Terry Myerson talks about the future of One Windows with Mary Jo Foley

Terry Myerson

Mary Jo Foley recently talked with Terry Myerson about the future of Windows, transparency and more. Terry, as you know, is the executive vice president of Microsoft’s operating system group. This division is responsible for the all operating systems at Microsoft.

She sat down with Terry a few days after Build and now has two great posts up on her site detailing the exchange. We’ll highlight a few interesting tidbits and then send you her way to get the whole scoop on the future of Windows and Microsoft.

Microsoft is committed to Windows on ARM. There have been reports from time to time that Microsoft should dump on ARM and focus on x86-based processors, but that’s not what Microsoft has planned. Terry assures us that Microsoft has a great version of Windows on ARM.

We’ve also heard a lot of talk about Microsoft’s “One Windows” vision. Is that marketing fluff or something that actually will have a tangible benefit to developers and users? Terry says the most important thing to take away from their One Windows vision is that developers have one platform that spans the Internet of Things (IoT), phone, tablet, PC, Xbox, Perceptive Pixel displays (PPI) and the cloud. One Windows is a place where developers can build products to target customers on a nearly any computing device.

Head to All About Microsoft to read the entire transcript from her interview with Terry. Here’s part 1 and here’s part 2


Reader comments

Terry Myerson talks about the future of One Windows with Mary Jo Foley


They're pretty much the only ones, everyone else is on low cost, high performance x86 devices which seem to be doing well.

Well its sad news to me. I was looking forward to an x86 Surface 3 running on an Atom Cherrytrail that would become my main laptop. Maybe surface pro 3 will slim down a lot...

I find it sad, actually. I'd buy the Surface 2 in a heartbeat if it was running on an x86 Bay Trail processor.

Sadly, that's not the case. It also irks consumers, because when they buy something with Windows, they expect it to run all their favorite software and programs.

I have a friend who bought a Surface 2, and quickly got rid of it because they couldn't install Chrome. I know: the idea of using Chrome on a touch screen is insane, but it's still a deal breaker for many.

The fact of the matter is, people still find the legacy desktop as an essential crutch to ease the transition to the brave and bold new world of Windows 8. Take that crutch away, and people won't even touch it.

Metro and ARM are indeed the future. But people resist change, so you've got to ease the transition.

Boring. zZzz

Same old debate. RT / Surface 2 has store apps only.
And for good reason.

Get your head around it or go get a Mac. Boring. If you want an X86 device, go get one.

Plenty of "trail" based x86 devices out there. HP Envy was excellent when I had one.

I love my Surface, and couldnt give 2 sh*ts about you not being able to run old cr*p.

When Touch Office lands, heaven will be in our hands.

Eww, who wants a Mac?

And the Surface is perfect aside from the fact it's on ARM. I'd love to have a more lightweight alternative to my Surface Pro 2, better battery life and all.

And again, I agree that ARM is the future. x86 Windows has too much old baggage from the past. It's reliable, with a great software library, but it's messy, ancient, and needs to go.

But again, you need the crutch to ease the transition. Face it, right now: all software for Windows is only x86. The Windows Store, while improving, is a very barren landscape. And many of the apps that one can find in the Windows Store are very sub-par indeed. As such, x86 would be a great way to promise compatibility to people to lure them in.

Lure people in to build marketshare, which would attracted developers and get them to create great new modern apps for the Windows Store. Then once the Windows Store becomes populated enough, and people finally get used to the new way of computing (Windows 8 and other touch devices), THEN it'd be time to begin killing x86.

But as of now, that's just too drastic a change. 'Tis a sad day when an iOS-running iPad has more software options than a Windows-running Surface.

I say have the crutch for now, then once Windows 8 learns how to walk, we can take it away. But it's too soon to do right now.

"ARM is the future..." until you play with a Baytrail and realize ARM will be a footnote in the history of computing.

Thanks for bringing up this point. If you really "play" with Baytrail, you will notice that the fastest 20 mobile devices contain a variety of ARM chips ranging from Snapdragon to Apple A7 - all ARM based. This is even more sad for Baytrail, since some of the ARM designs are almost a year older using older technology - and still beating baytrail by a mile.

Offering Intel only means you have a good chance to lose the performance battle against Android and Apple.

