Microsoft wants to make one operating system for all devices

Microsoft is pursuing an operating system ideal: a unified code base that can run devices ranging from smartphones to servers. The software would give users a consistent look across devices and developers a common development tool set.

"We really should have one silicon interface for all of our devices. We should have one set of developer APIs on all of our devices," Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft's newly created Operating Systems Engineering Group, said in a meeting with financial analysts.

Microsoft formed the Operating Systems Engineering Group three months ago as part of a broad reorganization. At the time, CEO Steve Ballmer said the group would oversee "all our OS work for console, to mobile device, to PC, to back-end systems" and "core cloud services."

While the idea, though technically daunting, sounds compelling, critics say it's conceptually flawed.

For example, they point out that Apple and Google both have successful dual-OS strategies. Apple has iOS for mobile devices and Mac OS for desktops and laptops. And Google has Android for mobile and Chrome OS for Chromebook laptops and desktops.

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.

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