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How Microsoft's approach to 'Windows Core OS' differs from Google's and Apple's

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Windows Core OS is a version of Windows 10 that can be tweaked for use on any device type according to our own Zac Bowden. Windows Core OS will allow Windows to run on wearables, PCs and a variety of other form factors, including mobile. Essentially, Windows Core OS enables the ability to remove specific Windows functionality that isn't essential to make Windows "lighter" and a better fit for the targeted hardware.

The key point here is that Windows 10 remains fundamentally the same version of Windows 10 regardless of the device it's running on. Because of the OSes flexibility, distinct Windows variants such as Windows 10 Mobile will no longer be necessary. Windows 10 will simply be Windows 10 on any device it is running on.

This additional information regarding Windows Core OS and the adaptable UI, CShell, is consistent with our previous analysis of Microsoft's One Windows vision. Of course, nothing exists in a vacuum, and Apple and Google have their own agendas. So what are the philosophical differences between Microsoft's one OS strategy and its rivals approach to personal computing?

Different perspectives: Apple's many platforms

Apple, Google, and Microsoft are the primary providers of personal computing operating systems. With Windows Microsoft has maintained a near 90-percent dominance of the desktop for decades, dwarfing its nearest rival Apple's MacOS. The script is dramatically flipped in the mobile arena where Microsoft has less than one-percent of the market. Android has over 80-percent of the market while Apple's iOS claims all but a tiny fraction of the remaining share.

Microsoft's personal computing strategy has always been to bring one Windows, in some form, to the range of devices people use. Conversely, Apple has an OS for all form factors. It has watchOS for wearables, iOS for phones and tablets, macOS for the desktop and tvOS for the living room.

Apple has a different OS for all device types.

The benefit to this approach is that each of these platforms is tailored for the devices they run on. The downside is they also each represent a different target for developers. Of course, Apple has 16 million registered developers and is a darling of the tech industry. Consequently, getting developer support even for disparate platforms is nowhere near the challenge it would be for say Microsoft. Sadly, Redmond, with only one platform, is struggling to garner developer support for its Universal Windows Platform (UWP).

Google's OS duality

Google falls somewhere in between Microsoft and Apple's approaches. Rather than one OS like Microsoft or several, like Apple, Google maintains two platforms: Android and Chrome OS.

Android runs on a broad range of device types from phones, to wearables to IoT devices. There has been little success in bringing a viable form of Android to the desktop scenario, however. Android simply doesn't yet have the level of comfort and consistency in a desktop context that Windows provides.

Chrome OS, a browser-based operating system, is Google's desktop platform. Chromebooks, which run Chrome OS have found growing popularity in the education sector. They're affordable, easy to maintain and because everything is web-based, a user's data is always easy to access from anywhere. Rumors of a merged Chrome and Android hybrid, have been floating around for years but have yet to bear fruit.

With all the excitement over Windows on ARM don't forget about Google's Andromeda

Ironically Microsoft adopted the moniker of Google's rumored universal OS, Andromeda, to describe (at least internally) its application of a single OS to rule them all.

Different approaches, same goal

Despite the different approaches to personal computing Apple, Google and Microsoft are all headed in the same direction. Each company has the goal of making mobile devices more powerful and more capable of doing what were traditionally tasks reserved for the desktop.

In less than 10 years smartphones have taken on web-surfing, document editing, messaging, emailing, increasingly more demanding gaming, job searching and a host of other previously PC-centric tasks. A combination of increases in processing power and apps have made the evolution of the mobile landscape a suitable replacement for the desktop for an increasing, but still limited range of PC-centric tasks.

Still, Apple, Google, and Microsoft recognize that because mobile is where most consumer personal computing is occurring mobile platforms must continue to become more powerful to accommodate even more desktop-type computing.


Apple's and Google's primary personal computing platforms, Android and iOS, evolved around smartphones and an app-centric model designed for light, touch-centric computing. These companies now have the challenge of maintaining the advantages of the mobile platforms that have made them successful while making them more robust in order to handle increasingly complex computing.

Consequently, they are in essence moving mobile-centric paradigms toward a more inclusive personal computing paradigm that supports desktop computing contexts. Apple's iOS-based iPad Pro, with keyboard, pencil and marketing lingo that equates the tablet to a PC are evidence of this.

