Google looks to beat Microsoft to the OS consolidation punch

Google is moving Android under its Chrome OS team. Will Microsoft follow suit with Windows Phone and Windows, as has been rumored for years?
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

There've been rumors for years, literally, that Microsoft planned to move its Windows Phone team under its Windows team with former Windows President Steven Sinofsky as the head of both products. Cut to March 2013: Sinofsky is no longer with Microsoft and Windows Phone still sits in the Entertainment & Devices division.


As of today, March 13, however, it looks like Google is going down that same foreshadowed path, with its Android chief Andy Rubin handing the reins to the head of the Chrome OS and apps division, Sundar Pichai. The expectation is Android and Chrome will become one. (ChromeDroid? AndroChrome?)

Many have wondered when/whether Microsoft ultimately do the same. I just got yet another tip just a few days ago that the Windows Phone team is in process of moving under Windows client. I'm still not sure whether I believe it or not.

Microsoft's Windows client team already includes "Windows services," a k a apps like Outlook.com, Hotmail.com and SkyDrive. Neither Windows Phone nor Windows has its own "president" at this time.

In some ways, merging Windows client and Windows Phone would make sense -- especially given Microsoft's work to further unify the development platforms and app models of Windows and Windows Phone with the Blue releases. The grand plan is to enable developers to write once and run on any version of Windows.

But one also could argue that each team has enough on its own plate, especially given the current push inside Microsoft to speed up operating-system delivery pace.

Would a major reorg, like the one that would result if Phone was moved under Windows, risk delaying the coming release of either product? In the past (up to and including Windows 8), Microsoft has preferred to allow teams to complete their development work before instituting any kinds of sweeping reorgs or house cleaning.

Maybe it's just a matter of time until Microsoft merges the Windows and Windows Phone teams. I know there'd be at least one person who'd happy if that were to occur in the coming months....

What's your take? Should Microsoft move (and merge) Windows Phone and Windows? Why/why not?

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