back to article Gates: Microsoft will merge Phone and Windows platforms

The code-sharing between the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 operating systems is just the start of a long-term plan to merge the two into a universal OS, company cofounder and chairman Bill Gates has promised. "We're certainly sharing between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 – sharing the user interface, sharing some of those …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "an unbelievably great product, really amazing,"

    Well he said it ! - unbelievable

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "an unbelievably great product, really amazing,"

      boy they really seemed enthusiastic in that video. NOT

  2. Anomalous Cowturd

    Pass me that spliff Bill...

    Must be some good shit!

    1. Ramazan

      Re: Must be some good shit

      Probably they fume it in the Microsoft Retail Outlets otherwise I see no future for the Surface

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No shit

    I think this meeting of O/Ss has been fairly obvious for some ime hasn't it? Mind, that obviously isn't going to mean download once run anywhere - either technically or licensely (sorry) - for some time yet.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: No shit

      And that was the idea behind .Net - "write once run anywhere" (now where have we heard that before?)

      Somehow I think porting a major app from Windows PC to a phone is going to take a little more than just switching CLRs

  4. tirk

    A bit sad to drag him out TBH try and shift this snake oil.

    Gates changed the IT industry. The only way Balmer is doing that is by driving MS nearer to bankruptcy.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A bit sad to drag him out TBH

      Not the first time:

      - Gates introducing Vista

      - UMPCs and Vista: "pushing the limits"

      - "Dramatic" Zune product line advances

      - Gates on the vision behind's social features

      Strangely enough, I can't seem to find anything with him talking about Windows 7.

      1. Ramazan

        Re: Gates on the vision behind's social features

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A bit sad to drag him out TBH

      Gates was lucky, if IBM hadn't believed his bullshit about him having a great new OS for them then he would have fizzled out when computers stopped booting into BASIC.

    4. yossarianuk

      Re: A bit sad to drag him out TBH

      Its ok - Tax payers around the world are forced to fund MS so the 'cancer' will still keep going strong, they will keep suppressing innovation for mankind...

      What I mean is the fact that schools, hospitals, police, etc are all using Windows desktops still when there is absolutely no need (better) free alternatives exist - this is due to the fact they got a monopoly during the 90's when competition didn't really exist and use tactics outlined in the Halloween documents (at the end of the 90's) to keep their position by ensuring that competition cannot viably exist. (according to the EU in an illegal way)

      i.e: rule not by making a better product but by controlling and hijacking existing standards...

      And before anyone says - 'that was ages ago' - look at the recent legal attacks against Android.

      And things like

      Most Microsoft 'customers' didn't choose Microsoft, they had no choice - ask yourself why ?

      And I pity those that haven't broke free yet as their future is Windows8....

      At least if the tax payer was funding a Linux based company any improvements would benefit computing as a science for the entire of mankind - rather than be a cash cow for Microsoft's lawyers in patent trolling.

      Tax should be used to benefit society not a shit American company.

  5. Martin 47

    What he actually meant to say is 'we are really going to show the world just how much bloatware its possible to put on a phone'

  6. Anonymous Coward

    If this is true...

    IF, a big one at that. I'll probably go to Linux. Or just give up on computers all together. Don't get me wrong, this is like them removing the steering wheel from a car and replacing it with an AI driver. It's not like I'd have a choice to drive anymore, and it's not like I have a choice to use a PC if this happens. :(

    1. Tom 13

      Re: If this is true...

      I live in a Windows world and would never buy the jailware produced by Apple.

      That being said, I recognize that Jobs (and even more so Woz) are geniuses with code and OS while Gates is at best a workable hack. If Jobs couldn't unify the two interfaces (and you know if he could Apple wouldn't have a different interface on a tablet/phone and PC), there's no way in hell Gates (or any of his teams) will.

      Louis Sullivan had it right back in 1896: That form ever follows function. This is the law.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    But only if...

    you are a cretin that likes your 24in desktop system being made up of tiny mobile phone javascript applications.

