Microsoft Hints at Non-Windows ‘Midori’ OS

by Matt Klassen on January 2, 2014

There’s no question that in today’s tech market the names Microsoft and Windows are virtually synonymous, so closely linked is the Redmond PC giant with its ubiquitous operating system. But few may know that for several years now Microsoft has been quietly tinkering with a non-Windows OS for several years now, a platform codenamed ‘Midori.’

While Microsoft has been amazingly efficient at controlling any and all information about Midori over the last five years, every once in awhile some tidbit of news is leaked to the media, just enough to let us all know that Midori is still alive and well, even if we really have no idea what it is.

To that end, tantalizing new details about Microsoft’s Midori project have emerged recently, details that indicate Microsoft is moving this non-Windows project into its final development stages and will likely make a final decision about whether to integrate the platform into its Windows dominated line-up sometime early in 2014.

While it seems strange to be writing about a Microsoft operating system not named Windows, it seems that the company’s Midori platform is certainly inching ever-closer to becoming a reality. According to ZDNet writer Mary Jo Foley, over the past few weeks there have been two interesting developments that point to forward progress for the Midori OS.

First, the project has been moved to the Unified Operating System group within the company, under the leadership of Executive Vice President Terry Myerson. This means that Midori has shifted from a mere research project into the final development stage before it would potentially be brought to market.

It’s an important step for any research project, as for the last five years Midori has seemingly existed only as pet project, with no commercialization in mind. Now that Midori finally has a home within Microsoft its clear evidence the Redmond Company is taking the project seriously, although it’s still no guarantee that the project will ever make it to market.

Second,  it seems Microsoft has given the Midori team permission to share details about the non-Windows OS project, as recently one team member, Joe Duffy, shared details about the program language used to create Midori. “That language,” Foley writes, is “codenamed “M#,” (“M Sharp”)…an extension of Microsoft’s C# language,” adding that “this new language “grew out of Sing#, the system language of Microsoft Research’s Singularity OS.”

As Foley writes, for anyone interested in Microsoft this is big news indeed, as most analysts never thought Midori would ever leave the incubation phase of its development. Now, after five years, Microsoft is starting to pay attention to its little non-Windows OS project, one that we’ll likely here more about over the next several months.

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