As I've written previously here and mentioned in the "Windows Weekly" podcast, the oft-hyped-of-late "Midori" project that Microsoft is currently working on is not designed as an update to its current family of Windows operating systems. Midori has been in the news a lot lately despite a scarcity of hard data, and as a result Microsoft has decided to issue a public statement about the project: It's one of many research projects it's currently working on and not a product it will eventually sell.

"Microsoft can confirm that Midori is an incubation product, but in this early stage we cannot comment further," a Microsoft spokesperson said. "Microsoft is always thinking about and exploring innovative ways for people to use technology and Midori is one of many incubations projects underway at Microsoft. Eric Rudder, senior vice president of technical strategy is leading the incubation effort."

Midori, like other related projects such as Singularity, is a so-called manage code project, meaning that it's written in .NET-based programming languages. It can apparently be run as an independent PC-based OS, can be virtualized under Microsoft's Windows Server 2008-based Hyper-V environment, and parts of it can even be "hosted by a Windows process," meaning that they can run within today's Windows systems alongside traditional Windows applications.

Contrary to reports, Midori is not a follow-up to Windows Vista or Windows 7. Thus it should not be considered Windows 8 or Windows 9. In fact, it should barely be considered at all: More likely than not, pieces of Midori will simply end up in future Windows versions and other Microsoft products.

The current spate of Midori speculation began when an SD Times report repeated a frequent-aired rumor that Microsoft was designing a brand-new OS "from the ground up." As such, the system was viewed a next-generation OS project like NT (New Technology), the computing architecture that now underlies all modern Windows versions but was once developed as a completely separate system to the Windows versions of the early 1990's.