What is Windows OneCore and what does it mean for the future of Microsoft?

Is Windows One on the horizon?

A LinkedIn page from a Microsoft intern contains a reference to something called "Windows OneCore" which could be a rebranding of the company's plans to develop one kernel that will be used for all of Microsoft's operating systems, including Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox.

The "Windows OneCore" reference shows up on the LinkedIn page of Microsoft intern Sawyer Anderson, who states that among his responsibilities are "Porting trademark Windows Phone features for use in any Windows operating environment through Windows OneCore."

In addition, a Microsoft Careers listing for a software engineer states, "The XAML team is building the UI framework at the core of the 'One Microsoft' OS." One of the goals of the team is to enable "developers to create UI that works well across all of our devices: phones, tablets, PCs, and the Xbox."

All of this would appear to be evidence that Microsoft is slowly but surely making efforts to merge its Windows operating systems into one. Indeed, last week at the Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft's chief operating officer Kevin Turner stated that the next version of Windows will contain support for universal apps that can be used on the Xbox and large screen devices in addition to Windows and Windows Phone.

Exactly what this next version of Windows, which internally has the code name Threshold, will be called when it is released to the public is still something of a mystery. The "Windows OneCore" reference could suggest that Microsoft may launch the next version of the OS as "Windows One", much like how they named the third version of the Xbox console the Xbox One.

What do you think Windows OneCore really means?

Source: Sawyer Anderson on LinkedIn (opens in new tab) , Microsoft Careers (opens in new tab) via @H0x0d

