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Is the "One" OS that Microsoft is Looking for a new version of Singularity?

by on02 December 2013 1828 times

In 2003 Microsoft started work on a new kernel for their operating systems that was smaller, more efficient and working in ways that no other OS had before Microsoft called this Singularity. It represented a completely different approach to software and operating system design. In 2008 Microsoft released the last version of Singularity was released to the public from Microsoft and the project was “officially” ended in 2010. For many we thought this was the end of the project and the end of a shift in thought from Microsoft.

It is possible that, although Microsoft officially ended the program, some of the thoughts and concepts from Singularity are still in play in existing products and could more even more into the light in the next few years. One place that the Singularity concept appears to alive and well is in the Xbox One. Here we see Microsoft running three spate operating systems concurrently two are designed to perform tasks that they are best suited to while the third is designed to make sure both operate properly side-by side. This third operating system appears to the most like what we saw in Singularity and the Singularity micro-kernel OS would be perfect in this environment to make sure that both work exactly as they should.

Of course the third micro-OS that is on the Xbox One is not likely to be the actual Singularity from 2008, but something based off of that design and we expect to see Microsoft further build on this OS and extend it to other products. Microsoft wants a common OS across all platforms and the creation of a common kernel to run this is something that they have to perfect before they can truly build this. There are a few things happening in their favor though. Both Intel and AMD are working to build x86 SoCs that can run in mobile devices of all shapes and sizes. This means that Microsoft could shift from ARM based products to an x86 base in the near future opening up more opportunities for something like Singularity to come into play and for a common Windows OS.

Microsoft wants to control the PC and mobile world with a common core of services and an operating system that bridges all aspects of the user experience. Steve Ballmer has been moving the company in this direction for a while and even reorganized the divisions inside Microsoft better achieve this goal. Right now the problem for Microsoft is that there is a group of consumers that do not want their products to be assimilated into a single ecosystem. This group is pretty large and has shown their displeasure in the way Microsoft is moving by simply not buying the latest OS from Microsoft or downgrading as soon as they get a system with it installed while the jury is still out on the success of the Xbox One.

Microsoft’s investors are concerned about the future of Microsoft and Ballmer’s vision, but also understand that it would not be wise to make a drastic change at this stage of the game. They have to allow some of Ballmer’s plans to play out due to the money already invested in them. This means that that we are likely to see Microsoft continue with their plans for a Windows (RT), Windows Phone, the Xbox One and Windows Pro. What happens from there will all depend on if the market accepts Ballmer’s vision or not.

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Last modified on 02 December 2013
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