There have been several reports flying around today about microsofts new "secret" cloud OS project, code named Midori. This project appears to be an attempt to address the next logical step in operating systems design where a desktop is no longer centric to a users computing experience. Midori looks to be an Internet-centric OS, based on the idea of connected systems, that largely eliminates the dependencies between local applications and the hardware they run on that exist with a typical operating system today.
Some interesting aspects of Midori include; “The ability to distribute applications across nodes, Midori will introduce a higher-level application model that abstracts the details of physical machines and processors. The model will be consistent for both the distributed and local concurrency layers, and it is internally at Microsoft known as Asynchronous Promise Architecture.” (Sounds like virtualization to me)
There is also some innovative interface advancements planned at the presentation layer, Microsoft is making a clean break from the existing Windows GUI model, where applications must update their display on one and only one thread at a time, and the associated problems that affect OS stability and make it more difficult to write multithreaded applications. (Guess they're looking at Linux)
I should note that Microsoft officials have been trying to downplay the significance of Midori by constituting it as nothing but a research project. It seems to be closely related to another microsoft project code named Singularity. Singularity is a Microsoft Research project started in 2003 to build a highly-dependable operating system in which a microkernel, device drivers, and applications are all written in managed code.