At a shareholder meeting Steve Ballmer might have given the clearest indication yet that Microsoft intends ultimately to bring Windows 8 to smartphones.
He is quoted, by Business Insider, as saying "We've got broad initiatives driving Windows down to the phone with Windows 8" although the official Microsoft transcript reads "We've got broad Windows initiatives driving Windows down to the phone".
At some point in the not-so-distant future, one can envisage that Windows Desktop, Windows Phone and other more trivial versions of Windows (Embedded, Server, HPC) will sit along a continuum in a unified ecosystem.
Already Apple seems to be moving towards that with Mac OS X adopting features first pioneered by iOS (like instant on, App Store), as is Google with Gingerbread and Honeycomb merging to bring Ice Cream Sandwich, and then with ChromeOS.
Having a core kernel would make it easier to move from one form factor to another, and we suspect that Microsoft's dependency on Intel will be gradually loosened as the likes of Qualcomm, ST Ericsson, TI and Nvidia move from the mobile arena to desktop and server.
After all, since smartphones are basically smaller versions of tablets AND Microsoft has already announced that Windows 8 will come to this form factor, jumping from one to another shouldn't be complicated.