Microsoft planning a future without Windows

Internal documents leaked online suggest that Microsoft is looking to develop a new legacy-free operating system, in the face of Windows falling behind with new innovations in IT.

The software giant is reportedly researching new ways to look at software. One project is Midori, a web-centric operating system which is not tied to a single PC the way the current Windows OS is, the BBC has reported. It is seen as a spin-off of Microsoft's Singularity OS research.

According to the Software Development Times, which claimed to have seen internal Microsoft documents about the project, Midori will be a component-based system independent of client hardware, instead running within a hypervisor virtual enclosure or hosted by a Windows instance.

Microsoft said in a statement: "Midori is one of many incubation projects underway at Microsoft. It's simply a matter of being too early in the incubation to talk about it."

The project is seen as a reaction to virtualisation, which could change the way licensing works and affect Microsoft's software business.

Gartner analyst Michael Silver told the BBC that 80 per cent of Windows sales come when a new computer is sold. "If Windows ends up being less important over time as applications become more OS agnostic where will Microsoft make its money?" he asked.

Microsoft's main OS rival Apple was the last vendor to try and migrate users from a legacy OS platform to a new one, when it launched Mac OS X in 2001, a completely different and incompatible platform from Mac OS 9. It used virtualisation to allow OS 9 to run within the OS X in an effort to help users maintain access to applications that had not yet been rewritten for the new platform.