Should Operating Systems Unify Across Platforms? Apple and Microsoft Take Different Approaches

By Jeffrey Thompson, Epoch Times
January 25, 2014 Updated: January 25, 2014

Unifying operating systems across all its platforms is a vision that Microsoft is bringing to its ecosystem, while Apple would rather keep things siloed.

Windows, Xbox One, Windows RT, and Windows Phone are moving to a more unified code base, one that will see the them share more in common, and make cross-platform development easier, or a thing of the past. 

Apple will not be going to the extent Microsoft is to unify its operating systems. Mac OS X and iOS are the systems that run all of Apple’s mobile devices. In an interview with Macworld, Apple Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said Apple won’t be unifying the two operating systems “because using a mouse and keyboard just isn’t the same as tapping with your finger.”

Federighi said there is some overlap between the systems, such as the work that has been done with the trackpad and multitouch gestures.

Microsoft recently released Windows 8, which has  unified its desktop OS with its tablet  OS, and has spurred many manufacturers to create hybrid laptop-tablet devices.

Windows 8.1 Update 1, which is reported to be release in March just ahead of the Microsoft Build conference, will include the ability to pin its apps, often called “Metro apps,” to your desktop taskbar, and perhaps to run the Metro apps in floating Windows on the Desktop, as reported by WinSupersite.

Windows 9, code-named “Threshold” will bring the Microsoft vision of a unified OS even closer, and it is scheduled for April of 2015.

The two different paths taken by Microsoft and Apple might be what is best for each company.  With many of Apple’s mobile platforms already running a single OS, it is already somewhat unified.

A unified Microsoft OS could be a treasure trove for casual and hardcore gamers alike. The unified OS would provide the most diverse and technically advanced library of titles ever compiled, as reported by TabTimes.