I don't think it's wise for Microsoft to use x86 as a way to garner a user base, only to pull the rug out from under them by then switching to ARM at some later point. The people at Microsoft are smart and know what they're doing. They understand what their decision means. I think starting with ARM means taking it on the chin in the beginning (with a slower adoption start) leading to a much bigger and better payoff in the long run. I think there's something to be said about faith and perspective when looking at the bigger picture.

But I think the point is, no one wants a crappy Asus/Acer baytrail tablet. Some people want a VaporMg tablet with Baytrail ;) I also returned a Surface RT and got a Pro because I thought it was so much more versatile. The low cost of baytrail and the high usability and even performance of baytrail would be really popular in the market. 

Im sure the surface 2 is a great device. But they could have put an atom baytrail in it and kept the same thermals and battery life while giving me the ability to run visual studio or my steam games library.

Not everyone wants full Windows 8 on their tablet. I'm interested in an 8" tablet but everyone keeps putting full W8 on them. Looks like Surface Mini will be my next device, especially if it has a digitizer for note taking which is what is missing from Surface RT & 2.

I love the fact that it's arm because I can give my tablet to my son and don't worry viruses and all that x86 crap, x86 is for my laptop and my desktop.

I dont get it. If you want an X86 tablet, go get one. Why does MS have to make one.

The beauty of Windows is that many OEMs make devices. Pls do stop the whines.

What you want is available, HP Envy for example. zzzZZZZ

They make plastic and rubber crap which is why the Surface line exists. Nobody else will put Windows in premium hardware.

duktogo, you do realise 80% of Surface devices sold are the RT/ARM version right?

Numpty, get your facts straight before posting turdness.

your Surface 2 works well? which i could say the same about, mine, it is simply terrible. at best it performs - ok, once a week. it is constantly crashing, freezing, wont load up the screen but home button works, will randomly start the camera WHEN THE COVER IS ON AND IT IS NOT IN USE!! so it drains the battery and dies, honestly wish i never bought the thing if i am honest. why didnt i get a proper windows tablet like that those Dell Venues or those Leveno etc ill never know.

^ This. I love my surface rt. It does everything that I want it to do (internet, office, and Netflix) very well while keeping great battery life.

The only thing I wish my RT could do is visual studio. And Microsoft can make it for RT just like the office sweet that's preloaded. Besides that I love it.

In all honesty, I want ditch MS to ditch the desktop in a version of Windows, combine it with the Windows Phone and call it comething better than Windows RT. And about the touch version of VS, if that came into existence I'd drop this Alienware without thinking and run to the nearest Microsoft Store! Add a Surface Phone and I'll be in heaven! :D Xbox One, Surface, Surface Phone. Imagine that.

Given how Microsoft are buying Nokia (and it looks very likely it will go ahead) your wish for a Surface Phone may be granted in the post-acquisition Lumia line.

LOL that's funny. My wife was talking to me when I was typing that post. She asked what I wanted for dessert and I replied anything super sweet. I must have typed "sweet" because that.

Yeah by this point im just going to wait until surface 3 reveal. Hopes are high for a Qualcomm 805 SoC. But Maybe if the Mini is THAT good i might just get that one lol

For one thing, the market for malware, adware, etc. will eventually be a worry for x86 tablets when the combines laptop/desktop/intel tablet market is sufficient in size to attack. Since I can only install from the Windows Store on ARM, I am not immune, but far less worried. I'm not sure many of these mobile Intel chips have been benchmarked on systems used by the truly non-computer savvy (that open every links and download without thinking).

Not only that, it's the first version of Windows where you don't need to worry about backup, provided you use cloud storage.

I'm not so sure about that - it hasn't been a worry for the last 14 years... for me at least, but I don't pirate software or download things willy-nilly. MS is on top of their own OS security updates. If you have Microsoft Security Essentials you should be covered - I wouldn't recommend paying any of the virus / malware creators (Norton, AVG, McAfee) for their antivirus bloatware.

This seems to be one of those interviews where an exec says a lot but tells us very little. Didn't learn a whole heck of a lot from this, but I do understand that they can't be too specific about certain things.

My impression too. While reading this I thought to myself, "Do these people have to train in how not to answer questions directly and be vague?" His replies reminded me of a politician. Oh, and if I here "magical" come out of one more MS persons mouth I'm going to vomit!