The truth about Apple's iPad ads

Google has made a similar move by bringing Android apps to Chromebooks. Android-based laptop designs have also come to market. Samsung also brought the Continuum-type DeX dock to market which turns an Android phone into a desktop. Unlike Microsoft's UWP apps, however, Android apps aren't developed with the same consistency to scale to all form factors, dynamically provide a context-sensitive UI and conform to appropriate input methods. UWP apps can dynamically conform to monitor, mouse and keyboard or touch-friendly mobile interactions.

Windows Core OS: Then there was one

Both Apple's and Google's attempts to accommodate more complex computing are centered around keeping their successful mobile platforms distinct from their desktop OSes. Microsoft has the opposite challenge. It has been successful on the desktop, and with Windows Core OS, it is attempting to bring the power of Windows 10 to everything.

The advantage Microsoft has is that Windows 10 is already where iOS and Android are trying to get. As the standard for desktop OSes, it has in power and range of functionality what users and manufacturers are increasingly pushing their mobile devices to achieve. So rather than trying to make its mobile OS more robust or capable like the competition, Windows Core OS allows Microsoft and OEMs to trim full Windows down for mobile and other devices. It keeps all of the power of Windows while relinquishing features not needed for a given form factor.

Windows Core OS opens the door for potentially creative hardware designs that Microsoft may bring to the mobile and IoT space.

Of course, the app gap will still be a challenge if this nimble approach to Windows makes it to market. It does modernize the platform, however. If Microsoft ever gets past the app gap problem, leveraging things like progressive web apps, Windows Core OS and a robust ecosystem bring something unique to mobile that Apple, Google, and consumers may not be able to ignore.

Updated September 30, 2017: Several sources have come forward and told us the "Andromeda OS" effort is now internally referred to as "Windows Core OS." We've updated this article to reflect this.

Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!

