Satya Nadella wants Windows 11 to be the center of an open tech ecosystem

Windows 11 Logo 4 Razerbook
Windows 11 Logo 4 Razerbook (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Satya Nadella had an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
  • In it, he spoke of his desire for Windows 11 to be the center of the technology world.
  • iTunes, iMessage, and other Apple products were referenced as being welcome to the Windows ecosystem.

Microsoft's CEO and Chairman Satya Nadella met virtually with the Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern to discuss Windows 11 as well as what he hopes Microsoft will achieve with the new operating system.

The selling point of Windows 11 is that, in his own words, "Windows gives you the most choice." When asked why someone should opt for Windows over macOS or ChromeOS, Nadella elaborated on his choice-related claim. "I think Windows, in fact, is becoming increasingly the device that bridges all of these ecosystems."

"I think there are certain platform rules by which we principally drive Windows," Nadella said. When asked how his company's platform rules are different than Apple's, his response was straightforward. "We have the ability to have multiple marketplaces that can thrive."

This can be read as a direct shot at Apple's policies that were put in the limelight during the Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit. It's also a sales pitch for Windows 11: Come to Windows, enjoy everyone else's ecosystems without forced segregation.

This isn't just Windows 11's philosophy, though. This is the philosophy underpinning many of Microsoft's operations as of late.

Notice how similar Xbox's plan is. Not long ago, Xbox gave up on winning the "only on Xbox" race and started putting all of its titles on PC as well to reach the absolute widest audience possible. Not to mention, Microsoft-produced titles such as Minecraft have even ended up on direct competitors' platforms.

We'll see if this "no walls are the best walls" approach works as well for Windows 11 as it has for Xbox thus far. In his interview with the WSJ, Nadella welcomed Apple and its exclusive apps and products over to Windows in the event the rival giant is keen on cross-pollinating. Only time will tell if Apple eventually sees a reason to accept the invitation.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to