233 Comments
  • One-derful....
  • Ba dum tss
  • Haha
  • Good "one"
  • Nice "one"
  • OneRepublic
  • DriveOne
  • One of these days...
  • Two directions
  • Hahaha!
  • Gotta give you 'one' !
  • "There can be only one"
  • Great, now I have that Queen song stuck in my head. Thanks! :-P
  • Well, "Princes of the Universe" is a great song to have stuck on the head for a while...
  • Windows One. Now there's an interesting but basic renaming. Better than 8.2 or 9. Wonder if they'll change WP8.1 to Lumia One? And then after these become outdated, what will they name next Gen? Because Windows Two unfortunately sounds worse
  • Windows One and just version it like OS X.
  • One dot one. Hell, all naming schemes sound terrible.
  • Windows One Lion
  • Double windows all the waaaay!
  • Windows One, Xbox One, and ultimately OnePhone.  Just think of the marketing (if they do it right). As for the versions, they could give them names similar to how Nokia was naming their firmware updates e.g. Amber, Black, Cyan.  
  • I wonder if the next one will be Dandelion or Denim.. Neither sounds good :P And after that, Ecru maybe?
  • I would like this one ;)
  • Onedows :D
  • Like.
  • +1
  • No one-der they've been slew with the changes lol...
  • Big ONE
  • 'Till All are One
  • LOL, Nice!
  • RedOne
  • Yes, what does it mean? Good question.
  • One core to rule them all. One core to find them. One core to bring them all and in the OS bind them in the land of Redmond where the geeks lie.
  • Nice!
  • Awesome. Probably right too.
  • Brilliant. Too bad there is no like button
  • One core to Bing them all?
  • The answer is in the question.
  • No upgrade to wp9, wp8.9 is all we will get :) sorry, new kernel is better in the long run hehehe
  • This is what I've been waiting for since WP7. Convergence. I can't wait. I hope MS is fast with this.
  • Yeah, if they can truly make it so developers only have to develop one app and have it work on Windows 8/9, Windows RT, Windows Phone, and Xbox One, there will literally be no excuse for any developer not to make apps for them because that, collectively, will be one of the largest consumer markets in the history of the computing world. Heck, I'd even create some virtual machine program that brought modern apps to Windows 7 too.
  • Nawzil said Threshold will enable devs to make one app for Windows on all Desktop, Phone and XBox
  • Why you speaks about thing that you don't know? Already now a developer can develop an apps that run on Windows 8.1, Windows RT, Windows Phone and Xbox (when Microsoft decides to enable it).   For example I'm developing an apps for Windows Phone 8.1 but i debug it on my Windows 8.1 (because i can't run the WP emulator), or on MSDN there are about 100 example of apps that run on Windows or Windows Phone.
  • ^this will be awesome, and the main reason why I have a WP and a W8.1 convertible. I can't wait and hope it comes with W9.
  • Definitely more work for devs. :-o
  • It could actually be easier to create programs for all 4 systems (PC, tablet, phone, and tv aka Xbox) if things are similar on all platforms since you could use the same code and other things just only had to make minor tweaks for each platform.
  • Not.
  • The opposite actually. Trying programming something for windows, and phone prior to 8.1. When a programmer can work on a single compilation of his work which can distributed cross Microsoft platform... A lot better than having to make a desperate desktop application, metro app, phone app, and then since majority own iPhone or android, developers would also have to design apps for them too! It becomes obvious why everyone neglects Microsoft. So much easier to just ignore the three platforms, and just focus on the other two. Bring the 3 together and add in Xbox one? Ha, now you're bigger than them again. It's a brilliant idea. But can they follow through? Especially before everyone stops caring or before Apple/Google distract everyone? It's the age old PC and Xbox were depending on to save Microsoft right now. Can it become better before everyone buys iMacs? Or will they follow the footsteps of BlackBerry? (unlikely, yeah)
  • How much overlap is there between what people run on their PCs and on their phones?  For me it is practically zero beyond email/calendar and mapping, and I use those through the browser on the PC even when there are standalone programs available.  Do people really use a Yelp app (for example) on their PC or do they just go to the webpage?  Whereas on a mobile I might want an app that knows my location, lets me directly upload snapshots from the camera into my review, etc.  Stuff that would be pointless to implement on a PC.
  • I have a lot of overlap. I use all my devices as connected remotes to one another so they can all do whatever I want or need them to do if they're the only device I have available at the time. Absolutely marvelous for people who don't stop. One note is an amazing note taker, especially when combined with the Surface. But I love that I can make edits or quickly attach something when I'm on my computer, or out on just my phone. When listening to my music, I'd love to pick up where I left off when I was on my way home from work. So that when I sit down on my PC, I simply open the app (in Desktop!) and begin playing my music again after JUST turning it off on my phone and have it continue tracking my preferences (mind you none of the apps actually compare to desktop applications yet, but let's assume for this argument they eventually will). Then yes, like you mentioned, Maps, Calendars, Contacts, email. Which you can open in browser as well, or use the desktop threshold apps if you prefer. (Some people prefer not to use browsers, yes) Windows 8 is currently a beautiful project on the phone, and on the tablet, but it was never really that fluent on the PC with a mouse and keyboard. So it's nice to see they're bringing us that compatibility. And Xbox One as well? I don't own, or need an Xbox One, but I think that's awesome. Another app I love is my package tracker app. Enter in the number and carrier then dynamic tags appear displaying all current and relevant information as well as mapping the locations. Then it syncs across all my devices and I get a notification wherever I am when a package is delivered, or has an issue. So it's not so much as attempting to re-invent the PC, but allowing everything else you own and use to also be reliable and functional on your PC too. Plus, I love the new Search and I love the new Share. The start menu how it's currently implemented is an excellent means to gain a quick grasp of a large variety of information including weather, news, bank accounts, purchases, support, stocks, mail, texts. Sure, I can open 8 different tabs on my browser to do all of that too, but I think it's a bit more easy and convenient to tap 1 button and see it all, then tap 1 button again to resume what I was doing. Threshold once again promises to make this even smoother by not ever even removing your view of the desktop.
