Microsoft has finally executed CEO Satya Nadella’s “One Windows” vision, which aligns the operating system across phones, tablets, and PCs.
A simultaneous update to both Windows 10 and its counterpart on smartphones today signals that the company is finally thinking about its operating system as one thing rather than three things.
Nadella has described Microsoft’s goal as making “one single converged operating system.” This idea is known as “One Windows.”
Combining three distinct operating systems into one is tough and has required a lot of behind-the-scenes work at Microsoft. Windows 8 was the first step, moving to bring the core underlying technology behind the operating system into line with Windows on smartphones and tablets. Windows RT, the operating system that was the equivalent of Apple’s iOS on iPad, was killed due to its incompatibility with the “One Windows” vision.
Microsoft has also brought the Xbox into the Windows 10 family, unifying the underlying technology and bringing the ability to stream games to PCs.
Microsoft is also working on Universal Windows Apps which are, as the name suggests, apps that work across all versions of Windows with very little extra leg-work for developers.
“Apps can take advantage of different capabilities on different devices,” said Jeremy Korst, general manager for Windows and devices at Microsoft. “Our vision is somebody could write an app that works across all devices, but then that developer may choose to write to a specific device class, for example HoloLens or Xbox.”
Going forward, Microsoft’s “One Windows” philosophy will continue to dominate any thinking about products and services. Satya Nadella has been clear that unifying everything around Windows will ultimately serve Microsoft well and is one of the reasons that the company continues to work on smartphones.