  • Great article my man. Can't wait to see what the hater have to say about it 😀 
  • Thanks raiden😉
  • You were right about this peice of the puzzle. Now, we just need your other predictions to come to light. I have faith you're on the right path, regardless of what the negatives think.
  • c'mon. "Great article"? Huh? Jason Ward is a solid author. This is not one of his finest works. Re-reading this article gives me the sense that we're witnessing the Titantic on its maiden voyage. The unsinkable, unstoppable juggernaut of Microsoft is on its way to deliver its cross-platform, cross-paradigm solution. Only problem is that I see iceberg written all over it. Dollar-wise Apple utterly dominates the high value, high profit mobile market. Android has mopped up the remnants, thereby providing Google with valuable search-engine market share and some app store income. Apple has also proved itself adept at outmanoeuvering competitors in the last 15 years. First it took over the struggling MP3 player market. Then it blew the completely ignored consumer touch mobile device market wide-open, and subsequently, through its consumer success, completely cannibalized the "mature" professional mobile device market, previously dominated by Microsoft and BlackBerry. Then Apple managed to dominate the high value, high profit laptop market (something like 70% market share of the $1000+ laptops). In the meantime it also managed to make the iPad the only tablet of note (it owns a shockingly large percentage of the tablet market), outcompeting much cheaper (and cheaper) Android and Windows tablets. In so many respects Apple has proved itself to be a 500 pound of computing that is incredibly flexible. With that history, Apple is Microsoft's biggest nemesis, and, Apple has a pretty massive head start on the most important market of our times--the mobile market. Apple is getting right into the "next big thing", AR and VR, and, unlike Microsoft, Apple has millions of devices in the wild that can support AR and eventually VR. This means that it can learn from hundreds of thousands of people actually using hardware rather than just a bunch of Windows developers with a handful of (very expensive) test subjects. Microsoft also does not offer a compelling operating system for manufacturers. The high end, high profit margin of most markets is dominated by Apple. There's little money to be made going after Apple's cake because Apple has stunningly high repeat brand loyalty. It's hard to convert someone invested in an Apple device into a loyal customer of your own. Not worth it. The medium and low end offer low profit margins and lots of competitors. It's hard to make money there unless you can differentiate yourself. Microsoft has not shown themselves to be willing to cede control over their OS the way Google has released Android. For mobile devices OEMs aren't truly beholdened to Google the way they would be to Microsoft. They are free to differentiate themselves. In the end Microsoft is playing for a strange niche. But, I suppose it makes sense. Windows has become a side-show for Microsoft, so, in terms of priorities Windows isn't a high one. For Windows to evolve it needs to be spun off into its own separate entity. Software and the cloud are going to make for strange bedfellows. In Apple's case, its cloud profits come directly from its hardware. Cloud and Apple still make sense. In Microsoft's case the connection between Windows and cloud profits is a lot more tenuous. Mark my words, Microsoft will split in the not-so-distant future. It won't be long before different aspects of the business end up opposing each other. Profit in one will mean stagnation in the other (and, given where we've seen Microsoft's profits grow I feel comfortable in predicting that Windows will be the division that suffers).
  • You consider 84% of the smartphone market remnants? Wow. Apple's really dominating those 16%!! Apple's a 500 pound [gorilla] of computing that is incredibly flexible? How is removing the home button and headphone jack flexible? How is releasing the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 at the same time flexible? How is adding a keyboard to an iPad to compete against the Microsoft Surface flexible?  Then there's the mindboggling suggestion that Windows is a "niche" player!? What an odd view of the world you must have. Do you notice a trend in the chart?  Get a grip.
  • Interesting analogy of the Titanic, you know if they built it the way it was designed it would have been a huge success, that's the moral of the story, don't cut corners... Thanks for the Pro-Apple speech on a Windows Forum though, we always appreciate you guys stopping by and sewing discord, lol.
  • First informative article from Jason..... Thank You!
  • Definitely not the first, but thanks😃 lol Quantum computing's pretty hot right now, here's my year old piece covering most of what was discussed (omitting the new language introduced) during the Ignite keynote today. 😉 Microsoft's do more vision of quantum computing: More where that came from: 😉
  • And, still zero information from netmann... SMDH
  • Keep waiting Rodney...
  • Lol
  • So do we know when MS will deliver, is it Redstone 4?
  • 😆😆😆😆
  • Really nice article. Oh, btw please fix the Win10 app - I can no longer submit any comments and the button "Read in browser" no longer works.
  • We're aware. And we're trying to get it fixed. The editorial team has no input on the maintenance of the app and believe me, we're yelling about it a lot.
  • Who is working on it to get it fixed?
  • It's outrageously buggy.  You guys need to whip them.  we are windows 10 mobile users. we need this.
  • Thanks and we've got someone looking into the app. We definitely empathize with you.
  • Is the app no longer maintained by the original developer?
  • Liquid Daffodil?
