Microsoft to merge Windows Phone and Windows RT?

A Microsoft executive recently said that the company will not have three versions of Windows going forward, leading many to believe Windows RT and Windows Phone will merge.

Microsoft is having yet another identity crisis. Just as the company and its partners begin selling new hardware running either the desktop, tablet, and smartphone edition of Windows 8, a Microsoft executive recently said her company will not have three versions of Windows in the future.

"We have the Windows Phone OS. We have Windows RT and we have full Windows. We're not going to have three. We do think there's a world where there is a more mobile operating system that doesn't have the risks to battery life, or the risks to security. But, it also comes at the cost of flexibility. So we believe in that vision and that direction and we're continuing down that path," said Microsoft's Executive Vice President of Devices and Studios, Julie Larson-Green, while speaking at the UBS Global Technology Conference, as cited by ZDNet.

It is believed that Microsoft is going to merge Windows RT and Windows Phone into a single operating system to allow the company to have a similar setup to Apple's iOS on tablets and smartphones. Microsoft won't be hurting too many of its licensees if it does merge Windows RT with Windows Phone. Microsoft and Nokia are the only manufacturers releasing new Windows RT 8.1 tablets. The majority of Windows tablets on the market today run the full and familiar desktop OS most of the world is already familiar with. The Microsoft Executive admitted that the company didn't properly differentiate the devices running the two operating systems and consumers were confused by how similar the two OSs appear.

Microsoft has acknowledged that it is putting more of a focus on educating consumers on the difference between Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1. The company has been through something very similar when it battled Palm in the handheld battle years ago. Microsoft had a few different mobile operating systems under the Windows name that ran on PDA devices and smartphones. As smartphones became more and more popular, Microsoft had a few versions of Windows Mobile - one for smartphones with touchscreens, another for ones without, and another for PDAs. The company decided a few years ago that it needed to focus on creating one unified smartphone OS going forward and built what we now know as Windows Phone from the ground up.

For now, however, we'll have to wait and see if and how Microsoft plans on merging its tablet and smartphone OS and how it will affect current Windows RT and Windows Phone users.

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