It's no secret that Microsoft's long-term plan is for Windows and Windows Phone to come together in a single platform, and it looks like a major step along the way could be coming in the Spring.
According to sources in the know, Microsoft plans to scrap the separate Windows Phone Store and Windows Store and merge them into a single app store once both OSes get their next big update.
Speaking to The Verge, the unnamed insiders reckon Microsoft's head of OSes Terry Myerson revealed plans for a combined app store in an internal company meeting this week, saying the app mega-store will launch with the “next releases” of Windows and Windows Phone.
In terms of Windows Phone, that would be WP8.1 (the imminent GDR3 isn't a full new release), which is set to arrive in the first half of next year. That's also when a special update to Windows 8.1 is expected to land.
Beyond the announcement itself, though, it seems Myerson didn't reveal any details, which makes sense given that it was seemingly an all-hands meeting.
But it's those details that will ultimately decide how smoothly the whole thing goes. Are we likely to see another “line in the sand moment” like Windows Phone 7.8, where pre-Windows 8.1 and WP8.1 devices are left out in the cold?
Will apps written for Windows 8.1 RT work on Windows Phone 8.1? Will WP apps scale upwards, and if so will that be just on Windows RT devices, or will full-scale Windows 8.1 users be able to run them too (however clunkily)?
Myerson has previously said “all of the apps we bring to end users should be available on all of our devices”. Fair enough, but it's always easier said than done.
Then again, I'm happy to admit I've never written an app in my life, so I'll happily yield to more educated opinions in the Comments.