    It's like Windows 95 Active Desktop all over again... Wasn't that supposed to change the world too?

    This is just usual hyperbole from Microsoft ahead of any product launch..

    1. Ilsa Loving

      Re: But only if...

      I disagree. Active Desktop was actually useful. It was great for things akin to what Windows 7 gadgets are... Or at least were until Microsoft killed them off.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But only if...

        Active desktop was one huge security backdoor headache.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But only if...

        Even by the standards of Microsoft software, Active Desktop was a resource hog.

      3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: But only if...

        Active Desktop was actually useful. It was great for things akin to what Windows 7 gadgets are

        Some of the ideas behind it might have been okay - nabbed from OpenDoc/Taligent - but the implementation was, as was so much of Windows rushed, botched and buggy.

  8. Shonko Kid

    share and share alike

    They'd better be careful that they don't end up also sharing user-bases, ie none.

    Can I get a cab for two to oblivion please?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: share and share alike

      I think you'll find several of them in c:\windows\Options\Cabs

      Yep that's my 42" long, if you please.

  9. twilkins

    I'm more inclined to believe the CEO quoted on the reg a few days ago - this is the last version of Windows - certainly the last version any one will care about.

    More and more business is done in a web browser, and the OS is becoming irrelevant for 90% of users.

  10. Shonko Kid

    "can any of these companies translate market leads in one sector to the others?"

    No. And here's why.

    Microsoft have been trying to leverage their de-facto PC monopoly into mobile for over nigh-on 15 years, with very little success, I don't see that changing. Ever.

    Apple have niched themselves nicely into the high end, they are not about to start flooding the market with cheap tat, nor license their OSs to box-shifters to do likewise. They are what they are, somewhere between high end and aspirational fashion accessory for hipsters.

    Google stand the best chance of the lot, except for the sheer legacy that Microsoft has built. Remember that Win 7 will likely be the OS of choice in the business world for the next decade. Android isn't a platform that could replace that, and neither is ChromeOS. Google would have to build something specifically to target the PC market, and whilst they have PC user's eyes with the Apps platform, GMail and search, I can't see that they'll even give it a second thought. Let Microsoft deal with the messy business of PC device driver compliance.

    My prediction is a gradual, lesser reliance on the PC, as the main battle has shifted away from people's desks to anywhere their attention is drawn to a screen. And of the big 3, Google is better suited to fight that battle.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ twilkins

    I think Win7 will be the last OS people care about. It will last long enough to get people on a web infrastructure and cost nothing more, cuz we already have it. :)

    Why give MS more money?

    1. Goat Jam

      Re: @ twilkins

      Ummm, I think you will find that if your webtopia vision comes to fruition, you will simply be trading a a one off payment to MS with being nickle and dimed forever by whoever is providing your web functionality.

      1. twilkins

        Re: @ twilkins

        Errrr, no. You need an operating system to run the hardware, nobody is suggesting your basic hardware interface (drivers, desktop, etc) will be web based, but as people increasingly use applications that are web based, the OS becomes a commodity. There are free OSes available - Linux, etc that will will comfortably allow you to connect to a network, use a local printer, run things off an SSD/HDD, etc.

        By forcing silly interface changes on users, the already high cost of implementing a windows upgrade goes stratospheric. Re-training, app upgrades, the windows license itself, all easily avoided.

        As a long time Windows user (since 3.0), I find myself being drawn to Linux. Primarily because many of the business apps I use (my accountant is now entirely web based, I use Google Docs for general office type stuff) are not tied to Windows. I certainly won't be upgrading to Windows 8 - as an Android user there is little for me to gain from using a new interface that has nothing in common with either my 20 years of experience or my other devices.

        My prediction - Windows 8 is going to flop, big time. It's been conceived to help Microsoft's market strategy (merge platforms) rather than it's users and it comes at a time when people are focussed on the bottom line.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Sorry, Microsoft

    Your attempt to embrace and extend phones will fail. People don't want to run a full desktop OS on their phone. Don't try to sell a Swiss army knife to people who need a screwdriver.

