Tablets moving to Windows Phone? Not likely

Summary:There's a rumor floating around that Microsoft plans to revamp Windows Phone 9 to also work on tablets. While that would have made sense before Windows 8, it's too late to do it now.

No Way

Computerworld is reporting that a rumor from a Russian web site has Microsoft rebooting Windows Phone yet again to include handling both tablets and phones. The Russian web site has been right in the past about other rumors so some are giving this new one credence. 

As Computerworld details it, Microsoft "will combine Windows Phone and its tablet operating systems by 2015". This would be an approach similar to what Apple and Google did with iOS and Android. While that would have made sense back when Windows Phone was just getting started, it's too late to make such a radical change.

If Microsoft merged the tablet OS into Windows Phone, both partners and existing customers would likely froth at the mouth. Partners have invested a lot of time and money in Windows Phone and Windows 8 and to make the rumored change would throw them under the bus. 

At the recently concluded Worldwide Partners Conference in Houston, Microsoft gave priority to partners to promote Windows 8 tablets as good solutions. These companies will no doubt invest a lot of effort to make that happen, so it makes little sense for Microsoft to be planning to move tablets to Windows Phone.

Windows Phone enthusiasts have already seen Microsoft reboot the phone OS already when it upgraded to Windows Phone 7. Making another major change to revamp the phone OS yet again to include tablets would likely be too much for partners to handle while possibly leaving phone customers behind.

While many believed designing Windows 8 to handle tablets and other PCs was a mistake, the die has been cast by Microsoft and it would make no sense to make the change to Windows Phone. It would have been far more logical to adapt Windows Phone to also work with tablets in the beginning and to make the change now would disrupt both the Windows Phone and the Windows 8 worlds.

Moving tablets from Windows 8 to Windows Phone would basically orphan Microsoft's Surface tablets, and that would be a death knell. Surface sales are believed to be lower than expected and switching the OS would almost certainly be viewed as abandoning the owners of Microsoft's first PCs. It would rival what HP did to webOS.

The Windows 8 tablet space is already confused, so to have both Windows Phone and Windows 8 tablets would be downright disorienting. Consumers and enterprises would both have to step back to figure out what tablets and which OS would be the way to go.

Stranger things have happened but the negatives associated with restarting Windows Phone to also handle tablets far outweigh any benefits. Microsoft should have added tablets to Windows Phone from the start and to do so in the future would not win any points with its partners. The folks at Microsoft are far too smart to do that.

The only way I''ll believe that Microsoft is going to revamp Windows Phone to handle tablets is when I see Mary Jo Foley or Ed Bott report it. What about you? Do you think this rumor has any teeth? Sound off in the TalkBack and let us know.

Topics: Mobility, Tablets, Windows 8, Windows Phone

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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