Microsoft's Larson-Green hints at Windows consolidation

— 9:18 AM on November 25, 2013

Julie Larson-Green, the newly minted head of Microsoft's Devices and Studios engineering group, had some interesting things to say about the future of Windows and Windows RT recently. As Neowin reports, Larson-Green addressed the topic during a question-and-answer session at the UBS Global Technology Summit. A transcript of the talk is available here on Microsoft's website.

The interesting part comes after Larson-Green is asked a question about Windows RT's future. She starts off by saying that "there's clearly a need for a simplified consumer electronics experience on devices," then goes on to say that Windows RT "was our first go at creating that more closed, turnkey experience, where it doesn't have all the flexibility of Windows, but it has the power of Office and then all the new style applications." Having said that, she adds:

So the goal was to deliver two kinds of experiences into the market, the full power of your Windows PC, and the simplicity of a tablet experience that can also be productive. That was the goal. Maybe not enough -- I think we didn't explain that super-well. I think we didn't differentiate the devices well enough. They looked similar. Using them is similar. It just didn't do everything that you expected Windows to do. So there's been a lot of talk about it should have been a rebranding. We should not have called it Windows. How should we have made it more differentiated? I think over time you'll see us continue to differentiate it more.

We have the Windows Phone OS. We have Windows RT and we have full Windows. We're not going to have three. We do think there's a world where there is a more mobile operating system that doesn't have the risks to battery life, or the risks to security. But, it also comes at the cost of flexibility. So we believe in that vision and that direction and we're continuing down that path.

I'm not much for deciphering executive-talk, but that sounds to me like Larson-Green is saying there may be only two versions of Windows in the future: a full-fledged one and another that's more mobile and less flexible. In short, perhaps the future holds some kind of merger between Windows RT and Windows Phone—or even the disappearance of one of them. Hmm. (Thanks to Neowin for the link.)

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