    This is the mistake they always made in their tablet designs (and continue to make, with Surface Pro) These are different markets - tablets are for people who are content consumers, not content creators. Microsoft always tried to make their tablets all things to all people, eventually Apple showed them the proper recipe of making a successful tablet by making something serves some people's needs without trying to make something that would keep even power users and content creators happy.

    Had Microsoft built a tablet like the Surface RT two years before the iPad, they would own the tablet market now and be cannibalizing their own PC sales instead of letting Apple, Samsung and Amazon do it for them. Now they are too late and have no chance of being first in either the phone or tablet market, and could end up where Zune did.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sorry, Microsoft

      >tablets are for people who are content consumers, not content creators.

      That may be true, at present, but it is only some forms of content that require a keyboard to create. It doesn't seem that Touch UIs for some forms of content creating applications have fully matured yet, such as CAD or even file management. Some people already use machines that convert from laptop to tablet form- my automotive mechanic, for example.

      Conversely, one often wishes to enter text into 'content consumption' device, such as a mobile telephone, games console or television (now that they video-on-demand services to search through) and finds the text entry system far from perfect- a qwerty keyboard, even a mediocre one, would be better.

      The lines between what are now called 'tablet' and 'laptops' might get a bit fuzzier. Whether it will go MS's way is different question.

    2. Jess

      Had Microsoft built a tablet like the Surface RT two years before the iPad

      They did try. It's just they were awful.

    3. Tom 13

      Sorry, Microsoft pt 2

      Your attempt to embrace and extend phone OSes to the desktop will fail. People don't want to run a super light OS on their fully functional desktop. Don't try to sell a screwdriver to people who need a Swiss army knife .

      etc., etc.

      So in the end, not only will MS piss off phone users, they'll piss off their monopoly market too.

  13. Ilgaz

    Funny, nobody mentioned it yet

    Linux& Unix did it from the start. Unless you are completely fooled by the virtual machine on top of it or no virtual machine at all (NDK) , Android _is_ Linux. In fact, it could be given as example of what Linux really is.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Funny, nobody mentioned it yet

      Thanks, General Disarray ...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Funny, nobody mentioned it yet

      And OSX and iOS are Unix.

      1. Ilgaz

        Re: Funny, nobody mentioned it yet

        Unix indeed. OS X is one of weirdest complex mixtures to date. I bet ballmer would personally fire you if you dared to suggest mixing 4 separate major operating systems (freebsd, bsdlite, next layer, carbon) adding a hybrid micro kernel while on it.

  14. petboy

    Painfully obvious that MS are starting panic - wheel out Bill to boost Windows 8 and Windows Phone which are both sinking before they even ship.

    It's worth noting that in the early years of the 21st Century Microsoft did come close to winning the Mobile OS race. Psion walked away, Palm never got to grips with Smartphones and Symbian took a long while to never-quite-make-it. Windows CE/Mobile found its way into a *lot* of devices.

    Unfortunately Microsoft crippled this nascent Smartphone dominance by insisting that they wanted a common UI across PC and phone. So Windows Mobile was lumbered with a "Start" button, task bar and everything being driven by the stylus and tiny little icons/menus/etc. Which left the way wide open for Apple & Android who had "touch friendly" UI from the start.

    Now Microsoft are going in the opposite direction and crippling their PC operating system by insisting on making it like a Phone.

    You have to laugh.

    1. Tim Bergel
      Thumb Up

      I absolutely agree with you, trying to shoe-horn a desktop UI onto a phone was brain damaged and the reverse is equally so. Say what you like about Apple, they didn't make that mistake.

    2. Captain DaFt

      "Unfortunately Microsoft crippled this nascent Smartphone dominance by insisting that they wanted a common UI across PC and phone. So Windows Mobile was lumbered with a "Start" button, task bar and everything being driven by the stylus and tiny little icons/menus/etc. Which left the way wide open for Apple & Android who had "touch friendly" UI from the start."