  • Hahaha - that serious reply or joke? IIRC, it was a single dev that made this version of the WC app. Can't remember his name though...
  • What'd I say?
  • Windows 10 is what iOS & Android aspire to be... Sure...
  • use the other and realise how full of ... Windows is ... i was actively supporting MS and Windows not anymore, they change their mind about how mobile should be that they never fully support it ... even HP stopped with the Elite X3 phone ... Even windows 10 has support only for Android and iPhone ... 
  • I tried the other two earlier this year.  And went back.
  • Awesome article as usual, You are one of the very few who have charted all the little nimbles of MSFT work that this is where they are all pointing to and they sure seems to be pointing to that. Some would argue that MSFT is slow in executing this and that competition might spring another one on them before Andromeda full realization. I think, they can not afford to be too slow, but MUST be methodical and execute as falwless as possible, don't rush bringing out any "Mee too product", must be unique and category defining... (Ok, Satya said same thing) So, Mr. Ward, my million dollar question for you is this, do you think MSFT pace on Andromeda as final piece of the puzzle is adequate or slow and why? What can of time table would you consider late, too early or right on the nuggen.
  • I am not a MS hater, SP4, 950XL, Xbox One, the wife has an SP3, 950 and Xbox One. We use Groove, Office 365, Skype numbers and subscriptions, so some might even go as far as to say I am a fan of MS. I fully intend to buy an Xbox One X, but unless MS can get into the mobile sector with a small form PC (No not a mobile) with some telephony installed (That allows me to keep my mobile number) the buying of the XBX could mark the Zenith of my life with MS. The main thing for me is integration, one OS, one cloud with many screens as and when needed. As mentioned many times before, if I have to leave MS on the mobile front the chances are I will leave on the other things as well, because MS have mucked about so many people. they have in reality less than a year to pull something special out of the fire or the long term future for them is not great.      
  • Problem is all the "power of Windows " doesnt really translate outside it's normal operating zone, and so far definitely not on anything remotely smartphone centric despite repeated tries at this "convergence". For all its power Windows 10 doesnt offer anything fundamentally superior to ios and andoid in the mobile space and at best will only replicate what those platforms have already done. Just because a feature exists doesnt mean it will actually be useful or successful.
  • Andromeda takes us to android. Like the titanic, Microsoft will founder... Its a mathematical certainty.
  • Looking at the number of comments, likes and dislikes on the forums, I think MS has blown it big time, they can call it whatever they want to call it.  Like other articles have covered, once bitten twice shy, MS keeps on biting.
  • I think that's true. I am generally an MS fan. I continue to use my Windows 10 Phone and likely will jump on a future Windows on Arm ultramobile PC with telephony. Hopefully that won't be its name :-) But I know I'm an outlier. By alienating so many of its fans, Microsoft has made its whole strategy so much harder to execute successfully. I think most of their development strategy has been sound, with one glaring exception: they failed to follow one of the immutable laws of marketing -- keep your loyal customers happy, because they are the gateway to additional customers, ESPECIALLY in new areas with new technology. One could argue that it had to break some partner eggs to escape the old software sales model to compete with Google Docs by offering a free web-based version and moving to WaaS, and all of the other changes those transitions required. A lot of former MS resellers (i.e., big MS customers) lost a lot from the transition to Office 365 and MS dropping various server hosting platforms. That drove much anger at MS. But that was a good move on MS' part, lest they fall into the Innovators Dilemma where they are trapped in the past by the preferences of their largest customers. However, for mobile, they destroyed their customers not to move to a more modern business model, but purely out of a "cut our losses" mentality, which is equivalent to kicking your customers in the balls. Not cool and not smart. This is both a tactical and strategic failure and it's so basic, I don't understand how MS could have missed this. I credit Nadella for the broad strategy of One Core, Andromeda, UWP, etc., but also must blame him for this point. There's no way lower-level people could have approved wholesale abandoning of the entire mobile customer base without his blessing.
  • I should add that I remain optimistic MS will succeed in this transition and ultimately triumph. I'ts just they made a huge unforced error, which makes it a lot tougher to win the game.
  • @GraniteStateColin; I agree and also remain optimistic as well. 
  • It's still dead on arrival in terms of mobile usage. No big OEM is going to waste their time knowing that Microsoft won't stay the course and will jump ship at the first sign of trouble.
  • Sounds like just a rebranding of Windows 10 Mobile or RT.
  • No big OEM, yet HP make the X3, which is Windows Mobile.  Is HP not a big OEM?
  • As a major player in the phone market? No they're not.
  • Great article, Jason. As I have always maintained, MSFT is a software company, first and foremost. Andromeda is playing to their strengths. iOS (and Android) developer adoption is due to numbers. The numbers favour them and the more numbers, the more paying customers. IF (and a big IF, because we all know MSFT) is successful, it will draw the numbers and developers will have little choice but to follow. The idea of "apps" on a PC is foreign to the majority of users, but not on phones. IF Andromeda converges platforms and apps are used across board........well!  
