Using virtualization in these scenarios would eliminate the problems with application compatibility that are still giving headaches to Vista users, and that have made the OS a liability rather than a boon for some Windows power users and enterprise customers.
If Midori is close to what people think it is, it will represent a "major paradigm shift" for Windows users and be no easy task for Microsoft to pull off, said Andrew Brust, chief of new technology for the consulting firm Twentysix New York.
He said challenges to an OS like Midori would be both technological complexities and the "sobering compromises" that must be made when a product moves from being a research project into commercialization. "I would expect those in abundance with something of this scope and import," Brust said.
Though he has not been briefed by Microsoft on Midori, Brust said the idea makes sense because Microsoft needs to drastically update Windows to stay current with new business models and computing paradigms that exist today -- particularly to help the company compete against Google on the Web.
"Breaking with the legacy of a product that first shipped 23 years ago seems wholly necessary in terms of keeping the product manageable and in sync with computing's state of the art," Brust said. "If Midori isn't real, then I imagine something of this nature still must be in the works. It's absolutely as necessary, if not more so, to Microsoft's survival as their initiatives around Internet advertising, search and cloud computing offerings."