Windows 12: Is MS working on a Chrome OS killer?

Windows[German]There have been hints for some time that Microsoft is working on the successor of Windows 11. The assumed "Windows 12" appears as an option in software and documents. Now there are again hints that Microsoft is working on something like a Chrome OS killer with the new Windows 12 – there have already been several times, but I have collected the information that I have come across.


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It has been rumored for some time that Microsoft wants to present a successor to Windows 11 in 2024, which can be called "Windows 12". I had already in March 2023 in the blog post Windows 12? New plans for a Core OS mentioned some goals before the colported "Windows Core OS":

  • It is supposed to be a major upgrade for the platform, offering improved security and faster updates on the one hand.
  • In addition, this operating system is supposed to be enriched with AI functions – after all, Copilot has just been unleashed on mankind or the Windows 11 user community by Microsoft.

And very important: In this "brew", the news that this "new" Windows should finally be a competitor to Google's Chrome OS – the Chrome OS killer, so to speak – should not be missing. After all, Microsoft has always gotten a "bloody nose" here because the "slim footprint" of Windows installations overwhelms the hardware used for Chromebooks. I dissected this in the article Microsoft: Chromebooks are cheaper and faster than Windows machines in summer of 2021.

New rumors about Windows 12

This week, two information splinters on the subject came under my eyes at once. Rafael Rivera has posted in the following screenshot on Twitter again a selection list from VMware ESXi 8.0. where a "Windows 12" can be selected as a guest operating system.

Windows 12

I had given a similar outlook back in February 2023 in the blog post Is Microsoft working on Windows 12 and Windows Server 2025? There was then a tweet from ariaupdated in response that no Windows 12 was in the works. At the same time, an article appeared from Windows Latest, which was referred to in the following tweet.


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Windows 12

Windows Latest refers to sources that are said to be familiar with the development, as well as industry partners. The key points that the article in question addresses can be summarized like this:

  • Microsoft is developing a Chrome OS-like, web-oriented version of its upcoming Windows release, which may be called Windows 12.
  • This cloud-based version of Windows is being touted as Microsoft's answer to Chrome OS and is aimed at serving specific markets, particularly the education sector, but will not replace the traditional Win32 desktop experience.

But those are the wild thoughts I've heard from Microsoft on several occasions. Those who follow the whole thing might remember the plans for Windows 10X. That was somehow supposed to be a "lightweight" Windows that runs on weaker hardware and competes with Google's Chrome OS. The result of the story is well known: Microsoft made a classic belly landing with Windows 10X. When talking to customers, it turned out that there was no need for this operating system there. I chiseled that out in the blog post Plug pulled: The End for Windows 10X …

The drastic consequences of Microsoft's ideas being shamefully spurned can be summed up as "and if you're not willing, I'll use force". The Windows 10X stuff was used as a leftover ramp and married to the core of Windows 10. The more or less unfinished result was then thrown onto the market under the new name "Windows 11" in 2021. Since then, Microsoft has been treating its users to this structure, which is sold as an operating system.

And because this Windows 11 would make people "die of laughter if it was placed as a Chrome OS killer", they came up with a new, old concept. A cloud-based Windows, which then displays the outputs of the operating system running in the cloud on weak hardware via RDP, is supposed to fix it. Possibly pitched as "Windows 12," the cloud-based Windows isn't meant to replace the traditional Win32 experience we've seen on desktops, according to Windows Latest. It would be a new variant tailored to specific markets, it says.

That would be Microsoft's next attempt to develop a more modern, modular and lightweight version of Windows for low-end educational devices, setting its sights on the education tech landscape. Microsoft has already confirmed in an internal memo, it says, that it is forming a new "Windows and Web Experience" team to develop the next generations of Windows and Web products. It seems there is also a job offer for a product manager in this area since August 2023. Let's wait and see how Microsoft presents the project and what comes out of it.

Similar articles:
Is Microsoft working on Windows 12 and Windows Server 2025?
New hints about Windows 12 from Intel
Microsoft's new Windows Insider Canary Channel – Preparing for Windows 12?
Plug pulled: The End for Windows 10X …
Windows 12? New plans for a Core OS

 


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