  • "MSFT is a software company, first and foremost" No it's not. It's rapidly becoming a CLOUD company, first and foremost. Software will soon become an afterthought. Microsoft is understandably on the hunt. The OS market is dropping rapidly in value. There's little to differentiate Windows 10 from any of the Linuxes from macOS. Hardware is the key and we're getting to the point where the barrier to building your own OS is going to drop. Look at recent (33 year) history. In the beginning (1984), there were lots. Apple DOS, Microsoft DOS and Commodore 64 were big and there were some smaller OSes. Fast forward only five years only two are standing--Apple's Mac and Microsoft DOS. Another 10 years and still only Apple and Microsoft. Then you briefly have an interruption by BlackBerry but that too gets wiped out and we're back to Apple and Microsoft. Google adds something new to the mix, Linux. It takes Linux and it turns it into Android, a highly successful challenger. So, we've now had a decade of THREE major OS companies, and FOUR major OS platforms (I don't count ChromeOS as it seems destined to be a flash in the pan). As Linux matures it's going to become easier for medium-sized players to carve out a niche. Apple and Google have successfully taken open source projects and built major operating systems on them. Of course, Apple was a dominant player to begin with but Google is a new entrant into the whole mess, and, it's adopted a completely different style. Perhaps there's only really room for one OS in each category? Apple is a hardware company first. Microsoft's Windows division is a software company first. Google is a search engine first. Who knows, but, I don't foresee much room for Microsoft in expanding beyond its market share ATM.
  • Not exactly, and No it isn't  a 'Cloud' company either... Microsoft is a Platform Company. Microsoft is also a Technology Company, in that they spend more creating new 'technologies' and 'innovations' than the other bigger companies combined, and they also distribute the technology throughout the industry.  The latter is the less known side of Microsoft, but when someone flips on their Mac or iPhone or Android device, a lot of the hardware technology and even the framework origins come from Microsoft.  Small examples... The entire 'modern' GPU is still based on Microsoft designs, just as the AMD/Intel SoC technologies come from work done by Microsoft's hardware teams. The reason the 'technology/innovation' portion ties into and bleeds over from the 'Platform' aspect of Microsoft is simple, innovations and technologies need platforms and platforms need new hardware to make what they want to do possible.  Another example... HoloLens is as much as Platform, as it is creating the hardware to make the Platform work.  Microsoft shares the hardware and even software technologies of HoloLens so that their vision of the Platform can exist with other companies able to participate and get the technology cheaper and into the hands of more people.   The HoloLens isn't cheap yet, mainly because of the expensive Laser Retinal Displays, but the room mapping and tracking technology from HoloLens is available now and being used by all the VR/MR partners, like Dell, Asus, Acer, etc.   This technology/hardware sharing is there to 'support' the VR/MR 'Platform' added to Windows. Microsoft also not only creates platform concepts but also all the supporting and lower level technologies to make the platform possible.  They don't just create a framework and an API set, or a base OS, or a kernel, they also create the compiler and language technologies and even the low-level hardware compiler technologies that are usually better than the once made by the hardware companies themselves, like Intel. So it is easier to just say, Microsoft is a Platform Company.
    (It is longer to say they are a Company that focuses on fulfilling technology visions via Platforms and creating the supporting technologies needed for the Platform, in order to get new technologies and concepts into the hands of users.) This is a vision that goes back to Gates himself, that first wanted computers accessible to everyone, ubiquitous, and easy to use, and eventually disappear as they become a part of our daily lives and not exist as separate entities, with NUI and ML technologies, started in the late 80s at Microsoft, making this possible. Microsoft has had some hard times...  First with the Monopoly rulings that limited everything they could do in the 00s, while other companies like Apple were allowed to bundle and brand technologies that Microsoft couldn't... Ironically giving Apple a near media monopoly for a while.  This created almost a whole generation of 'users' that don't know the old Microsoft that was the 'cool' company breaking the rules by making computing cheap and easy for developers, taking theoretical concepts and putting them to actual use in a way users could easily use and afford.  Microsoft did a lot for getting technology out to users really cheap in comparison to Apple and IBM that both charged a premium just to get into computing.  (Apple sadly still has this model.)   A direct result of Microsoft being the 'Prometheus' of the 90s...  Ever really wonder why OS/2 didn't do well under IBM?  Simple...  The OS/2 SDK kits cost thousands, while Microsoft was giving theirs away and offering $100 products like VB so ANYONE could jump into development. Secondly, Ballmer was a nightmare as he stripped the R&D and tried to move Microsoft to a faster profit return company, as in moving away from 'Platforms' and to emulating Apple with quick and profitable hardware sales.  This not only hurt their current work and 'vision' but also damaged their relationship with OEMs and all level of coporate partners.   Nadella and Gates have done a lot to fix many of the PC Hardware relationships, but now they have to work to get back their relationships with other software companies and other industries, including the bad blood Ballmer created with companies like Verizon.