  • If Mr. Nadella treats Windows 11 with the same care and consideration as Windows Mobile... Well we all know how that turns out. Yeah I'm a skeptic. Been burned multiple times by the multiple personality syndrome that has plagued Microsoft for a decade (or more). Windows Mobile
    Surface RT
    and the list goes on But... I am still rooting for a Win (yes bad pun is bad)
  • Your examples are not Nadella led efforts ... though I understand the skepticism
  • Exactly! Azure would be a much better example.
  • Windows Mobile was a silo and old Microsoft was all about making its own silos. New Microsoft is about interoperability. Just look at all the cross-platform development going on for Microsoft apps and services or how Linux functionality is a major part of Windows now.
  • They should support all CPU generations from 2015 (esp. intel).
  • Releasing the GDK (game development kit) was a nice step in this direction
  • Mr. Nadella's segment was, for me, the most interesting part of the Windows 11 rollout. He made a good case that Windows over the decades was and still is the single most important software platform. Without the commonality that Windows and its development environment, the current rich computing universe would be radically different. It is not hard to arrive at a place where software and hardware would be highly balkanized. Windows in all its forms was the foundation of that revolution which transformed how we live, communicate, conduct the economy, academics, research, and medicine, to name but a few, in a few short decades. Windows unleashed creativity and wealth creation at a scale that is unprecedented. Nothing comes close to the importance of Windows influence on the modern world. As Mr. Nadella noted this value is still there and precisely because of an expanding democratic approach to what makes up the Windows universe we are headed off to a place where we can begin to think in terms of universal computing and its effects on the world. Without an iota of disrespect to the other great minds in computing over the last 20 years, Mr. Nadalla, is the single most important person in computing since Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. The evidence is clear: he sorted out the missteps Microsoft made over that last decade and revitalized the single most important software platform that exists so it can be the new foundation of the coming highly connected, cloud based, AI directed computing universe that is just getting started. Windows 11, as Panos Panay noted, is like coming home no matter how many times it has been remolded. Today was not about a new OS version* but about a solidly confident Microsoft that has a profound vision for the future that will effect everyone. Good job Microsoft. Now go make that future a reality. * Except for the Windows Central team, especially Zac Bowden - today was all about Windows 11, sort of like a pack of Labrador retrievers chasing a ball. Good job to all of you. Woof.
  • Well said, thank you. I also found Nadella's segment the most insightful and interesting. He really drove home the fundamental role Windows has played in the computing landscape over the last few decades.
  • I think Linus Torvalds would like a word with you...
  • The way to see how much Microsoft really cares about Windows is to pay attention to the apps it makes. If they're all web-based garbage and/or PWAs, then why bother with Windows? In other words, if Microsoft doesn't practice what it preaches, then why should anyone else?
  • I mean, I love PWAs and Windows 11, so far, has been great to use🤷‍♂️ Windows 11 is not about native apps. If you think it is, you missed the point. Windows 11 is about choice. Win32, .NET, UWP, Xamarin, Electron, React Native, Java, Android apps, and Progressive Web Apps, hell, even bring your own store. Microsoft should embrace ALL the tech behind apps if it wants to prove its point, not just get behind one. What Nadella is saying is Windows 11 can and should run it all. It's open now.
  • React Native on Windows is interesting because it could finally allow cross-platform apps that work on Android, iOS and Windows, across x86 and ARM architectures, with cousins on the web. That said, PWAs on Edge are getting good enough to handle most tasks that have an online component. It's a smart move by Microsoft to focus on getting the best browser performance on a particular OS - let the web jockeys do the actual user-facing code. Crucially, users don't care what architecture their app is running on, as long as it runs well. And yes, Win32 still has its place if you have the skill set and you need more direct access to underlying hardware.
  • 😂🤣 you should work for these guys. So far all I hear about 11 is philosophical babble, historical 30 years and what the end user achieved using it. Nothing about the newness of the product. Because they've done nothing.
  • Again, watch what Microsoft does. If it doesn't make apps with Win32, .NET, UWP, and to some extent Xamarin, then why should anyone else especially when those things will likely go away? So, if you're just going to pretend that JavaScript/TypeScript is somehow not an abhorrent piece of garbage and use it to make web apps, THEN WHY HAVE AN OS AT ALL? Why would you run your "app" in a browser? So it can run in a browser running on Windows? I mean, doesn't anyone feel stupid that their web "app" runs in another app and they both show their own menus? At some point we have to accept that Microsoft's monopoly has been broken and we can start writing real apps again. Then maybe we can do away with this crazy idea of making everything free as long as your data can be collected.
  • PPWAs aren't automatically "bad."
  • Now Nintendo next. Their games can be fun but I wouldn't consider a Switch or successor console. Last Nintendo system I bought was a Wii, and it's the only Nintendo console I still own. I prefer to have everything on my PC if I can - nothing will change this perspective. Nintendo is adamant that only they can design the best hardware-software fusion experience, I disagree. I'd be willing to buy PC peripherals that enhance a Nintendo game on PC, but I will not be buying direct Nintendo systems as this would just add to the weight of having separate ecosystems. My PC, Wii and Tablet are quite enough.
  • This is the dumbest comment I've seen on this article. Now I'm not saying that I wouldn't be stoked to have Nintendo games on my PC officially without emulators, but most of the reason Nintendo is so successful is because of the innovative hardware that comes along with their great software. Granted they have made some missteps in the past with their marketing efforts (Wii U) and the Switch controllers have that odd drift issue, but other than that, their hardware is solid. On the other side, yeah if Nintendo made hardware that ran a native version of Windows 11 that would allow Xbox games as well as Nintendo games to run natively, I wouldn't mind that. Windows 11 is about choice, so having Nintendo hardware as part of that would be okay. But I really don't see that happening, and I definitely don't see Sony playing nice with anyone.
  • "open ecosystem" tell me more about what MS did with bethesda after buying it
  • Honoured existing release agreements, left everything currently available on multiple platforms still available on said platforms, and has provided advance notice for any upcoming releases that will not be available on competing platforms. That being said, literally none of this has anything to do with Windows 11 which is what Satya Nadella is talking about.
  • Maybe start by letting more people run it.