  • And then the biggest thing we mustn't forget! Video games! Can't wait for developers to begin developing in app style so we can gain complete and alternative access to our games through all of our devices. Want to play on the Xbox? Ok, want to play on the PC now? Sure. Take over that controller too. Want to use your phone to make some neat alternative connection into the game or to play the game entirely as well? (Think how Battlefield 4 attempted to implement Commander roles onto tablets) What's REALLY cool about the Metro interface, is you can seem to seperate the input. So you can have a person playing a game on one monitor in Metro, and someone else playing a Desktop game on the other monitor simultaneously. It's fun. :) (And I have it stream tv shows to my surround sound system/HDTV at the same time too which I independently control with my phone or tablet!) Accomplishing these kind of things has always been a royal pain in the a**. I thank Microsoft for making it easier. I guess most people don't bother going to these lengths to create true home entertainment though. Apple TV is good enough for them it seems.
  • You, my friend, understand Windows well. If there were a "like" button here, your comment would surely receive one from me.
  • I use my 3 devices like you, very interchangeably. (no Xbox)
  • +920 x2
  • the world is not divided into PC and Smartphones but there are many form factor between this to
  • I bet Nadella is finishing up the email cancelling the OneCore effort. /snark This is good news though!!
  • Lol!!!!.... But, its not like they ever officially unveiled 3DT... We need to remember that... Companies scrap prototype tech all of the time.
  • Better to scrap it then to release a product that advertises it but works as poorly as it did on the Galaxy.
  • Exactly!... We have to respect, and be grateful for MS's standards...
  • Exactly. 3D touch would've been beautiful for their new sliding keyboard function. Would've been great to not have to feel friction when typing. But if it's gimmicky and not reliable, then don't embarrass yourself like Apple did with their voices assistant before Siri. "Call Adam" ... "calling 8389"
  • Nevertheless, I still hope they introduce Mixed View.. They can still do that without 3DT...
  • True. They don't need 3D for that. Tap on a certain corner of a tile and 6-8 subtiles appear on screen, while remaining tiles just fade out in the background. Tap anywhere else on the tile, and the app opens up as usual. Would be pretty amazing if implemented neatly.
  • Or two finger touch.  Or perhaps hold for 1 second, move icons by holding for 2. But I'd much rather them scrap 3D touch unless it's truly ready.  A poor implementation would be far, far worse for them at this point than not putting it out.  Most people who don't already have WP were skeptical of the claims (the techies anyway), the general populace didn't care and we were cautiously optimistic.  Mix view sounds cool either way and was the only feature of 3D touch that I thought would be useful.
  • True dat... True dat!!
  • Yes!! This!! Exactly what you said!!!
  • I bet he writes the cancelling e-mails before finishing a project :D
    Nutella PLZ!
  • They cancelled a product that was going to use it not the idea of it.  I, as well as many with greater knowledge of this then myself, believethe tech was not ready or was too gimicky when the 3DT's current iteration was applied for use with the phone.  I would prefer they bring out great devices rather then something that was not ready for prime time (even if it had an initial cool factor)
  • When Steve Jobs returned to Apple for his second stint, the first thing he did was cut every project that wasn't relevant to the core business. This freed up people to focus and build brilliant products. Nadella is an excellent CEO and I'm certain this will show in the years to come.
  • better late than never
  • Now, how many times is that saying going to hold water ❔❔❔
  • But never late is better
  • +Drake
  • Late? How are they late?
  • Better than "in the coming months"....
  • Just open up support to store apps on my micro SD card in windows 8.1 (all versions.) and ill be happy.
  • Whatever it is I can't wait to get it!
    ...................
    Mainly it needs to have better pickup "where you left off" capabilities....... For example, if I'm playing a music mix on my XB, or PC, that mix should be able to be immediately synchronized, and picked up on my WP device.....
    Or, if I downloaded a song to my PC then it should automatically start downloading on my phone... This is what I need❗❗❗❗❗
  • Lol. They can't even get it to work on one device. I would keep my hopes low when it comes to music. They just suck at it.
  • That's their goal. Truly. But they have a LOT of work cut out for themselves. They have to rebuild windows... Again.. As well as every other operating system.. Again... Maybe not from scratch but it's still a gross and ambitious undertaking.
  • No, I think they've already done the rebuilding.. Think about it... W8, WRT, WP, And XB are now all on the same core... Although you did point out that it's not from scratch, it's not really a rebuilding, rather more of a building up to where it needs to be... The foundation is already set, current hardware, even last generation hardware, is compatible and this is it.. The device you have in your hand (if it's at least a WP8 device) is it, especially if its a second generation WP8/8.1 device like a 1520, Icon, or 930.... I think that puts MS in a good position, even giving the XB1 the capability to do as much as the next XB if they wanted it to... This new foundation can go a long, long way, even into the next decade... We probably won't see another core change until the roaring 20's.....
