On Tuesday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told analysts during the FY14 Q4 earnings conference call that the company plans to merge all of the major Windows releases together into one platform that fits all screen sizes.
This move to one platform is backed by the “Universal Windows Apps” tool revealed during BUILD 2014 back in April, which allows developers to write a single app for desktop, mobile devices and the Xbox One console. A unified store is expected to be launched in April 2015 as part of the “Threshold” release of the Windows platform.
"This means one operating system that covers all screen sizes," Nadella said. "We will streamline the next version of Windows from three operating systems into one single converged operating system for screens of all sizes. In the past we had multiple teams working on different versions of Windows. Now we have one team with a common architecture. This allows us to scale, create Universal Windows Apps."
He clarified that Microsoft will continue to offer different versions (SKUs) of Windows such as Windows Pro, Windows Server and so on, but they will essentially be identical at the core. He also acknowledged that the stores will be unified, as will commerce and developer platforms.
Nadella also mentioned that the company will be talking more about the future of Windows in the coming months, and what the next installment will bring to customers. Currently, Microsoft is expected to ship Windows 8.1 Update 2 in August or September, followed by a possible Windows 9 public beta in Q4 2014. After that, there may be an Update 3 in 1Q 2015 if the Windows 9 public preview isn't available.