Right now, Microsoft finds itself in the uncomfortable position of managing three app ecosystems, none compatible with the others; we’ve got Windows Phone 8, Windows RT, and the full-blown Windows 8.1. More and more lately, we’ve been talking about an inevitable merger between at least some of these disparate families, hearing rumors about Microsoft going to a unified app store next year, and discussing exactly how crossover devices might work. Today we get to see some new commentary along that line, thanks to an interview with Microsoft’s Julie Larson-Green at last week’s UBS Global Tech Conference.
Larson-Green talks about some of the missteps with the Surface RT and Microsoft’s launch of RT in general, though she remains convinced that there’s a real demand for a consumer-focused tablet that lacks the raw power and flexibility of a full 8.1 slate. The question for her seems to be the balancing act between those factors and things like security and battery life – and it’s not yet obvious what the answer is. Whatever the actual implementation ends up being, however, Larson-Green is clear that the days of three separate platforms aren’t going to last; one way or another, Microsoft’s looking to simplify things.
Of course, that leaves us wondering just when Microsoft might make good on such plans. We may be seeing the framework put into place now, but when will the real push towards a harmonized Microsoft ecosystem really begin?