  • "Microsoft is also a Technology Company, in that they spend more creating new 'technologies' and 'innovations' than the other bigger companies combined, and they also distribute the technology throughout the industry. " Bullcrap. Microsoft is no more and no less altruistic than any other tech company. They chase new technologies because that's where they're gambling they can make money. In the first two decades of life Microsoft was reknowned for its ability to COPY or BUY technology, not for innovation. Microsoft DOS was bought. Microsoft WIndows was a straight-up unpaid-for copy of Apple's work (BTW Apple paid for access to Xerox's work and then dramatically expanded on Xerox's work). PowerPoint was purchased from another company. For that matter, in the first two (or three) decades of Microsoft's existence it was run by a shrewd businessman who saw ways to take existing technologies and repackage them. By comparison, Apple, a hardware company was far more innovative in its first two (or three) decades, taking existing technolgies and re-inventing them or inventinging new technologies of thier own. Apple's contribution to developing new ways of computing has been substantially greater than Microsoft's--and, that's simply because they were hardware manufacturers so they had to do a lot more. That said, don't mistake Apple's contributions to computing for altruisim any more than Microsoft's current discovery of R&D. These developments were all about making money, lots and lots and lots of money.
  • Ed the new guy and TheNet Avenger, you're both right. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with pursuit of profit as the reason to go after a new market or technology. In fact, that's the only reason that is sustainable. Anything else would lead to companies going out of business, killing the idea anyway. I used to dislike MS for their business practices and limited innovation. Their standard operating mode was to leverage the OS to ensure their own apps worked while causing problems for their then-bigger competitors. Just enough to create uncertainty and doubt in the minds of customers for using competing products. Also, MS achieved dominance largely due to the stupidity of their competitors, who just made strategic and tactical mistakes left and right. But MS became much more customer focused than it's chief modern-day competitors. Apple forces you to do what they want. For Google, users are the product they sell to advertisers. Microsoft exists to make software and platforms to help end users as their core customers. That is the most customer-focused mission of the big 3. However, in one of the most horrific acts of self immolation I've ever seen a company engage, Microsoft has also floggeh its most loyal fans, Windows Phones Users (maybe not quite as bad as HP's Leo Apotheker destroying Web OS and saying HP was no longer going to be in the PC business). Worse, it's treatment of Windows Phones fans is not isolated -- where MS used to suceed through perseverence and iteration until they got new ideas right, today's MS has shown a "we will cut our losses and run at the first sign of trouble" with Windows Phone, Zune, Kinect, Band. OK, maybe not always at the "first" sign of trouble, but their backbone is weak and they are punishing loyalty. Lack of respect for loyalty ensures one thing: no loyalty. Their effective message to would-be fans, the very customers who are critical in driving awareness and market interest in a new technology, is "you can't trust us, don't try anything new we do, because we'll probably drop it and any interest we are now showing in you in a few months." I remain a fan of today's MS, because as you have both pointed out, MS is innovating more than its competitors today (even though it didn't in the past) and because they have a generally sound business strategy, which is necessary for long-term success. But I fear their mistakes in not valuing loyalty and taking care of their customer base will prove their undoing.
  • I like Microsoft's core product much more than I used to (until Windows 7 I found Windows useless compared to Mac OS X). I can't say I like Microsoft as a company anymore than I used to. It's too big for the good of the industry--it really needs to be broken up into smaller bits. What I can't get used to now that I'm paying attention to the Windows world is the bizarre fanbois that exist in the Microsoft sphere. They're not as bad a Linux fanbois but they're way worse than anything I ever saw in the Mac world.
  • I'm definitely a fan, but I hope I succeed at being respectful of everyone else. That said, I do dislike Google for their business model and corporate ethics.
  • More pointless gimmicks from Microsoft. There is no reason for your PC, phone, tablet, watch and TV to be running the same OS. It just dilutes the experience. You can't make the greatest desktop experience if you also have to worry about it running on mobile and vice versa. Microsoft needs to drop the gimmicks and just create the best desktop and the best mobile experience they can without trying to pointlessly tie the two together. Windows 8 should have already taught them that desktop and mobile don't mix. Apple knew this and Google is learning it.
