Earlier this week, a veteran Wall Street analyst said in a note to clients that development of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8, under newly installed Microsoft mobile chief Terry Myerson, was reporting to Windows chief Steven Sinofsky.
After reading the note, I set out to verify the information, but it turned out it wasn’t true. Microsoft flatly denied that the reporting structure had changed, and the analyst later acknowledged it was incorrect.
But now it’s becoming more clear how that rumor might have come about.
A pair of reports today reveal new details about Windows Phone 8, the next version of the Microsoft mobile operating system — including what appears to be a substantial amount of commonality under the hood with Windows 8, the next version of Microsoft’s PC operating system.
First, PocketNow posts details on a Windows Phone 8 video, featuring Microsoft executive Joe Belfiore, reportedly created for the company’s partners at Nokia. One of the tidbits from the site.
Windows Phone 8 won’t just share a UI with the next-generation desktop and tablet OS, apparently: it will use many of the same components as Windows 8, allowing developers to “reuse — by far — most of their code” when porting an app from desktop to phone, according to Belfiore. He specifically mentions the kernel, networking stacks, security, and multimedia support as areas of heavy overlap.
Longtime Windows author and reporter Paul Thurrott follows up with more details, with the PocketNow post opening the door to share info he had been keeping secret. He writes …
Windows Phone 8, codenamed Apollo, will be based on the Windows 8 kernel and not on Windows CE as are current versions. This will not impact app compatibility: Microsoft expects to have over 100,000 Windows Phone 7.5-compatible apps available by the time WP8 launches, and they will all work fine on this new OS.
Windows Phone 8, as its name suggests, will also be tied closely to the desktop version of Windows 8 in other ways. They’ll be launched closely to each other, and will share integrated ecosystems, thanks to the shared underlying code, components, and user experiences.
We already knew that Windows 8 and Windows Phone would look very similar, with the Metro style and tile-based interface. It only makes sense that the commonalities will go much deeper than that. Here’s hoping it’s a good change for users of both.
Update: Matt Rosoff of Business Insider has more on the internal rejiggering, quoting a source familiar with Microsoft’s plans “who says that the Windows team is already exercising a lot of control over Windows Phone development, although the company hasn’t formally combined the groups.”