today when compared to an OS that doesn't manage the 'extra work' and now is having to add code to deal with it.

I keep seeing this argument "Oh NT is more compatible than Linux with HW" yet Linux runs on far more devices and a far greater number of archtechtures than NT ever has/or likely ever will. So I call BS on that. Can NT run on HW without an MMU? No. Linux can. The Linux kernel is also not locked in to any one type of HW, as evidenced by the fact that 82% of smartphone users and practically 100% of home wifi users have a device powered by a Linux kernel.

Also, just by usage stats alone, MS only really owns the consumer market (and that is changing rather quickly). Pretty much everything else is powered by some form of Linux.


In contrast, on Windows, even deprecated frameworks APIs from over 20 years ago still work 99% of the time.

Try running a 16-bit DOS app from the Windows 98 era on Windows 8. It won't work.

SharpGreen said,

Also, just by usage stats alone, MS only really owns the consumer market (and that is changing rather quickly). Pretty much everything else is powered by some form of Linux.

What about business users and the fact that it's not changing at all?

SharpGreen said,

Try running a 16-bit DOS app from the Windows 98 era on Windows 8. It won't work.

Yes, it will. It just can't be a 64 bit version of Windows.

SharpGreen said,

I keep seeing this argument "Oh NT is more compatible than Linux with HW" yet Linux runs on far more devices and a far greater number of archtechtures than NT ever has/or likely ever will. So I call BS on that. Can NT run on HW without an MMU? No. Linux can. The Linux kernel is also not locked in to any one type of HW, as evidenced by the fact that 82% of smartphone users and practically 100% of home wifi users have a device powered by a Linux kernel.

Also, just by usage stats alone, MS only really owns the consumer market (and that is changing rather quickly). Pretty much everything else is powered by some form of Linux.

Try running a 16-bit DOS app from the Windows 98 era on Windows 8. It won't work.

Almost everything you assert is incorrect.

The only reason Linux runs on more platforms, is people do it for free.

If Microsoft wanted to release a version of NT on almost every architecture ever made, they could.

Go back to even NT 4.0 and how easily they produced versions that ran on MIPS, PPC, Alpha, and x86. It wasn't much more than a recompile for Microsoft with a rather small hand crafted HAL for each architecture. This hasn't changed, as Windows 7 and Windows 8 are just as portable as NT 4 was. (WinXP was less portable, but the MinWin project to fix cross layer code introduced in the XP days, fixed this.)

As for 16bit, it runs just fine on Windows 8 32bit (x86).

It is Windows 64bit (x64) that the DOS VDM wasn't brought over. So Win16/DOS hasn't ran on any 64bit versions of Windows. However with Vista/7/8 Microsoft provided a solution. On Vista they provided VirtualPC, Windows 7 had XP Mode and Windows 8 has HyperV, and even on x64, users are still running 16bit versions of Win 3.x Apps when it is needed.

Also if you want to do some research on the DOS VDM, you will see it is actually older than NT and even though Microsoft created emulation versions of it later on, it was not worth the time to create a new emulation version of it for non-32bit kernels. (It is also not a part of NT itself, but a VDM that runs in the Win32/WinSxS subsystem.)

Mobius Enigma said,

Almost everything you assert is incorrect.

The only reason Linux runs on more platforms, is people do it for free.

If Microsoft wanted to release a version of NT on almost every architecture ever made, they could.

Go back to even NT 4.0 and how easily they produced versions that ran on MIPS, PPC, Alpha, and x86. It wasn't much more than a recompile for Microsoft with a rather small hand crafted HAL for each architecture. This hasn't changed, as Windows 7 and Windows 8 are just as portable as NT 4 was. (WinXP was less portable, but the MinWin project to fix cross layer code introduced in the XP days, fixed this.)

As for 16bit, it runs just fine on Windows 8 32bit (x86).

It is Windows 64bit (x64) that the DOS VDM wasn't brought over. So Win16/DOS hasn't ran on any 64bit versions of Windows. However with Vista/7/8 Microsoft provided a solution. On Vista they provided VirtualPC, Windows 7 had XP Mode and Windows 8 has HyperV, and even on x64, users are still running 16bit versions of Win 3.x Apps when it is needed.

Also if you want to do some research on the DOS VDM, you will see it is actually older than NT and even though Microsoft created emulation versions of it later on, it was not worth the time to create a new emulation version of it for non-32bit kernels. (It is also not a part of NT itself, but a VDM that runs in the Win32/WinSxS subsystem.)

Except for the DOS app part...none of what I said was wrong, and since next to no one uses 32 bit any more, not really relevant.

Also a good majority of the Linux kernel is not done by folks for "free". It is in a lot of cases people's full time job. I wouldn't classify that as "free". I mean sure you can actually get OSes with a Linux kernel without paying a pile of money for it...but that doesn't mean the work done on them was done for "free".

I'm also not saying NT couldn't run everywhere...I'm just saying it won't.

dvb2000 said,

all they need to do then is remove the metro, designed for tiny "touch" screen interface from desktop Windows.

I do not think you have ever used Metro. I have exactly zero touch devices in my home and have no problems zipping around just like in 7, Vista, XP and before.

SharpGreen said,

Except for the DOS app part...none of what I said was wrong, and since next to no one uses 32 bit any more, not really relevant.

Also a good majority of the Linux kernel is not done by folks for "free". It is in a lot of cases people's full time job. I wouldn't classify that as "free". I mean sure you can actually get OSes with a Linux kernel without paying a pile of money for it...but that doesn't mean the work done on them was done for "free".

I'm also not saying NT couldn't run everywhere...I'm just saying it won't.

Arguing sematics of "Couldn't versus Won't" - Really?

You were specifically confronting my assertion that NT is architecturally easier to port to various architectures.

Yet, you now say that you were only saying it just "won't" be ported.

You cannot in good faith reject a premise with an argument and then claim you were perusing your own irrelevant tangential argument.

We were NOT debating IF Microsoft will port NT to every architecture ever made.

My premise still stands that NT's design is easier to port to various architectures and runs faster on the architectures it is ported.

So, yes, the majority of your entire post was incorrect.