  • There is every reason to have the same CORE operating system.  It makes development easier. I am not sure how it dilutes the experience.  Can you please give your reasons why it dilutes the experience, and then give the statistics that show it. With Google, Apple and MS all aiming to integrate the experiences, I am not sure why it would be seen as diluting it.  I see positives:Integrated experiences, with similar behaviour expectations on all devices.  Easy offloading of apps from one device to another.  Not to mention a simplified maintenance and upgrade process. With an adaptable UI, such as CSHELL's aim, it should maintain a good experience on all devices.
  • @Brendan White "There is every reason to have the same CORE operating system.  It makes development easier." Two major weaknesses in the notion that Microsoft is doing something special by making Windows "scale" to different computing paradigms: First, what do you think Apple is doing?  Exactly that! And, unlike Microsoft, they have working examples of that strategy in the field. iOS and watchOS and tvOS are all macOS operating systems. They're built on the exact same core of technologies each specialized for their own computing paradigm. Second, each category of device has its own nuances. There is no such thing as one interface to rule them all. Multi-platform IDEs already exist. Some don't even require you to change the interface if you're programming for Android and iOS. Microsoft is getting in on the Android and iOS and macOS development act with Visual Studio and Xamarin. I understand why they've gone that route. It's a defensive ploy to allow developers to develop for Android and iOS and bring those apps back to Windows which they weren't willing to do since it would require extra developer resources (why spend them when you can target iOS and Android--the two profitable markets... but, if you can recomiple for Windows by only providing a new interface, that's an acceptable expense).
  • Without getting technical, just think in terms of standardization, and why it matters and is important for the success of societies and technologies. All automobiles meet a certain set of 'standard' technologies and features. This makes it easier for drivers, road builders, city designers, etc. It also makes it easier for the Auto industry as they can provide the 'standard' set of features, and then SPEND MORE TIME focusing on the differences in their automobiles and the technologies they offer.  This is why everyone can depend on a car to work for them, even if they never saw the car before... It also means they can take time to learn the 'extras' of the car and do things in a Porsche or Corvette that they just can't do in their Buick or Fiat. By Microsoft using ONE OS model, it is not only eaiser for Microsoft, but also Hardware makers, Developers, and end users, as they can all expect a certain 'standard' of features no matter if it is their refrigerator, tablet, or supercomputer.  Developers don't have to write a 'Refigerator' or 'TV' or 'Supercomputer' version of their software, they can start with the base features, and tweak it if needed to work on all three and spend more time on what their software does and less time worrying about what OS, Hardware, or Form Factor it runs on.  This is were things become seamless, and some developers area already getting a bump out of this with the UWP as their Apps are available on WM10/Windows10/Tablets/XBox and even available on IoT devices - automatically.  
  • So you like what Apple is doing, right ? WatchOs
  • @cwilfried: Jason Ward is a bright guy. I'm surprised he's never recognized that watchOS, tvOS, iOS and macOS are all the same operating system. Apple's profitability and market dominance is evidence that Microsoft's strategy is the wrong one. A single OS to rule them all is a distraction. Take what you're good at and specialize for each platform. Developers are interested in making money. They'll make sure their apps are where they need to be to make that money. Plus, the IDEs already exist to allow a developer to target all those OSes with a single code-base. Microsoft's pie-in-the-sky vision is in the clouds. Microsoft is chasing clouds and making lots of money off that strategy. Sadly their Windows division missed the memo that clouds is what the Clouds division is expected to do and that Windows division is expected to compete with more eath-bound visions of software and platforms.
  • @bleached, that's not necessarily true. If the OS is truly just an enabling core in the background that runs everywhere, then it's easier to create experiences that adapt to the user wherever he or she is with less effort by developers, because they can reuse more of their code between platforms. Just like the music's scale and notes have discrete and specific values doesn't prevent musicians from composing great music or our alphabet doesn't prevent authors from writing everything from epic masterpieces to subtle poetry. Yes, these are limiting and preclude certain avenues of creativity, but on net, they do more help than harm, because they provide a common framework for shared innovation that is easily replicated and built upon. Of course, execution is important and it's easy to see how an OS could be overly constraining if it treats everything as a desktop. But One Core could be a great advance if done well.
  • Great article Jason - glad some more light has been shed on Andromeda. Hoping with the release of WoA devices we will get even more information on what's next. My contract for my 950XL expires in December and with iPhone 8|8+|X and Samsung GS8(or anything other Android OEM) not impressing me, I'm happy to wait. See you beyond the curve....
  • This has been the vision for a while now.  Windows 8 was suppose to be the all-in-one OS.  It's the execution we are waiting on.  When will this all happen?  When will another must have phone be released?  Those are my only two concerns.
  • What is the current stage of this project ?. Is it completed or not ?