      Hey, I remember that! One interface to span phones, home and office, otherwise known (mockingly) as "Ce, Me, NT".

      And now it's deja-vu all over again, with Metro... er, Windows 8 Modern, in two confusingly similar, but barely compatible versions:

      Desktop ( Hey! With third party software, it's nearly as easy to use as Version 7!).

      And Window 8 Modern RT for the phone and tablet. (Unless it's using an Intel processor, then it's the desktop version, but HEY! They look alike!)

  15. Christian Berger

    What Microsoft doesn't seem to understand

    People don't buy Windows because it's "good" or "innovative" or whatever. They buy it to run 1990s software they spent lots of money on. Now if Microsoft could come up with a clever way of making that old software accessible on mobile devices, they have a good chance. Otherwise they will need to compete on a market that's already full.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What Microsoft doesn't seem to understand

      People don't buy Windows, it just comes on the computer they can afford to buy.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What Microsoft doesn't seem to understand

      As already said, people don't buy windows - they have it forced upon them by OEMs. As a result, they end up "needing" it for stuff they already have or want because of MS' oligopoly.

      Businesses do buy OS separately, but they really don't like change when it has to be rolled out of thousands of desktops and all sorts of stuff tested, possible changed at vast expense, and staff re-trained for whatever the GUI muppets have hit upon this time.

      Windows 8 will be a "success" because OEMs will ship it, and have not a lot of choice. But I don't see it getting much love from most users.

  16. Levente Szileszky

    If even ol' Billyboy needs to be trotted out for this sad parade then you know it's really bad...

    ...and Ballmer feels the fire, I'm pretty sure. now very close to his feet - a year or two, you angry chair-throwing incompetent loudmouth, you have about 18-24 more months left at the helm, mark my words.

  17. Darran Clements

    Web infrastructure OS

    The web isn't an OS. The beauty of the web is that it is well documented, standardised medium for developers to write code to exploit. That's the beauty. Sort of middleware of a kind.

    App culture is breaking out of this by using the network and subverting the web. I am very, very concerned that Microsoft are seemingly going down the Apple route on this. The sooner apps are consigned to the dustbin of history and we get back to having our nice clean, egalitarian web the better.

    In the meantime, computing devices need to run OSes to provide the background for running the applications to connect to the web don't they? In which case you can stay on win 7 and 7- (I'm on XP, Vista and 7 btw), or you can "upgrade" at great cost in all ways to MacOS, or at great shoe-horning effort to a Linux distro or just bite the bullet and go for 8. That would seem, objectively, to be a bit of a no-brainer, should you need a new PC at least.

    Flash - yes

    Office - yes

    strange little business application - oh yes indeed sir...

    Add to that, the fact that there is going to be harmonisation of look and feel, and eventually, when mobile computing is up to it, actual convergence of the OSes Microsoft produce if BG is to be believed, should leave pretty much everything else in their own stagnant little ponds (from a business perspective at least)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Web infrastructure OS

      "or at great shoe-horning effort to a Linux distro"

      I've met some people who didn't like modern Linux distros after trying them. I've yet to meet any that couldn't actually install them.

      The year is 2012 not 2002.

    2. Levente Szileszky

      Re: Web infrastructure OS

      "Flash - yes

      Office - yes"

      Sorry, neither is true anymore.

      Flash is pretty much dead as far as the future goes (Adobe already hit the kill switch on Android, soon will kill it on the desktop) and browser-based Office-like packages pretty much made MSO obsolete for ~90% of every day users.

      "strange little business application - oh yes indeed sir..."

      Perhaps, it depends on the app = lot of these can be easily turned into a cloud-based application.

      I will hold on to my PC but it's mainly due to its form factor eg 27" monitor, full-sized keyboard and because of some specific tasks eg compositing or virtualization (very fast CPU and GPU, plenty of memory etc.)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 8 is FECKING SHITE !