  • Ah yeah you're probably right. It's difficult to really say without actually being a part of the company. I could only hope they spend years on improving their services and offering new useful gadgets to add into their newly developed ecosystem. When compared to Apple or Googles mobile dominance, Microsoft at least has the PC... which can hardly be compared at this point to a Mac, Linux, or anything Google can offer. Threshold is a million times more seductive on a home computer than what anyone else can hope to offer at this point. My PC is my house's central hub and acts as several media devices simultaneously with multiple inputs and outputs as well as acting as a server. It was all pretty damn easy too in 8.1.. and Threshold only promises to make it even easier AND better! I'll take my $1000 super PC that's working with a variety of odd devices, over a $3000 useless mac that can perform functions only within its own ecosystem.   I only hope others can see these benefits. What about our HTPCs? Pretty awesome in Windows 8 compared to anything else. Love sitting across the room with wireless keyboard browsing through the metro interface like my TV is a tablet almost. The syncing while being an incredible feature, is the biggest issue though as well. If I get one skype message, it pops up on 5 devices. And I have to manually clear them on all 5. Bleh. So I look forward to it being improved, and then I'm going to have a pretty damn hard time finding something to complain about. Also I can't stand that my 930 will track my steps and log them into Health & Fitness automatically, but Health & Fitness on any other device won't recognize the steps, nor are they loaded into the HealthVault system. Lots of issues in the Windows environment currently, so I have to wait before I can really exclaim to anyone that Windows is the way to go. But if they stick to what they're suggesting, well like I said, going to have a hard time finding something to complain about.
  • With Xbox Music already now you have a better option, instead of download twice a song, your collection is syncronized in cloud so you can listen the all your music in streaming, even if you haven't bought the songs on Xbox Music
  • That's what's wrong... F##k Streaming❕❕❕ We need our music synchronized for offline use.... Who has enough data to stream music for an hour every day back and fourth to work 5 days a week?? Do you❔❔ .... Maybe some people do, but I don't, and I don't wanna pay crazy overages!!!
  • Windows One sounds cool
  • Onedows is cooler!!!!
  • As long as current devices are compatible I'm ok, I'm not buying another windows tablet because of incompatible issues NO
  • Well that's the idea buy more it won't be compatible,but we will see eh.
  • It'll be based off the W8 core.... We're not looking at a new core, just a much heavier unification of the current core... Remember, this was the whole point of switching XB, WP, and W, to the W8 kernel... In a sense W1 is already here.
  • Pretty sure we'll see another break from current WP hardware when this happens. I predict MSFT will go Intel on all their patforms including mobile.   I expect this is also the reason why 'under development'  flagship hardware is canceled for now as MSFT will wait for the next gen hardware.  
  • Apple uses a single kernel / core for MacOS and iOS. They don't have to use the same hardware for their PCs and mobile devices. So I don't see where MSFT would have to either. Now, UX design is another thing wall together. I think what Windows 8 showed us is that you have to design your UI to meet the intended uses of the hardware. Using Apple as an example again, they knew they could bring some design elements and functions from iOS to MacOS, but they did not hide or diminish the desktop. A laptop or workstation works and is used very differently from a phone or tablet. But I digress, all I am trying to say is that using the same core / kernel does not mean having to use the same hardware. That's what API's are for.
  • Wait... Microsoft is already using a single kernel that is more of a single code base than OS X and iOS. The same code and kernel that runs on Windows Server or Win8.1 desktop is the same kernel and nearly the same code that runs on WP8.1 ARM devices.  (Listen to MS Engineers when they talked about battery and performance optimizations for WP 8.1 and how the code changes directly helped the x86 and x64 code for Windows 8.1 Update 1.) With NT, Microsoft already has the 'kernel, subsystems, and mid level layers unified and working well, now they just have to streamline, enrich and finishing unifying the upper layer application frameworks, and 90% of that work is already here with Universal Apps. The final steps are essentially about cleaning up UI elements for the XAML, establishing controls and usability that also works well on the XBox, and adding more APIs to get the WinRT framework closer to Win32 in terms of being able to run far more complex software. Regarding Apple and the OS X kernel...  The way iOS forks from XNU, it uses rewritten mobile and empty stub APIs to resemble the full OS X kernel functionality.  iOS is very much a reduced mobile kernel in comparison to the full OS X kernel. Just because Apple tells 'fans' that the iOS kernel is OS X, doesn't make it truly the OS X kernel. As for supporting a diverse selection of hardware and architectures, today's generation of CS majors doesn't realize NT was designed for portability, much more so than anything else at the time and surprisingly even more so than Linux and other OSes known for portability today. When NT is moved to a new architecture, there is very little code to change because NT's kernel is written to an agnostic architecture that is implemented in the HAL. This also allows NT to perform at native performance to the hardware and use specific optimizations without modifying the kernel code base. This means Microsoft can port it to new hardware quicker and it will inherently run faster on the hardware than other OS models.  
  • Well Said! +920, it never made sense to me why they chose to build WP7.x on Windows CE. Even if they chose it for quickness, that decision was severly short sighted as they ended up on the backfoot with the WP8 + Zune transition.
  • Problem is most oems dont believe in using intel mainly because the dont have a strong wireless soc r&d.
  • already now don't matter the hardware platform, the Universal apps can run on Windows PC with x86 or x64 precessor, on ARM tablet, on ARM smartphone, on Xbox (in near future). the Framework WinRT is designed to be hardware indipendent
  • Sounds like a great branding scheme.