What is Microsoft's MeTAOS (Meta-OS)?

[German]Over the weekend, the news that Microsoft is working on an operating system MeTAOS became public. The abbreviation MeTAOS is a special notation that stands for Meta-OS, i.e. a meta operating system. Here is some information about this topic.


This weekend I came across a tweet from WalkingCat that raised the question of MeTAOS. He writes that it stands for the concept of a Meta-OS and refers to Microsoft 365 as an operating system.

According to Zack Bowden is TAOS the abbreviation for MeTAOS. Mary Jo Foley then took up the topic and tried to shed some light on the matter in this ZDNet article.  In short, MeTAOS is Microsoft's approach to introducing a new foundational layer over SharePoint, Office 365, Azure, and Microsoft's machine learning infrastructure to improve the use of the Microsoft productivity cloud.

Microsoft has already established a "productivity cloud" with its Microsoft 365/Office 365 offerings. The foundation of Office 365 is a layer called the "substrate", Microsoft's customer data platform. (The idea of a substrate within Microsoft has been around for some time and was originally part of the Exchange data storage architecture)

Microsoft is now, according to Foley, trying to build a large-scale distributed platform (a foundation) that will be based on SharePoint, the Office 365 substrate, Azure, Microsoft's machine learning infrastructure, and more. MeTAOS sounds to Foley like Microsoft's attempt to advance its vision of the substrate and messaging by emphasizing how its AI technology will make it more useful on all platforms where Office 365 applications currently run.


As a result, MeTAOS/Taos is not an operating system as we currently think of it under Windows or Linux. It is rather a layer that Microsoft wants to develop to use the user data in the substrate to make user-side applications more intelligent and proactive. Foley quotes from job descriptions for the project:

We aspire to create a platform on top of that foundation – one oriented around people and the work they want to do rather than our devices, apps, and technologies. This vision has the potential to define the future of Microsoft 365 and make a dramatic impact on the entire industry.

But so far there is no official statement from Microsoft for the project – which Foley explains in this ZDNet article.  

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