    Ahhh said that now and feel better, just needed an antidote to all the MS sponsored crap and hype in the news.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile in a parallel universe ..

    Wayback in 2003, Microsoft achieved dominance in the mobile consumer electronics market with TRON, the real-time OS, or they would have if they didn't perceive it (and everything else) as a threat to the Windows platform.

    Microsoft vs. TRON

  20. Robert E A Harvey

    And the band played 'believe it if you like'.

    Heard it all before. WM6, .net, silverlight...

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: And the band played 'believe it if you like'.

      Shouldn't it be

      'Another one bites the dust?'

      Ok, mines the one with Slackware 1.1 on Floppy disks in the pocket.

  21. Doug 3

    another one or two die shrinks maybe

    so they've cut out lots of old desktop and OS code and Windows 8 is almost slim enough to run on phones and tablets with the same feature set as the desktop version. Well, not quite but a few more die shrinks and not only will memory densities increase enough but so will CPU performance while power usage goes down.

    In the meantime, companies like Apple, Google and others have used *nix variants, mostly GNU/Linux and have done this for years. GNU/Linux scales from super computers, mainframes, laptops, netbooks, phones and even watches. But be proud Gill Bates, you'll eventually be correct about Windows. Too bad so many fewer will care.

  22. zen1


    This means every time the phone rings a TV will burst into flames, and a blue/black screen will cause a cell tower to explode.

  23. naive

    The Universal OS concept could be true

    Don't forget that in 5-10 yrs even low-end ARM cpu's in smart phones and tablets will exceed current i3/i5/i7 cpu's by far.

    Resource limitations will become much less of an issue for choosing the OS.

    It remains to be seen if the world will continue to pay MS $30-$100 per device just to be able to type <CNTL><ALT><DELETE> or like it did during the last 20 yrs.

    Not to count the extra $100 for a text formatting program like MS-Word.

    With linux/android even OS's are becoming a cheap commodity product that is given away for free on the smartphone/tablet.

    1. Confuciousmobil
      Paris Hilton

      Re: The Universal OS concept could be true

      I know mobile screens are getting bigger, but until you get mobile phones with 27" screens the two are very different.

      Jack of all trades....

  24. mil

    It is obvious

    The body language says it all, he is totally uncomfortable and he didn’t believe a word of what he said. When you watch him on other interviews, he is energetic and he doesn’t have to think carefully before he answers. In this interview he is the exact opposite, I could even say that he probably disagrees with all that is going on but no way could he say anything like that.

    Anyway, at least a plus point for the effort, still though Windows 8 is a cr@p OS for anything but tablets and mobile phones.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: It is obvious

      If you listen to what he says it almost entirely an admission that Apple got everything right. Touch is natural but then, suddenly, keyboards and mice.

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. yossarianuk

    Thank god for desktop Linux

    Thank god desktop Linux is in such a good state otherwise we would all be forced in to using a system designed for kids/teens - its in a good state as long as you ignore Ubuntu/Unity (which is nearly as bad as windows8)

    Kubuntu is 1000 X more usable than Windows 8 for doing anything constructive, or even just opening a file/web page...

    It sound like MS is trying to clone Ubuntu Unity's ideas - i.e a mobile/desktop OS in one - that no one actually likes or can use to do anything.

    I don't care about lack of MS Office, Libre Office does everything I need in terms of office apps (Libreoffice is pretty damn fast now..)

    You all you mugs that are about to fund this American patent troll more money than you have already been forced to (via tax) - good luck - 'desktop' linux is going no where - even if KDE didn't exist there are many alternatives - cinammon, lxde, xfce, E17 (really insanely lightweight) all better and more usable than Windows 8 (also free)

    1. Ron Christian

      Re: Thank god for desktop Linux

      I never really thought of it that way. To me, this means I'm going to be using Win7 until universal heat death or Microsoft comes to their senses, whatever comes first. But I realize now that I may at some point have to move to something else, and linux may be a good choice by then. The only thing that's keeping me from making the leap now, is that certain tools I use daily, (mostly made by Adobe) that don't yet run on Linux. Or Android.

