Recognizing that the dawn of the Post PC Era is upon us, Microsoft and Canonical (the corporate sponsor behind Ubuntu Linux) have both determined that they need to make a major move to challenge Apple's iOS and Google's Android in the mobile device space. After deciding that it's best not to go it alone, Canonical and Microsoft announced today that they are forming a joint venture to develop their next generation of user interface.
The joint venture company will be called Micronical and will be charged with developing a new open source user interface that will merge the best features of the new Windows Metro interface with the best from Ubuntu's Unity interface. Although no official announcement has been made, word has it that the new UI will be called iMeUnity (pronounced immunity) and will be a common interface for desktop computers, mobile phones, tablets, and smart TV's.
Since the joint venture is only for user interface development, each company will release its own products with the new interface. Microsoft will continue to use their proprietary OS kernel with iMeUnity on top. It is expected that this will debut with the release of Windows 9. Ubuntu will continue to use the Linux kernel and the GNU user land tools in combination with iMeUnity. Ubuntu will debut the new interface in the future LTS release, Ubuntu 14.04. Recognizing that this further evolution of UI will likely confound and slow down Ubuntu's users, this version will be code named Tortuous Terrapin according to a post on Mark Shuttleworth's blog.
There is no word yet how this might affect Ubuntu's derivative distributions, but it's sure to make things exciting for the developers. You can view the full video of the official announcement from Canonical and Microsoft here. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see what they come up with.