Is Microsoft Planning To Merge All Windows Platforms?

At the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference last week, Andy Lees, the guy in charge of Windows Phone, let it slip that the software giant may come up with a single ecosystem for PCs, phones, tablets and "other devices" possibly including the next Xbox, as early as 2015.

Windows 8, the next iteration of Microsoft's flagship non mobile operating system, will go a long way towards that goal with the ultimate aim to get an app that is compatible across multiple devices and doesn't need rewriting during its lifetime.

Could Lees have been looking at a unified core that binds Windows Phone and Windows? A single OS to rule everything and anything from phones to servers?

Not unlikely given the fact that Windows 8 and Windows Phone 7 use roughly the same interface, that HTML5 is the preferred interface regardless of the device and that both platforms share common tools and features like Internet Explorer. Oh and Linux has done it before as well, which could be a powerful motivator.

We can't help but notice two things: (a) that the two other Microsoft competitors, both of which have very significant mobile presence, Apple and Google, appear also to be looking to merge their mobile and desktop operating systems in the long run; (b) that being able to bring mobile and desktop OSes into one is partly down to the fact that the performance delta between mobile hardware platforms and their desktop counterparts is decreasing.