  27. Schultz Silver badge

    Is unification of phone and desktop a good idea?

    MS was highly successful, because it supported a broad range of hardware. Its competitor Apple lost the PC competition because they limited themselves to a narrow line of hardware and therefore missed a lot of innovation from third parties.

    Now MS wants to lock down the system and unify the OS for phones and PCs. Maybe they can make a lot of money short-term, but if they loose the broad ecosystem of compatible hardware, they'll probably go the way of apple in the nineties. Let's hope that Linux compatibility becomes the default for new devices!

  28. vienna_expat
    Paris Hilton

    Don't ignore Amazon

    I think it will be interesting to see how Amazon play in the 'consumer screen' market more and more over the next few years - for example with Ubuntu 12.10 now including Amazon searches etc. how long unti they have a competitor to the Chromebook. The Kindle is morphing into a tablet and all they need is a phone! They definitely have the edge over the others on how to make money from the cloud (i.e. not just free storage and/or ad serving).

    1. Ilgaz

      Re: Don't ignore Amazon

      I used their Kindle thing and trust me, their OS division got everything wrong.

      It is like Nokia, didn't change their way of thinking but switched to Android.

      Have you seen American operator supplied symbian? That is exactly what Amazon did with Android.

      Ubuntu? Thanks to them, I am now really sure that I will never install that piece of junk. Ads, aren't just ads. Wonder why privacy savvy non pirate Android users keep buying "pro" versions of free apps?

  29. spegru
    Big Brother

    Microsoft is a Corporation

    Its primary function is to stay in business, making money for its share shareholders - it's not a service for the rest of the world computing, although many would like it to be. Oh, and propomoting lock-in (to them) of course.

    So that is why it (and Apple) is focussed on what comes next, future market share etc etc: And that's all looking like phones & tablets etc. The desire to maintain one codebase is an obvious way to reduce cost over separate platforms (although it is perhaps interesting to not that this does not always hap[pen in other industries, such as cars)

    MSFT is trying to do two things at once

    The mistake many made was to think MSFT as we have known it will always be there - it may not: That really is something for CIOs to consider

    Will someone else pick up the desktop / server market? Can you think of any candidates for that?

  30. tempemeaty
    Big Brother

    PC's and phones working alike...then app installs?

    It was just a passing thought but I thought I'd throw it out here. We know how phones install applications from online only, if MS merges phone and widows platforms, does that mean the "future PC's" will only be able to install an application that receives a digital certificate/signature from MS's via their online store.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do Microsoft realise....

    a) there is a company out there called Apple doing really well

    b) they are losing their relevance faster than a blue screen on a quad core i7?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ms bashing getting really old

    fair to say i've been around quite a while now and i'm guessing some have these ms bashers. i've been reading the same old same old rubbish now for probably near on 15 years. Can't believe grown adults which most of you "bashers" must be would behave like such pathetic kids, lifes too short and havent you noticed no one cares or listens to what you say other than you the rest of the world certainly doesn't, look around. Now i'm sure next year linus will dominate the desktop and and mysql will "kill" sql server etc etc etc.... yawn unless a new version of world of warcraft comes along to distract all those genius coders or dominos have an offer on of course. anyway in summary grow up you bunch of losers! get a girl friend maybe? probably wont read any replys as i visit the register site less than once a month these days due to all this embarrising, cringe inducing, my toy is better than yours prattery! there have some of that ya divs!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At the start of the video, the "interviewer" says something about Gates being on campus for his charitable activities but the "interviewer" only asks about Win 8.

  34. IGnatius T Foobar Bronze badge

    Who wants a Surface? Nobody.

    The 'surface' is just a blatant ripoff of true dockable tablets such as the Asus Transformer, which actually works really well and has an operating system people actually *want* (Android).

  35. Ron Christian
    Thumb Down


    ...because that's never been tried before, everyone thinks it's a good idea, and it's going to be wildly successful...

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