Evidence continues to suggest that the next version of Windows will kill off the Windows Phone name completely. On Wednesday, GeeksOnGadgets reported that it has an internal Microsoft document detailing plans to phase out both the Nokia and Windows Phone brands.
Dumping the Nokia name in favor of the Lumia brand is no surprise. While Microsoft has been allowed to use the Nokia name after its $7 billion-plus purchase of the Finnish company's devices division, Nokia itself is still a separate company. Microsoft has clearly stated that it won't be using the Nokia name going forward.
But killing the Windows Phone name? That's new—unless you've been paying close attention.
Just last week, Microsoft watcher Michael Gillett and others noticed that, curiously enough, the Windows Phone name has been quietly dropped from most recent marketing materials and replaced with just plain "Windows." Ads for new Lumia devices say only that the phones run Windows, not Windows Phone. That nifty new version of the HTC One (M8) running Windows Phone 8.1? It's simply dubbed the HTC One (M8) for Windows. And so on.
Ditching the Windows Phone moniker makes a lot of sense, if recent rumors about the future of Windows are to be believed. Windows 9 (if it will be called that) is expected to merge Windows RT and Windows Phone—Microsoft's separate operating systems for ARM-powered tablets and phones, respectively—into a single, cohesive OS that spans both device types. (Microsoft executives have publicly stated that the company won't have three versions of Windows going into the future.)
Doing so would require the merging of the Windows Store and Windows Phone stores, of course—and whaddaya know, universal Windows apps have been a big focus for Microsoft in recent months. Future versions of Windows for PCs will also feature those Modern-style apps in the reborn Start Menu and allow users to run them in proper desktop windows, unlike Windows 8.
Altogether, those changes would bring the far-flung Windows operating systems of today into the single, "One Windows" vision that new CEO Satya Nadella has been preaching about—a unified set of experiences revolving around a common core architecture, with a unified Windows Store and developer platform. (Note that it doesn't mean killing the desktop, PC enthusiasts.)
And hey, it's not like the Windows Phone brand is setting the world on fire.
Reliable Windows reporter Tom Warren has corroborated that GeeksOnGadgets' documents are legit, though Microsoft's official line is that it has nothing new to share. That tune may change soon enough: Microsoft is expected to reveal the next version of Windows —be it Windows 9 or just plain Windows—by early October. Just ask Microsoft China.