Typical MS interview I'm afriad, they are so afraid of putting a foot wrong. They sound like politicians.

Which maybe they are. Perhaps this guy is so removed from the coalface now, he has zero affect on the development of the products. Snoozer.

What do you expect when Sony and Apple's army of tech reviewers wait for any misspoken word to turn into an ad or headline?

Universal apps that run across a zillion Microsoft platforms is a big deal. That is not marketing fluff.

So from "One Microsoft" we are now in "One Windows". Ok. I guess Nadella realized it was impossible to change the structure of the company that deeply.
That said, we'll see how this supposed "new Microsoft" evolves.

If I have no life, I wonder what sort of pathetic life you have if you got nothing better to do than to write pointless answers to comments.

Isn't that what everyone here is doing. Posting pointless comments and pointless responses :). We all have pathetic lives, haha.


When MS talks about One Microsoft and One Windows they are talking about two very different things.   Your statement that as MS is now talking about One Windows after having talked about One Microsoft means that the One Microsoft effort has failed and they have moved on to One Windows.   That implication just does not follow.

My understanding of "One Microsoft" was it is an attempt to reform the internal culture and communication between various divisions of MS.   Ballmer goes into that in detail in the below e-mail.


"One Windows" is not a re-org or reform of Microsoft's internal structure, it is a statement of intent about how their products will work and interact.   Those are very separate issues which you have conflated and you have made an assertion about the failure of "One Microsoft" which is unsubstantiated.

To further that, this article got me thinking about the console. When announced, Xbox One was panned as a lame name, calls confusing, etc. BUT, if MS is working towards a One goal, I could see a future generation of Windows OS being called Windows One, and it is multi-platform, bridging the PC OS, the tablet OS and phone OS all into one, single, 100% compatible and friendly unit. One Windows solution for all your devices. You would have Windows One running your work PC, your phone you carry with you, and the tablet on the go, while Xbox One is running your living room for gaming, streaming and cable, and if my hunch is right, even running your home automation at some point.

Yes, it is possible they could call an upcoming release of Windows et al, Windows One.   I am not a coder, but I am quite sure that such a move would not really be the same OS for all platforms and so would be to some extent a matter of marketing.   Such a move may not be all that bad of an idea though for reasons I don't think I will cover at this point.    However the real significance of this "One Windows" is the move towards a unified Windows ecosystem.   If one can create a situation where a developer can "write once, publish everywhere" with a fair amount of ease, it will leverage the install base of the entire unified ecosystem for developers to write to.   That is a GREAT move, and if done well will do wonders both for MS and for us on the various MS platforms.    Such a move would likely resolve WP being treated like the unwanted guest at the party and we would likely get included in the first wave of development of apps just as iOS and Android are.

"MYERSON: I think the most important thing is the one developer platform across the Internet of things, phone, tablet, PC, Xbox, PPI (Perceptive Pixel touch displays), the cloud. One coherent, consistent excellent place, one way for developers to target the Windows ecosystem and delight our customers."

I think this shared "Store" across multiple devices where a customer can buy a "Universal App" is very important for the continued well being and potential dominance of the Windows ecosystem, including on our WP devices.

I just wished that it was in place at the launch of Windows 8 and its' Store.   MS has shot themselves in the foot a few times recently and those errors are  going to make their progress forward more difficult.

Two Windows, problem solved for MS, wait a minute One is the prefix for most MS services/products going forward; I am lost .......

I hate to say this, but the longer and longer this debate rages on, the less I symphathize with the anti-ARM crowd. I understand that a lot of people are not computer savvy, but I question if some are just slow. ARM is mobile platform. I guess some of this is Microsoft fault, but you would think by now that more people would understand ARM is not meant for you to be able to do everything you can do on your PC in a tablet. I get that people have never seen Windows Tablets in the past that weren't trying to be PCs, but do people really think Microsoft has two products with a drastically different price point just for the sake of it. I admnit it. I never saw ARM coming. The first time I ever used a semi-useless iPad 2, my vision of Windows tablet was something like a tablet with Windows 7, but now it makes sense. One product is just a tablet, and the over is a laptop replacement. Now there is some validity to the argument that ARM-based devices should be much cheaper consdering you;re not able to do some of the things you can do on full Windows, but surely by now moe people should have an undersranding of what you can and can't do on ARM